World's highest-rated horse Equinox retired to stand at stud following Japan Cup triumph

Betting turnover on this year's Japan Cup was up on the previous two years
Equinox: has been retired

Equinox, the world’s highest-rated racehorse, has been retired to stud following his victory in Sunday’s Japan Cup.

The four-year-old secured his sixth top-level success in a row when beating 17 rivals in front of 85,000 speactators at Tokyo racecourse and will now join his sire Kitasan Black at Shadai Stallion Station in Hokkaido. His stud fee has yet to be determined. 

Trained by Tetsuya Kimura, the striking colt won twice as a juvenile before being beaten on his first two starts as a three-year-old, going down by a length and a neck in the Satsuki Sho and Japanese Derby.

Equinox dazzles in Dubai to win the Sheema Classic
Equinox: an outstanding winner of the Dubai Sheema Classic in MarchCredit: Edward Whitaker

But after his narrow defeat to Do Deuce in the second of those two races he was never beaten again. Equinox defeated the 2022 Dubai Turf winner Panthalassa in the Tenno Sho (Autumn) to record his first Grade 1 success and followed up that breakthrough victory with success in the Arima Kinen.

On his first start outside Japan he produced a stunning performance in the Dubai Sheema Classic in March, when he defeated some high-quality European performers, including the subsequent Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe runner-up Westover and Mostahdaf, who landed the Prince of Wales’s Stakes and Juddmonte International. 

Christophe Lemaire: jockey couldn't hold back his emotions after Sunday's Japan Cup
Christophe Lemaire after Sunday's Japan Cup victory on Equinox

Further wins in the Takarazuka Kinen and Tenno Sho (Autumn) followed before his final start, in which he beat the star three-year-old filly Liberty Island by four lengths.

Equinox was awarded a rating of 133 by the Japan Racing Association and a Racing Post Rating of 134 for that scintillating performance. He was the first Japanese-trained horse to win more than 2 billion yen (£11.9 million/€13.8 million) in career prize-money.

Read this next:

The best in the world - watch the full replay as Equinox dominates again in the Japan Cup 

How did Equinox's Japan Cup masterclass stack up on ratings and against the best of the rest? 

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Published on 30 November 2023inJapan

Last updated 18:20, 30 November 2023