11/24/2016 10:56AM

Erupt better rested for Japan Cup

Michael Burns
Erupt won the Grade 1 Canadian International at Woodbine in October.

In late October, Erupt was withdrawn from the Breeders’ Cup Turf at Santa Anita on Nov. 5 after French trainer Francis-Henri Graffard said the colt needed more time to recover from a win in the Grade 1 Canadian International at Woodbine on Oct. 16.

The timing of Sunday’s $5 million Japan Cup at 1 1/2 miles on turf at Tokyo Racecourse seems to be a better fit. Erupt is the leading foreign runner in a field of 17 led by the local Grade 1 stakes winners Gold Actor and Kitasan Black.

Erupt has won 5 of 12 starts and earned $1,287,485 for the Niarchos family’s Flaxman Holdings. His win in the Canadian International ended a streak of seven consecutive losses that included a sixth-place finish in the 2015 Japan Cup.

For Sunday’s race, Erupt will be ridden by top French jockey Charles-Pierre Boudot from post 8, a good draw for a runner who races as a stalker.

The draw was not as kind to Kitasan Black and Gold Actor, who will start from posts 1 and 3.

Kitasan Black won the spring running of the Grade 1 Tenno Sho in May and the Grade 2 Kyoto Daishoten at Kyoto on Oct. 10, his only start this fall.

Gold Actor won the Grade 1 Arima Kinen Stakes, Japan’s top wintertime race, at Nakayama last December. This year, Gold Actor has won two of three starts, with both wins coming in Grade 2 races. He was 12th in the spring running of the Tenno Sho.

Other home-based contenders include Dee Majesty, who was third in the Japanese Derby in May; Last Impact, who was second in the 2015 Japan Cup; and Real Steel, who won the Dubai Turf in the United Arab Emirates in March and was second in the autumn running of the Tenno Sho on Oct. 30.

There are two other European runners, Iquitos and Nightflower, who were first and second in the Group 1 Grosser Preis Von Baden in Germany in September. Nightflower later won the Preis Von Europa at Koln, Germany, on Sept. 25, a race in which Iquitos was fifth.