02/16/2012 2:25PM

Japan: Transcend prepping for Dubai World Cup in February Stakes

Email

Transcend, the runner-up in the 2011 Dubai World Cup, will be favored to defend his title in Sunday’s $2.4 million February Stakes at Tokyo Racecourse, a prep for this year’s Dubai World Cup in the United Arab Emirates on March 31.

Transcend has not started since winning the Japan Cup Dirt at Hanshin Racecourse on Dec. 4. A 6-year-old horse by Wild Rush, Transcend has won 10 of 19 starts, all for owner Koji Maeda and trainer Takayuki Yasuda. He was named Japan’s champion dirt horse last year.

In 2011, Transcend won the February Stakes by 1 1/2 lengths and was beaten a half-length by fellow Japanese invader Victoire Pisa in the Dubai World Cup. In Sunday’s race, which will have a maximum field of 16 racing over a mile, Transcend is likely to set the pace, Yasuda said.

“Transcend has won more impressively when he sets the pace,” Yasuda said in a statement on the Japan Racing Association’s website. “That’s the kind of race we’ll expect from him this time. We’re going back to the Dubai World Cup, and this time I want to win it.”

The February Stakes has also drawn Espoir City, who was honored as Japan’s champion dirt horse in 2009 and 2010. Espoir City was third in the Japan Cup Dirt in December.