Grand Couturier has been pulled out of the Japan Cup because of a leg injury, but Dylan Thomas has been confirmed as a starter in the $4.8 million, 1 1/2-mile turf race at Tokyo Racecourse on Nov. 25.
Trainer Robert Ribaudo announced the withdrawal of Grand Couturier, winner of the Sword Dancer Handicap, on Tuesday, one day before Dylan Thomas, winner of the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe, was booked to fly from Ireland to Japan in an effort to make up for his sixth-place finish at 9-10 in the Breeders' Cup Turf.
The defection of Grand Couturier leaves the Neil Drysdale-trained Artiste Royal as the lone American contestant in the Japan Cup. One American horse, Student Council, will be saddled by Vladimir Cerin in the $2.5 million Japan Cup Dirt at Tokyo on Nov. 24.
Meanwhile, Artiste Royal's stablemate Becrux arrived at Kyoto Racecourse on Monday night after an 8 1/2-hour van ride from the Shiroi Quarantine Center near Tokyo. An Italian-bred owned by Team Valor, Becrux will be the only foreign-trained horse in Sunday's $1.9 million Mile Championship. The 5-year-old gelding cantered twice around Kyoto Racecourse on Tuesday morning. Artiste Royal accompanied Becrux from Shiroi to Kyoto even though that means he will face a six-hour van ride from Kyoto to Tokyo Racecourse for the Japan Cup.