Last night on Twitter, a participant in the Japanese bloodstock industry tweeted a link to a Racing Post article about a Grade 1 race in Japan. Here it is:
The race, however, is not a Grade 1 race by the body that adjudicates on such matters, the International Federation of Horse Racing Authorities (IFHA). The latter is a vocal and powerful organization whose heft to “internationally harmonize”—a favorite catchword for this crowd—has been felt here in the Lasix debate, for example.
The IFHA classifies the race in question, the Zen-Nippon Nisai Yushun, a dirt race outside the jurisdiction of the JRA, as a Listed Race (LR). However—and bear with me on the minutiae here—Japan’s races only became part of the highest level of IFHA classifications—a Part 1 country, as is USA, Europe, Australasia, South Africa, and parts of South America—fairly recently. Before that, Japan was a Part 2 country and its Grades were not internationally recognized and were listed by the IFHA for informational purposes only.
Below is the IFHA notation of the Zen-Nippon from 2007 when it was considered a “Japan Grade 1” as opposed to an internationally recognized Grade 1 race.
Here is an IFHA description of the Grades of Part 2 countries:
Here is the current IFHA classification of the Zen-Nippon (2014):
When questioned about the status of the race on Twitter last night, the Japanese participant, who agreed that the race is a LR by international standards and not a G1, suggested the paper should have “called it a JPN1 or domestic G1 but it isn’t wrong based on class of race.”
Which brings up yet another issue: that Japan is the only Part 1 country that apparently has local G1 races that, according to the Japanese participant, “carry G1 blacktype.”
So much for “harmonization.”