11/23/2011 2:33PM

Japan Cup: Danedream gets in a final work


TOKYO – Danedream, the upset winner of the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe at Longchamp on Oct. 2, had a seven-furlong workout on the dirt track at Tokyo Racecourse on Wednesday, her last major exercise for Sunday’s $6.7 million Japan Cup on turf.

Ridden by jockey Andrasch Starke, Danedream was timed in 1:33.20 for approximately seven furlongs. Trainer Peter Schiergen said he told Starke to ask Danedream for speed over the last three furlongs.

“She’s in the same form as she was for the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, so our hopes are high,” Schiergen said.

Schiergen said Danedream exercised on Tokyo Racecourse’s dirt track before, when the turf course “was a bit too firm.” Minimal rain is expected here before Sunday’s race.

Danedream was a 26-1 surprise winner of the Arc and can win her fourth consecutive Group 1 races in the Japan Cup, which is run over about 1 1/2 miles on turf. It is a distance at which the 3-year-old filly Danedream excels, having won two other Group 1 races against males over that trip in Germany earlier this year.

Danedream is the leading import in a race that will have an expected field of 18 and an ultra-tough home team, led by the first five finishers of the 2010 Japan Cup.

Danedream is joined on the international list by Arc runner-up Shareta, who has yet to win a Group 1 race; Sarah Lynx, who won the Grade 1 Canadian International against males in a 21-1 upset at Woodbine on Oct. 16; and Mission Approved, the winner of the Grade 1 Manhattan Handicap at Belmont Park in June.

Claimed for $35,000 in June 2010, Mission Approved is the outsider among the foreign imports. Since the Manhattan, the 7-year-old has been fourth or seventh in three subsequent Grade 1 races. Trained by Naipaul Chatterpaul, Mission Approved was fourth in the Man o’War Stakes and seventh in the Arlington Million during the summer. More recently, Mission Approved was fourth behind Cape Blanco in the Joe Hirsch Turf Classic at Belmont Park on Oct. 1.

The Japanese team is outstanding this year, led by Victoire Pisa, unraced since winning the $10 million Dubai World Cup in the United Arab Emirates in March. Victoire Pisa was third in the 2010 Japan Cup, finishing behind Buena Vista and Rose Kingdom, and in front of Jaguar Mail and Pelusa.

Buena Vista, the wildly popular 5-year-old mare who has earned more than $13.6 million in her 21-race career, finished 1 3/4 lengths in front of Rose Kingdom in the 2010 Japan Cup, but was disqualified and placed second for causing interference in the stretch.

One notable absence from the Japanese team is Orfevre, the winner of this year’s Japanese Triple Crown. Orfevre is expected to make his next start in the Arima Kinen in late December.