With a race purse of 150 million yen, the Nakayama Grand Jump is a steeplechase race that is held annually during the mid-April at the Nakayama Racecourse in Tokyo. It is a race for four years over at a distance of close to 2 2/3 miles. The time of the event and the famous Cherry Blossom season in Japan perfectly coincide with each other giving those attending the event a unique experience alongside the competitive racing action.
The race was first held in 1999 after its title was changed from Nakayama Daishogai Spring in 1998 (at the time the race had a slightly shorter running distance). It is one of the most prominent grade one steeplechase races run on the Japanese turf along with Nakayama Daishogai which takes place at the same but with a few changes to the format. During the early years, there were not many participants from abroad but this gradually changed over the period of time, as the race’s reputation grew.
The Nakayama Grand Jump is run on the steeplechase course in Nakayama which cradles around the inside of the racecourse over a progression of jumps over various inclines and declines. Along with the passage through the dirt course, the turf course is also crossed by the riders as they enter into the final lap with a final three jumps of the race to be contested.
During the early years of the race there were not many winners and riders from foreign countries but this trend changed over time. The achievement was first realised by St Steven from New Zealand in 2002, then Karasi from Australia in 2005, 2006, 2007 and Blackstairmountain from Ireland in 2013. This has led to a real increase in enthusiasm for the event amongst foreign owners who relish in the astounding natural beauty that surrounds the Nakayama racecourse and also dream of winning there.