05/24/2012 3:35PM

Japan: Gold Ship goes for Japanese Derby, possible Triple Crown

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Gold Ship, the winner of the Japanese 2000 Guineas, has a tough act to follow in Sunday’s $3.9 million Japanese Derby at Tokyo Racecourse.

The 2011 winner of the Japanese 2000 Guineas, Orfevre, went on to win the Japanese Derby and the Japanese Triple Crown.

The 2000 Guineas, Japanese Derby, and Japanese St. Leger form the Japanese Triple Crown.

Trained by Naosuke Sugai for owner-breeder Eiichi Kobayashi, Gold Ship is unbeaten in two starts this year, starting with a Grade 3 stakes win at Tokyo in February. By Stay Gold, Gold Ship has won 4 of 6 starts in his career. His most prestigious victory occurred in last month’s Japanese 2000 Guineas.

Sunday’s Japanese Derby, also known as the Tokyo Yushun, has drawn a field of 18, including 13 graded stakes winners . Alfredo, the winner of the Group 1 Asahi Hai Futurity last December, has drawn the outside post in the race, run over about 1 1/2 miles on turf.

Alfredo was second to Curren Black Hill in the Grade 1 NHK Mile Cup for 3-year-olds at Tokyo on May 6. Curren Black Hill is not entered for the Japanese Derby.

Another leading contender is World Ace, who was second by about a half-length in the Japanese 2000 Guineas at Nakayama Racecourse on April 15.