11/14/2007 12:00AM

Grand Couturier likely back at 5

EmailThe injury to Grand Couturier that will keep him out of the Japan Cup is not expected to keep him from racing next year.

The 15-1 winner over English Channel in the Grade 1 Sword Dancer at Saratoga and sixth in the Breeders' Cup Turf, Grand Couturier will pass the $4.8 million Japan Cup a week from Sunday, trainer Bobby Ribaudo confirmed Wednesday.

Ribaudo said that a minor ankle injury from the summer "flared up," and he reluctantly decided not to send him to Japan.

"We were going to call it the end of the year after the Breeders' Cup, but he came out of it fresh, and it was tough to pass because of the purse," said Ribaudo of the Japan Cup.

Grand Couturier will get a freshening over the winter, and is expected to race as a 5-year-old in 2008, he said.

"He's going to get a well-deserved rest, and we'll look to bring him back in early summer," said Ribaudo. "He'll go down to Ocala around the first of December and get a little time away from the track, which he hasn't had for a while. I think he's going to be a real nice horse next year."