Monday, November 20, 2006Contact: Kaoru Obata, JRA
+813 5785 7368
New classification boost for Japanese racing

Upon recommendation of the International Grading and Race Planning Committee (IRPAC) and International Cataloguing Standards Committee (ICSC), Japan was promoted to "Part I Country of the International Cataloguing Standards" by SITA (Society of International Thoroughbred Auctioneers).

Beginning 2007, Japan will be listed as the sixteenth country in Part I of the ICS Book. As a result, a total of approximately 60 graded races out of 111 projected black-type races, which are international and open races, and comply with international quality parameters based on 2004, 2005 and 2006 race ratings, will be assigned graded status in Part I as part of the promotion. New races will be promoted after ownership registration review.

Japan’s thoroughbred racing activity has been on the world’s highest level for a number of years in such area as turnover, prize money, number of horses contested and number of foals born. Quality of the Japanese race has also been proven through success of pinnacle Japanese international races such as Sprinters Stakes (G1), Yasuda Kinen (G1) and Japan Cup (G1). Furthermore, the number of Japanese race horses ranked in the World Thoroughbred Racehorse Rankings and horses have also proven their ability by travelling abroad to win prominent Group One races such as historical one-two finish by Delta Blues and Pop Rock in 2006 Emirates Melbourne Cup (G1), 2006 Dubai Sheema Classic (G1) by Heart’s Cry, the 2006 Singapore Airlines International Cup (G1) by Cosmo Bulk, the 2005 American Oaks (G1) by Cesario and the 2005 Hong Kong Mile (G1) by Hat Trick.

Mr. Masayuki Takahashi, President and CEO of the Japan Racing Association said, “We are very glad to see that the quality and capacity of the Japanese racing have been recognized by the international racing community. We believe thoroughbred racing is a treasure of the world of sport and should be shared and enhanced on a global level. We have long aimed to bring the Japanese racing industry to the world stage and Japan’s promotion to Part I country is certainly a major step into the future. We also feel this is a great accomplishment for Asian racing and we are committed to bring about further internationalization of Japanese racing for the betterment of global racing.”

“This is great news for Japanese and Asian racing. Japanese horses have performed impressively at home and abroad for many years, and this is a well deserved vindication of the strength and vision of Japanese racing under the leadership of the Japan Racing Association. With this good news the Asian Racing Federation is set to play an even greater role in the development of world racing", said Dr Lawrence T Wong, Chairman of the Asian Racing Federation.

"Firstly we would like to congratulate JRA and we are most delighted that Japan racing gets its long deserved recognition for being promoted to Part 1 country of the International Cataloguing. We are glad that as GRPAC we could support our JRA colleagues in developing their proposal for this upgrade." said Mr Winfried Engelbrecht-Bresges, ARF-GRPC Chairman and Chief Executive Officer - Designate of the Hong Kong Jockey Club.

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