What's in a name? Japan and Broome set out from Ballydoyle for Japan Cup mission
How fitting would it be if a horse called Japan could win Japan's biggest race with Japan's most successful jockey on board. It could happen after Aidan O'Brien booked Yutaka Take for his former Juddmonte International winner in the Japan Cup, a race which stablemate Broome will also contest on Sunday week.
The two horses left Ballydoyle on Thursday morning and will try to break O'Brien's duck in one of the most prestigious international races on the world circuit but he is under no illusions about the magnitude of the task facing the pair.
O'Brien said: "The Japan Cup is a very difficult race to win and always extremely competitive so the two horses will be up against it, but they left here this morning in good form and they are both going to run all being well. Yutaka Take will ride Japan and Ryan [Moore] will be on Broome."
Both horses contested the Breeders' Cup Turf at Del Mar this month with Broome finishing second and getting within half-a-length of Yibir and Japan fourth after meeting trouble in-running.
Broome will be having his 11th outing of the year at Tokyo, having started his season back in March when winning a Listed race at Naas.
O'Brien said: "We were delighted with them both at the Breeders' Cup. We were disappointed with the way Broome ran in the Arc but he came out of it very well and I thought he ran a huge race at Del Mar. Irad [Ortiz Jr] gave him a very good ride.
"He has maintained his form very well throughout the season and he is a lovely clear-winded horse with a great constitution. He's your typical [sire] Australia.
"Japan ran into a bit of trouble off the bend in the same race at Del Mar but he still ran well to finish fourth and has been in good form since. It won't be easy for either of them in the Japan Cup as we're well aware of how competitive the race is but they're in good form and we're very happy with them."
There are a busy few weeks ahead for Moore, who will once again be at the Longines International Jockeys' Championship at Happy Valley in Hong Kong on December 8.
The line-up includes three previous winners, with Moore, who is chasing a third title, joining Zac Purton and reigning Hong Kong champion jockey Joao Moreira.
The HK$800,000 event is a four-race competition for 12 elite jockeys, and this year features eight overseas riders and four based in Hong Kong, all battling for the HK$500,000 top prize, the most lucrative jockeys' challenge winner's cheque in the world.
It will be Moore's 15th appearance in the prestigious event at the iconic city circuit.
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