Transcend: chasing a hat-trick in the Japan Cup Dirt on SundayPICTURE: Masakazu Takahashi
Transcend in Japan Cup Dirt hat-trick bid
PREVIEW: Japan, Sunday
Hanshin: Japan Cup Dirt (Grade 1) 1m1f, dirt, 3yo+ (6.40am GMT)
TRANSCEND (Takayuki Yasuda/Shinji Fujita) will seek to complete a hat-trick in the nation's foremost dirt contest at Hanshin as the six-year-old lines up in the Japan Cup Dirt.
Runner-up in the Dubai World Cup in 2011, Transcend finished third in the prestigious Grade 1 JBC Classic at Kawasaki earlier in the month, and trainer Takayuki Yasuda is hoping for an improved performance.
He said: "On top of it being his first race in a while, he had a wide draw last time out, he got his tongue over the bit, the trip was a tough one, and the conditions were tough. But still, he kept on till the end. I think he showed us what he's made of."
That race should have Transcend match fit as Yasuda added: "Even if he doesn't look any different from the outside, he needs a race to get his wind good and change physically on the inside.
"With him too, the mental aspect is important. We're going to tie his tongue down this time, and we are going back to the place we've won two races in a row. We don't have to lead, just as long as he can keep his concentration like he did in his last race, he can hang on and I think he can do better than last race. I want him to show his strength."
Wonder Acute (Masao Sato/Ruyji Wada) beat Transcend at Kawasaki last time, and another big run is expected, with runner-up from that race Civil War (Hirofumi Toda/Hiroyuki Uchida) also among the 16-strong field.
Espoir City (Akio Adachi/Yutaka Take), who won the race in 2009 also features.
Ryan Moore: rides IjigenPICTURE: Getty
There will be no international runners in the race, with all those invited turning down the opportunity to run for the 271.4 million yen (£2.05m, €2.53m) prize-fund, of which the winner scoops 130 million yen, (£980,468, €1.21m).
However, Ryan Moore is in action, with the former champion jockey taking the ride on three-year-old Ijigen (Noriyuki Hori).
Moore was pleased with the colt having having ridden him in work earlier this week, and said: "He moved well and his responses were good. I was really impressed with him last race. But, this time I hope he'll make the break as well as he does in gate practice."