Kitasan Black: won two Grade 1s in 2016PICTURE: Masakazu Takahashi
Horse of the Year Black to make Arc bid
Japan: Newly-crowned JRA Horse of the Year Kitasan Black will spearhead Japan's quest to win the race that is an obsession for the nation, the Qatar Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe.
Connections confirmed they will head to Chantilly in October to try and give Japan victory in a race that has so far only provided heartbreaking defeats. But before then a trip to Meydan beckons for the Dubai Sheema Classic on World Cup night.
Victories in the Tenno Sho (Spring) and Japan Cup helped Kitasan Black claim the Horse of the Year title, as he received 134 of the 291 votes cast by Japanese racing journalists.
The five-year-old is owned by famous singer Saburo Katajima, who pledged to serenade the crowds in France, as he has done so previously in Japan, if Kitasan Black wins the Arc.
He said: "If he were to win in France, I would like to sing a song even if nobody understands Japanese."
Regular rider Yutaka Take added: "I am very happy Kitasan Black won the award because I rode him through last year. I want more good performances with him this year too."
Maurice, who provided Ryan Moore with big-race victories in the Tenno Sho (Autumn) and Longines Hong Kong Cup at Sha Tin last month, was voted runner-up.