Horse racing is one of the most popular sporting events that are enjoyed by the Japanese people. Given that the sport is very popular among sports fans, it can’t be denied that Japan is one of the countries that have several events dedicated to the said sport.
It is upon looking at the sporting events of Japan that one will notice that there are really many horse races that are scheduled each month. By checking it out, one will definitely be amazed by how many races are actually being held for impressive horses and talented jockeys around the country.
So, if you are a fan of the said sport, then make sure to check out the horse racing schedule for the month of April. That way, you will know exactly what event you should be watching out for. Gladly, Japan has horse arenas scattered throughout different parts of the country. By knowing the events that are located near your area, you can find the one that is held nearest to you.
With that, here is a closer look at some of the horse race events that are scheduled in the different parts of Japan in April!
Nakayama is one of the towns that is located in the Yamagata Prefecture. Although it may be smaller compared to the other nearby towns, this place boasts mainly of a stunning view and its rich agricultural background.
Despite its small size, people from all over the world are very well familiar with this place because of the remarkable races that are held on the popular horse race track that is located here.
Although this may be a small town, fans can find here the Nakayama Racecourse, the world's second largest racetrack. Some of Japan's biggest Thoroughbred races are held here.
With that, here are some of the horse racing events that one can watch this April 2021.
Lord Derby Challenge Trophy - G3
April 3, Saturday
First played in 1969, this Thoroughbred flat racing event is usually played every March. Held at a distance of 1,600 metres on the turf at Nakayama Racecourse, this has been known as one of the popular races in Nakayama.
This horse racing event earned its status in 1984 and had stayed like that since then. Originally, this race was held at the Tokyo Racecourse until 1980. Also, the horses used to run 1,800 metres for this event until 1979.
In 2020, the winner of this race was Kluger, an 8-year-old horse who conquered the racetrack in one minute and 32.8 seconds. His jockey is Shu Ishibashi and his trainer is Tomokazu Takano.
New Zealand Trophy (NHK Mile Cup Trial) - G2
April 10, Saturday
This racing event is for three-year-old Thoroughbreds that weigh 56kg. This race is also held at the Nakayama Racecourse. Therefore, it is also held at a distance of 1,600 metres on the turf surface of the famous racecourse.
Held every month of April, this race first started in 1983. This race had its status raised to Grade 3 in 1984, before being promoted to Grade 2 in 1987.
The previous winner of this event is Lufstrom who conquered the race in one minute and 33 seconds. His jockey is Shu Ishibashi and he was trained by Noriyuki Hori.
Nakayama Grand Jump - J-G1
April 17, Saturday
The Nakayama Grand Jump is perhaps one of the most popular horse race events in the country. This event was made for Thoroughbreds who are aged four years and older. Held every mid-April at the Nakayama Racecourse, this race allows the horses to run at a distance of 4,250 metres at the turf surface of the venue. This event is also open to overseas runners.
Inaugurated in 1999, this race is known as one of the richest steeplechases in the world. Originally, this race even started in 1998 when it had been called Nakayama Daishogai Spring.
The previous winner of this event is five-time champion Oju Chosan, a nine-year-old horse who last conquered the race in five minutes and 2.9 seconds. He is ridden by Shinichi Ishigami, trained by Shoichiro Wada, and owned by Chosan Co. Ltd.
Satsuki Sho (Japanese 2000 Guineas) - G1
April 18, Sunday
This race is made for three-year-old Thoroughbred colts and fillies. Held at the same popular racecourse, this event is held at a distance of 2,000 metres. This event had its first run in 1939 and had since been well-loved by the horse race fans in Nakayama.
The 2020 winner of the Satsuki Sho is Contrail who finished the race in two minutes and 0.7 seconds. He is ridden by Yuichi Fukunaga, trained by Yoshito Yahagi, and owned by Shinji Maeda.
Also known as Osaka-Kobe, Hanshin pertains to Osaka, Kobe, and the surrounding area of the Kansai region in Japan. This place is where the Hanshin Racecourse can be found. Owned by the Japan Racing Association, this horse racing event is known to have a capacity of 139,000 people.
The land where this racecourse stands was originally owned by the Kawanishi Aircraft Company. However, it is by 1949 that the recourse was built by Keihanshim Keika K.K. Then in 1955, the ownership was transferred to JRA.
To date, the Hanshin Racecourse is one of the most renowned horse racing venues in the country. This features two turf courses, a dirt course, and a jump course. With that, let us take a look at the horse races to be held at this racecourse this upcoming April.
Osaka Hai - G1
April 4, Sunday
Osaka Hai is a race made for Thoroughbred colts and fillies that are aged four and above. Held at the Hanshin Racecourse, this event runs over a distance of 2,000 metres. Originally, the event was held at 1,800 metres during its first run in 1957. Then, it gradually increased to 1,900 in 1966 and then to 2,000 in 1972.
The 2020 winner of the said event is Lucky Lilac, a five-year-old filly who won the race in a span of one minute and 58.4 seconds. His jockey is Mirco Demuro while his trainer is Mikio Matsunaga.
Sankeisports Hai Hanshin Himba Stakes - G2
April 10, Saturday
This sports racing event is made for Thoroughbred fillies and mares that are at least four years of age and above. This is held every April over a distance of 1,600 metres. Originally, it was upon its launch in 1958 that the races used to be held in 2,000 metres. Although the distance has been changed from time to time, it was in 2016 that the race started to be held at 1,600 metres.
The previous winner of the race is Sound Chiara, a 5-year-old horse who has Kohei Matsuyama as his jockey and Akio Adachi as his trainer. They finished the race in just a span of one minute and 32.9 seconds.
Oka Sho (Japanese 1000 Guineas) - G1
April 11, Sunday
This race was strictly made for three-year-old fillies. This event is held at a distance of 1,600 metres at the Hanshin Racecourse. The Oka Sho was first held in 1939 at the Tokyo Racecourse. There were also some years that the event was staged at the Kyoto Racecourse.
The most recent winner of this race is Daring Tact with Kohei Matsuyama as her jockey, Haruki Sugiyama as her trainer, and Normandy Thoroughbred Racing as her owner. She finished the race in one minute and 36.1 seconds.
Arlington Cup (NHK Mile Cup Trial) - G3
April 17, Saturday
The Arlington Cup is made for three-year-old Thoroughbreds. This race also takes place over a distance of 1,600 metres at the Hanshin Racecourse. This event had its first run in 1992 and has held on to its Grade 3 status ever since.
The most recent winner of the Arlington Cup is Taisei Vision with Shu Ishibashi as his jockey and Masayuki Nishimura as his trainer. He finished the race in a span of one minute and 34.3 seconds.
Antares Stakes - G3
April 18, Sunday
This race is for Thoroughbreds that are aged four and above. It runs over a distance of 1,800 metres at the first racetrack of the Hanshin Racecourse. Since it had started in 1996, the event already had its Grade 3 status. The race has not always been held in Hanshin since it used to be held at the Kyoto Racecourse from 1997 to 2011.
The 2020 winner of the race is Westerlund, an eight-year-old who won the race in one minute and 49.8 seconds. His jockey is Yusuke Fujioka and his trainer is Shozo Sasaki.
Yomiuri Milers Cup - G2
April 25, Sunday
This race event is for four-year-old Thoroughbreds and above. Although it is commonly held at the Kyoto Racecourse, the 2021 race will make its way back to the 1,600-metre Hanshin Racecourse.
The previous winner of the race is Indy Champ, a five-year-old who conquered the race in one minute and 32.4 seconds. His jockey is Yuichi Fukunaga and his trainer is Hidetaka Otonashi.
Niigata is the most populous city in the Niigata Prefecture of Japan. Known as the largest city on the west coast of Honshu, Niigata is also known as the home of the famous Niigata Racecourse. This stadium was built in 1965 and has a capacity of 75,000 people.
Owned by JRA, this horse racing venue has a turf course with distinct ovals and a dirt course. With that, here is the scheduled race for the month of April.
Fukushima Himba Stakes - G3
April 24, Saturday
The Fukushima Himba is a race that was made for Thoroughbred fillies and mares that are aged four and above. The event takes place over a distance of 1,800 metres on the turf of the Fukushima Racecourse. However, the race will be held at the Niigata Racecourse this year.
The previous winner of the race is Fairy Polka, a four-year-old horse that conquered the race in one minute and 46.8 seconds. Her jockey is Ryuji Wada and her trainer is Masayuki Nishimura.
Tokyo is the most popular and the most populous city in the country. Aside from being the capital of the country, Tokyo is home to the Tokyo Racecourse, locally known as the 'racecourse' of racecourses in the country.
Made in 1933, this venue had its grand reopening in 2007 after it has been renovated several times. To date, the venue has a capacity of 233,000 and a seating capacity of 13,750, making it an ideal venue for horse race fans . With that, here is the scheduled race for April.
Sankei Sports Sho Flora Stakes (Japanese Oaks Trial) - G2
April 25, Sunday
Also known as the Flora Stakes, this race is made for three-year-old Thoroughbred fillies. This race runs at 2,000 metres at the Tokyo Racecourse each year. This race had its first tun in 1966 and had its level elevated to Grade 2 status since 1984.
The winner of the 2020 season is Win Marilyn who finished the race at one minute and 58.7 seconds. Her jockey is Takeshi Yokoyama and her trainer is Takahisa Tezuka.
Overall, there are a lot of upcoming horse races for the upcoming month of April. Make sure to check out the horse racing schedule and see which horse races will be held near your area. By doing so, you will be able to witness your favourite jockeys and horses as they aim to conquer the racecourses in their fastest time.
So, what are you waiting for? Mark these dates on your calendar and make sure to never miss out on the impressive showcase of speed on these exciting horse racing events!