Group 1 Tenno Sho (Autumn) 2022 Preview

One of Japan’s biggest Group 1 races takes place this Sunday at Tokyo Racecourse, with the Group 1 Tenno Sho (2000m) attracting an elite field.

An honour roll worthy of the elite races around the world, with the likes of Efforia, Almond Eye (x2), Kitasan Black, Maurice and Vodka having won the race in recent years.

It's taken plenty of winning too, Efforia rating 128 with Timeform winning last year's edition over Contrail and Gran Alegria.

Almond Eye ran a world-class figure of 129 to win her first, beating Chrono Genesis at her second and rating 121, which is the lowest recent winning rating. Rey De Oro (127), Kitasan Black (129) and Maurice (130) making the six year winning average a tick over 127.

The top contenders this year are rated up to 125 and it seems that will be the minimum required rating to be in the finish on Sunday. I've narrowed it down to six horses capable of winning.


One of a trio of three-year-olds with a big chance in the race. To be rated 123 after just four starts is incredibly rare and despite being the bridesmaid in both the Satsuki Sho (Guineas) and Tokyo Yushun (Derby).

He was arguably the run of the race in the Derby behind Do Duece, just having to wait for a run at the top of the straight before flying home to miss by a neck. Regular jockey Christophe Lemaire sticks with the son of Kitasan Black, and although three-year-olds have only won one Tenno Sho in 19 years, it was last year with Efforia, who similarly ran second in The Derby

Jack D'Or

He'll be looking to tuck in behind a brutal speed set by his sparring partner Panthalassa and which he did successfully first up at Sapporo, winning the Sapporo Kinen and rating 123. He does have a peak of 125 over 1 1⁄4 m at Chukyo and looks to be back better than ever, notably proving his ability to take a sit after initially only knowing one way. He's won twice at the Tokyo 1 1⁄4 m and looks a huge chance for his maiden Group 1.


'The panther' only knows one way- fast. A winner of the Dubai World Cup over Lord North, his last four ratings read: 122, 110, 121, 121, the miss coming when setting a brutal tempo in the Takurazaka Kinen, beaten by Japan's best horse in Titleholder. He started $3.30 against Jack D'or at Sapporo but couldn't hold him off, sticking on for a narrow second. It's hard to see him turning the tables but he'll be out in front burning along and if others behind are held he might be able to pinch it.


A son of the great Deep Impact, this horse is the equal highest rated horse in the race, having earnt a number of 125 for his win in the Dubai Sheema Classic. A winner of last year's Derby over the aforementioned Efforia, things didn't go right for him at Ascot off a muddling tempo, beaten into fourth by State Of Rest. That form has worked out strongly with Bay Bridge knocking off Baaeed since, and back to a truly run race will suit Shahryar much better. My small query with him is his best ratings have come at a mile and a half, both at Dubai and in Japan. Still, he's adaptable, will relish the staying test and his peak ratings are difficult to ignore.


A runner of big interest is Geoglyph, who looked very good winning the Satuski Sho fair and square over Equinox and Do Deuce at Nakayama, rating 123. He got a good run in transit that day but was strong late and holding Equinox by a length comfortably on the line. I'm happy to ignore his run in the Derby when pulling up with issues post-race, with the comments from the stable very positive leading into this. Back to 1 1⁄4 m likely suits better than the Derby anyway and he appeared overlooked in early markets at double figures.

Danon Beluga 

The third of our three-year-old contenders who has to be considered some chance given his form in the Guineas and Derby, finishing 4th in both. Noticeably, he started 4-1 and 5/2 in those races having beaten Geoglyph in good fashion at Tokyo over 1 1⁄8 m in the lead He doesn't quite have the established ratings of the other three-year-olds but I prefer him at 1 1⁄4 m and he can take the next step without shocking.

Cracking edition of the Tenno Sho, and I'm thinking the three-year-olds can make it back-to-back wins in the race. Equinox looks the horse to beat having come so close in both the Satsuki Sho and the Tokyo Yushun, potentially the run of the race in both. Geoglyph did beat him fair and square at Nakayama and looks the early value in the race. Of the older horses, Jack D'Or will be right in the finish given how well he's returned. His peak rating is the equal highest in the rating with Shahryar, although he looks short enough given I prefer him over a touch further. Panthalassa will give you a huge sight but will need a couple in behind to be held up and hope to fall Still, he seems a big price at around 16-1 (seen all considering he started shorter than Jack D'Or at Sapporo.

Tenno Sho Tips

7. Equinox

9. Jack D'Or

6. Geoglyph

8. Panthalassa

Betting Strategy

Backing Geoglyph ($16) & Panthalassa ($16)

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