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Japan Cup: Equinox blows them away under Christophe Lemaire in Tokyo beating Liberty Island and Star On Earth

Equinox (30/100 favourite) cruised clear of Liberty Island by four lengths, with William Buick third aboard Stars On Earth; Hollie Doyle finished seventh on last year's winner Vela Azul

Christophe Lemaire aboard superstar Equinox
Image: Christophe Lemaire aboard superstar Equinox

Equinox, the world's highest-rated horse, delivered a dominant performance to win Sunday's Japan Cup.

The four-year-old has not been beaten since finishing second in the Japanese Derby in May 2022, winning two Grade One contests at home at the end of last year before easily seeing off Westover when claiming the Dubai Sheema Classic at Meydan in March.

Tetsuya Kimura's charge won two more Grade Ones since that effort and was a long odds-on favourite for the Tokyo highlight, which featured a clutch of previous top-level victors, including leading three-year-old filly Liberty Island.

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Saudi Cup winner Panthalassa took up his usual position at the head of affairs, setting a testing gallop that saw him build up a huge advantage at the top of the straight.

Christophe Lemaire had been happy to sit in the pack aboard Equinox, rounding the final bend in third before giving his mount the signal to set out in pursuit as Panthalassa's stride began to shorten.

The response was immediate and Equinox sprinted to the lead over a furlong out and Lemaire just had to use hands and heels to steer him to a four-length verdict over Liberty Island.

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The William Buick-ridden Stars On Earth was third, with last year's race winner Vela Azul coming home seventh under Hollie Doyle, one place ahead of Tom Marquand's mount Studley.

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