2012 Yasuda Kinen (G1) - comments from Japanese runners' connections
Apapane (mare, 5)
Sakae Kunieda (trainer)
"I think because there had been some concern about her run in the Hanshin Himba Stakes, that we were maybe a bit too careful in the last run and that prevented her from getting a good position. She got squeezed a lot and that made a tough race for her. But fifth place isn't all that bad. I don't think it was such a bad run. After the Victoria Mile, we've been working her on the north C course, which is different from her usual course and she's leaned out no doubt because of that. It's a tight schedule this time and I don't think there's any need to work her too hard. This week, she went up the hill as planned and everything looked good. She's had regular races and is fit and we just focused on the finish. This is good enough. She is slower to improve now that she's older. She didn't meet our expectations last time out and I don't think I hadn't gotten her quite right or that she was somehow lacking. The Tokyo mile is in her repertoire, so I think she has a chance. If she can show us her best she can win it."
Masayoshi Ebina (jockey)
(after work Wednesday) "I think she's come along well. And her time as well was where we wanted it."
Cosmo Sensor (horse, 5)
Masato Nishizono (trainer)
"In the Milers Cup we had Silport taking the lead. For the jockey it may have been difficult but I thought (Cosmo Sensor) had what was needed to go from a forward position. I think he gave it a lot in that race. He's gotten some nice muscling on his hindquarters, and he showed some great acceleration in work on the 23rd, with a 24.4-12.1 finish. This week, I just asked to have him quicken in the end. He clocked 12.2 over the last furlong and it's a good enough time. He's maintained a nice consistent, high-level of condition. If he is running balanced, he is OK running in with the others. He's not too affected by the pace and that's his strong point. Before, he couldn't handle a strong pace, but now he can. A slow track would work against him. I would like to have a fast track. It'd be ideal if he can get right up behind Silport. I think he can put up a good fight in a G1."
Danon Yoyo (horse, 6)
Hidetaka Otonashi (trainer)
"Before the last race, the rider said in work that the horse seemed somewhat lacking. He didn't look any worse but the rider apparently thought he could do more. But it had been a while since his last race and I think he was a bit dull. He seems a little more agitated now so I'd say he has improved. He does better when he's like that. His movement has improved and the last race will have sharpened him so I've been working him in tandem. I think this time he'll be able to show us what he has. The start is key but he does have power. I don't want too fast of a pace."
Yuichi Kitamura (jockey)
"There's a good air about him and he's agitated like when he was at his best. I'd say he's back to where he was the year before last when he won the Fuji Stakes and then ran second in the Mile Championship. I've got my hopes up."
Donau Blue (filly, 4)
Sei Ishizaka (trainer)
"She's a small filly so we didn't do too much last week and she gave us a nice final 12 seconds in this week's fast work, which was good. She's filled out even since she came back from Tokyo."
Shinji Furukawa (assistant trainer)
"For the Nakayama Himba Stakes, she'd been down 16 kg from her last race and it looks like the long haul took its toll. That loss was just not characteristic of her. But last race, the trip up didn't take seem to affect her and she was at the weight we wanted. She also wasn't as excitable as we'd worried she would be, but she was up for the run in a good way. If she puts her mind to it, the kind of race she gave us last time is what you can expect of this filly. She was good going in and good coming out of the last race and after returning to Ritto, she doesn't look any the worse for wear. We've only raced her against other females so it's hard to say how she'll fare against the boys. But, she's in good shape, and her overall time and her time over the final 3 furlongs last race were good. If she can just keep that up…"
Eishin Apollon (horse, 5)
Yoshikazu Nakayama (assistant trainer)
"As has happened before, when you work him too much, he gets pretty sore. So, for last race we kind of got him ready pretty quickly and he was a bit heavy. And the going was slightly heavy, which wasn't the best for him either. I'd say that that race wasn't reflective at all of what he can do. He came out of the race fine and he has been really easy to get into shape this time. As we thought, the last race really brought him up. He's lost about 5 kg and has leaned out. Even his walking is faster than usual. One of his strong points is that he can race from any position. He doesn't need anything special. He really is well suited to Tokyo too. I think there's a great chance he can rally."
Kenichi Ikezoe (jockey)
"I was instructed to run him 2-3 lengths behind the other horse and then push him in the finish in work this week. The track was pretty rough but he handled it well and responded well. He's close to where he was last year (before the Mile Championship win)"
Fifth Petal (horse, 6)
Yukihiro Kato (trainer)
"I think he went from a bit too far back in the Milers Cup and just wasn't able to make the top in time. I have the feeling that was the only problem. We've kept him at the stable and worked him on the 23rd in tandem pretty hard. He handled it pretty well. This week we just worked him solo with a good blowout. He's in the same shape he was as before the Mile Championship. This is his third race now since time off and he is definitely improving. He's not that difficult of a horse. I'd like to see him go from about the second position. I think he can get some good results with that. It'd be good if the pace was a little bit relaxed. That will be key."
Garbo (horse, 5)
Hidekatsu Shimizu (trainer)
"After his last race, we gave him a three-week rest. He came back to the stable well-rested and nicely filled out. His loss in the New Year Stakes was probably just the difference in the draw and in the Hankyu Hai he was boxed in and couldn't move. Both his losses this year have not been for lack of ability. He's gotten a lot of work and he's ready. This week we held back in the first part of his fast work and pushed him just over the last furlong. His movement was good and he's come along according to plan. He has had good results in the Tokyo mile and even if the pace is fast he should be able to keep up. He's not good in the hot weather so this year has been good for him. I think he'll be able to run in great shape. I don't know about the Hong Kong horses but I think, looking at his condition and the other members, he has a chance."
Grand Prix Boss (colt, 4)
Grand Prix Boss
Yoshito Yahagi (trainer)
"In the Keio Hai Spring Cup we were holding back and keeping it all for the finish, but like the time before that, we were unlucky again and drew wide. He looked good in the finish but with the outside gate he had to move from the rear. He has always improved with a race and has gotten better each time. He had hurt himself in his stall so we moved the fast work to Sunday last week. There's not much time between races so we just gave him one more fast workout. It had seemed that he had lost some confidence so this week we urged him forward and into the lead. Up till now we had been more concerned about keeping him running balanced and so we hadn't pushed him too much, but that didn't lead to anything great, did it? This is the main goal and I scheduled it to be his third race. In any case, I hope we get a good gate. And then I want a fast track too. If we have these two conditions, I think he'll be able to show us a bit more ability. I'm looking forward to the race."
Marcellina (filly, 4)
Hiroyoshi Matsuda (trainer)
"In the Victoria Mile she tripped in the beginning and then she got caught inside a lot. Then in the stretch, she couldn't get a place to move for a while but when it opened up, she was finally able to move out. I think she'll be able to do better next time. If you look at her normal work, she seems to be running happily and recently, in racing, she's not so excitable. The time is tight between races but she's maintained her condition. I have no complaints. If you compare her to how she was in the Mile Championship as a 3-year-old, I'd say now she has gotten all excess weight off and is looking very smart. Her coat looks good with a nice sheen to it. She's in good shape. She didn't really do much in the straight in the Victoria Mile so she's not tired. Even though she's up against the boys I don't think she's disadvantaged. If we can get some prize money here it'll make it easier to plan her coming races, so, for that reason, I do really want her to do well."
Pelusa (horse, 5)
Daisuke Tsumagari (assistant trainer)
"For the Shirafuji Stakes he weighed in at 532 kg. Looking at the time, I'd say the track was slightly heavy. He went from the back and quickened nicely in the straight. It's disappointing not to have won an open class race, but on the other hand, it's nice that he was able to gain ground to that extent (second place). After he went out for a short spell we brought him back and then gave him a combination of hill and flat work. He's come along well and from two weeks ago we upped the pace and his movement has gotten nice and sharp. Last week we had Katsumi Ando ride him in work up the hill and everything went according to plan. He's leaner now and got down to 524 kg. I think we may be able to get him a little leaner and he looks good. He has such great potential and though it's his first mile, I'd say I'm more excited than worried."
Real Impact (colt, 4)
Atsunori Hashimoto (assistant trainer)
"I don't think you can cite any one reason for his loss in the Milers Cup. One thing is that he never does well in Kansai. And another thing is that, the good going at the beginning of the meet meant the front runners were able to hold their ground. Thirdly, he hasn't been able to get back into the kind of shape he was in his best days. And then the outside course at Kyoto may make it hard to pick a good place to move with this horse. In the Nakayama Kinen, he lost the bit when the jockey moved him out, so we have him in a flash bridle now. We also used cheek pieces in work on the 17th. They almost worked too well. The biggest thing in his favor this time is that there's no long trip to the track. And also, the good weather has helped him get into shape. You can really see how he's improved just looking at him."
Yasunari Iwata (jockey)
"He really feels a lot better this week than he did last week. He's eager to run. If he can improve this much in a week, then I think that this one workout this week will have him in even better shape on Sunday."
Rose Kingdom (horse, 5)
Kojiro Hashiguchi (trainer)
"In the Tenno Sho (Spring), he marked Orfevre and ran from the rear nicely balanced. But the pace was just too slow. It was like, by the time he got his engine going, the race was over. He came out of that race well, despite the distance. He's coming along according to plan and there's no change to his condition, in a good sense. I don't think he'll have problems with the pace of the 1,600. It's much easier to handle than a 3,200. He was second in the Derby and first in the Japan Cup. He has had good results at Tokyo. He does need a firm track, but I'm looking forward to the race."
Yutaka Take (jockey)
"He ran nice and straight. That was the most important thing. His time was good too and he wasn't too keen in the first half. Since he's likely to be overly keen, the mile is the best distance for him."
Sadamu Patek (colt, 4)
Masato Nishizono (trainer)
"In the Keio Hai Spring Cup he was late out of the gate, but he ran nicely balanced. The timing was perfect for signaling him to quicken and he went beautifully. It was a great ride and that got him the win. After that race, he recovered quickly. There wasn't much time between races so we focused on the finish in work and he looked sharp. He's feeling good and in better shape than he was before his last race. The strong Patek is back. He is better going to the left than the right and I think the mile suit him. He has two wins in five starts at Tokyo and one second so it suits him. The jockey is up for the second time so I think he'll be able to get even more out of it. The horse is agile and has great acceleration so I'm looking forward to the race."
Craig Williams (jockey)
(after work Wednesday) "Today, I was wondering just what I'd come to do. I didn't do anything. The horse just did it all. And he moved better in his morning work than he had before his last race. He went straight up the hill. It felt like he was getting everything ready for battle all by himself.
Silport (horse, 7)
Masato Nishizono (trainer)
"He hates to lose so if he has a horse in front of him he gets really keen. And he can be hard to handle if he doesn't like someone coming up on him. The trick is how to lead while keeping him in a good mood. After the Milers Cup we gave him a rest at Uji Tawara Yushun Stable. With the same rotation as the last race, we brought him back two weeks after the race. They kept him in shape by riding him at the farm and he was still in good shape. A week ago he worked up the hill in 50.9 seconds and he's kept his condition. His muscling is better than it was last year. On race day, he could handle a fast track or a slow one."
Futoshi Komaki (jockey)
(after work on Wednesday) "As for his movement today, as you can see, there are no complaints. To go wire to wire in a Tokyo G1 mile you really have to have the perfect trip. Still, this horse is in top shape and has good muscling everywhere. He just needs to run his own race."
Smile Jack (horse, 7)
Tomokazu Shibasaki(assistant trainer)
"After his last race, we put him out for a spell and there he got some treatment that has done him well. He's gotten good muscle back on his hindquarters. Last fall, we were a bit worried about his feet and were using the polytrack course and the dirt course for a while, but now there are no worries and he's working according to plan. We work primarily on the woodchip course and where we aren't getting the times we want we take him up the hill course.If you were to say he was at 100 at his best last year, then I'd have to say he's still at 85 now, but he is in better shape now than he was last fall or at the beginning of this year. The main thing is that he has made it safely this far."
Genki Maruyama (jockey)
"In work this week we started out slowly and he quickened well in the finish. He runs nicely balanced and is easy to ride. His responses were better than they were last week."
Strong Return (horse, 6)
Atsunori Hashimoto (assistant trainer)
"I think he was in good shape for the Keio Hai Spring Cup, but he missed the break and, going from the back, he was a bit keen. He likes to go the left and so it was hard no doubt to bring him out wide in the straight. But I think, for him to have been leaning in and still gotten to where he did shows how strong he is. After that we were aiming him for here and everything has gone well. He's had the one race since coming back after the fracture and he's improved well. Unlike last year, where he seemed to have been past his peak, this year he's right on schedule. As for as the gate, him leaning in, and his tendency to be keen, the jockey should have a handle on it since he's ridden him before. So I think things will be different this time. I can't say we don't have some concerns that he'll be able to handle whatever kind of trip he gets, but I think we can look forward to a good race."
Yuichi Fukunaga (jockey)
"There wasn't much time between races so I was told he didn't need too much of a workout, but it was a good workout. The last race seems to have sharpened him up."
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2012 Winner: Strong Return
2011 Winner: Real Impact
2010 Winner: Showa Modern