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INDEPENDENT HORSE RACING NEWS
The fan-voted G1 Arima Kinen at Nakayama has surged to prominence as Japan's best race in recent years, and could make a compelling case for being the best race in the world.
There is no bigger betting race on earth than the Arima Kinen. The second of Japan’s two fan-voted grand prix features – the first is the Takarazuka Kinen staged in June – pulled in a whopping ¥49,097,246,400 in turnover in December 2021.
The Arima Kinen carries the same massive prize fund as the Group 1 Japan Cup but while the latter draws the world’s gaze, the former grips the attention of Japan’s dedicated fans like no other race can.
The great race was first run in 1956 as the Nakayama Grand Prix but was renamed the following year in memory of its founder, Yoriyasu Arima. Ten of the maximum 16 runners are JRA horses voted for by fans and the remainder can be made up of NAR or foreign-trained horses.
Six horses have won the race twice, the latest being the incredible Orfevre who scored in 2011 and rounded out his career with a sensational eight-length success in 2013.
The 2021 Arima Kinen saw Efforia confirm his status as Japan’s three-year-old champion and Horse of the Year. The Yuichi Shikato-trained colt headed into the race with a massive 260,742 fan votes and defeated the runner-up Deep Bond by three quarters of a length and the previous year’s winner Chrono Genesis behind in third.
Efforia was unbeaten in two runs as a juvenile and his only reversal at three came when the subsequent Group 1 Dubai Sheema Classic hero Shahryar beat him by a nose in the G1 Tokyo Yushun. Either side of that Derby effort he earned Classic honours with a Grade 1 Satuski Sho win and a major victory over the previous season’s standout champion Contrail in the Grade 1 Autumn Tenno Sho.
Efforia takes out the 2021 Arima Kinen. (Photo by JRA)