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World Cup beckons as Falcon swoops again
Japanese racing looks to have a very serious contender for the $10 million Dubai World Cup at Meydan on March 31 after one of their leading 10 furlong performers, Smart Falcon, came through his latest race with flying colours taking his winning streak to a remarkable nine races, writes Elliot Slater.

Stepping up in grade having won what are referred to as 'Local Grade 1' races on seven of his eight previous starts at a range of distances from 812 furlongs and at a variety of tracks around Japan, Smart Falcon put up a tremendous performance over the 10 furlongs of the Grade 1 Kawasaki Kinen on January 25 to book his place on a journey to the Middle East to represent his country in the world's richest horse race. Those looking at the best online horse racing betting odds will know just how good he is.

Following the stunning victory of Japan's Victoire Pisa who sprang something of a surprise when landing the top-notch international contest in 2011, the Japanese clearly feel they have another likely sort in the shape of Smart Falcon, a seven-year-old son of Gold Alure, who has won 18 of his 25 career starts and already bagged more than 5.3 million in total career prize money.

Bookmakers rate Smart Falcon a solid 6/1 second favourite for the World Cup behind the Aidan O'Brien-trained So You Think, brilliant winner of last year's Irish Champion Stakes and Coral Eclipse Stakes and placed a number of other times last term in top company. America's Game On Dude, runner-up to Drosselmeyer in the Breeders' Cup Classic is next in the list at around 8/1, along with fellow US raider Animal Kingdom, winner of the 2011 Kentucky Derby and runner-up in the Preakness Stakes. Mike De Kock's Bold Silvano, strongly fancied for last year's renewal before missing the race through injury, is also on offer at up to 8/1 in places.

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