2016 News

April 15, 2016


2016 Satsuki Sho (Japanese 2000 Guineas) (G1) - comments from runners' connection

Note: All entrants are 3-year-old colts

Admire Daio

Yasuo Tomomichi, trainer
“In the Wakaba Stakes, he was overtaken in the stretch, but he came back and got ahead again. He has ample stamina and good tenacity. He’s doing well now. He had to redo his gate test and he has that test this week. So, on April 6 we had (jockey Yuichi) Fukunaga ride him for fast work with another horse over the woodchip course. And he said, ‘He’s a lot lighter on his feet than I had imagined him to be.’ So, he got a good impression from him. As for the gate, he’s been quiet in practice and there are no special problems. Just to be sure, gate practice with the jockey was scheduled for April 8. This horse has stamina and stick-to-itiveness. He also has sufficient power and I think a track with a bit of cushion to it will be a plus. He’s a different type than Makahiki and I think if it comes down to a test of stamina, he’ll have a chance”

Admire Morale

Hiroyuki Uehara, trainer
“For the Spring Stakes (Grade 2) last out, it had been a while since his last race, but he wasn’t on his toes. And I think he was out of breath at the end. That race has sharpened him up and he’s more lightfooted now. He has always been a horse to improve with a race under his belt. I think his wind will be better this time. From his debut, he had outside draws or slow starts, but he’s gotten better at the gates now and he’s able to keep focused on the racing. I think this is his natural style. In Sunday’s lineup there are a lot of horses that like to stalk the pace, so I think he’ll be in a position with the pressure off and will be able to run his kind of race.”

Daily Hai Nisai Stakes (G2)
Air Spinel
Air Spinel

Kazuhide Sasada, trainer
“In the Yayoi Sho (Grade 2) final stages, he got quite a bit of distance between him and the top two finishers, which shows there was a difference between him and them. With last race’s results in mind, we have endeavored to get him stronger since then and training has gone well. Last week, we had the jockey ride him on the woodchip course in tandem and push him hard. The gallop went as expected and I’d say he was in about the same shape as he was for the last race, maybe a little better. And, I think he’s listening to the rider more now and not showing his immaturity. There are the three very good colts in the lineup but I believe this guy has the latent ability to turn the tables on them. We’ll see how well our training strategy will pan out in a real race.”

Kyodo News Service Hai (Tokinominoru Kinen) (G3)
Dee Majesty
Dee Majesty

Yoshitaka Ninomiya, trainer
“He had to be scratched for the Dec. 27 Hopeful Stakes (Grade 2) due to phlegmon in his legs. We had to give him about three days off but then got right back into training. We raced him next in the Feb. 14 Kyodo News Service Hai (Grade 3). The rider was urging him on from just before the final turn but I think the going was at its worst right there. He gave it his all and peeled off from the rest of the field with the fastest final 3-furlong time of the field for what was a very strong race. He’s still growing and is still a bit weak in his back and hindquarters, but he has gained a bit of weight and has the physique of a mature horse. He has an excellent heart and strong lungs and his breathing is very good. And he has a characteristically very nice racing form. (Jockey Masayoshi) Ebina will ride fast work this week and things are looking good heading into the big event. He can really put in a good chase and has great late speed.”

Radio Nikkei Hai Kyoto Nisai Stakes (G3)

Takahide Ando, assistant trainer
“The Spring Stakes at Nakayama was his first long trip to the track and he got pretty worked up. Nothing we could do about that. In training since then we’ve worked him behind other horses to teach him to be patient and check that he’s in tune with the rider. When we signal him to accelerate, he tends to hang out, which may be a problem with the way he takes contact with the bit. I think we can work that out. He doesn’t have a sharp kick but he can run at length at a good speed. So, we had the jockey ride him on the flat too. I think the three standout colts are strong but I think he’ll be OK if he can maintain his cool until race day and give us a good honest run.”

George Cinq

Ippo Sameshima
“He kept on the pace very nicely last out in the Sumire Stakes. Then in the stretch he took the lead early and it looked like he won easily. It was a perfect race. I had decided on the Satsuki Sho as his next race, so we didn’t send him off to the farm but kept him at the training center. He has gotten stronger with each race. Earlier, he looked like he was a horse suited more to the dirt, but he’s now looking more like a turf runner. He executes the track well and I think the Nakayama 2,000 meters suits him. I’d like him to race from a good forward position.”

Asahi Hai Futurity Stakes (G1)

Katsuhiko Sumii, trainer 
“This race was our target so going into his last start I’d left a bit of room for improvement. I think he was feeling a bit heavy. At one point, I’d thought he’d won but he’d been a bit keen in the first half and that translated to him getting overtaken in the end. He came out of the race well. It’s too bad he lost the Yayoi Sho but it was a good race to have experienced going into the Satsuki Sho. Last week we gave him a good fast gallop and he was almost at peak. So, this week we didn’t need to get such a fast time. He moved well and he’s ready. (Jockey) Mirco Demuro has got a good handle on the colt and can get him moving well. Such as knowing how to get him to hold back and then really extend his stride. Demuro gets that out of him. Looking at this week’s fast work, I have the impression that the colt is slowly learning how to stay in tune with the rider, but in a race anyhow he’ll be going with the flow so he should be OK.”

Norihiko Kishimoto, assistant trainer
“In the Yayoi Sho, the winner had quite a kick, but I think this horse as well didn’t do too badly at all in second place. He took the bit in his teeth a bit but not too much to worry about. More important, I think, was that he raced from a forward position in an orthodox style, which is an excellent experience to have. And, compared to the race day of the Asahi Hai Futurity Stakes (Grade 1), he was much more relaxed. These days he has the aura of a mature horse – not like what he was as a 2-year-old. He seems to be getting better with each race. It’s the first jewel of the crown and I’m looking forward to a good race.”

Lord Quest

Mitsuo Tsuchiaki, assistant trainer
“Ikezoe rode him for the first time in the Spring Stakes. It was a ride with the main event in mind. And, the fact that he didn’t close in the finish probably had to do with it being his first race after quite a bit of time off. The jockey got a good handle on him and said things were OK. We had him in training again right after that race and clocked him too. All has gone according to plan. On April 6, we worked him with two other horses with him closing on them. His breathing is better now too. He was second in the Hopeful Stakes and I’m not worried about the extra distance. Last start there was still room for improvement but this is the target and he’ll be in top shape so I think he’ll give it a solid run to the end. The rider will have a good image of what he wants. The colt is strong and I’m hoping he’ll give it his best.”

Kenichi Ikezoe, jockey
“It’s a G1 so I pushed him hard (in fast work on April 13). His responses were quick, better than last race.”

Hochi Hai Yayoi Sho (Japanese 2,000 Guineas Trial) (G2)

Yasuo Tomomichi, trainer
“He was a bit slow out of the gate in the Yayoi Sho and so raced from the back, but he runs very nicely in hand and is easy to ride. That was the first race that the jockey used the whip on him. His responses were good and he ran very nicely. On April 6, we worked him in a group of three over the woodchip course. He got a fast time and he is the type of horse that can really move but the time may also have been due to the inside course he took. Still, it was a convincing bit of work. He handled the long trip to the track last time, so that is one question mark that’s out of the way. This will be his second time at Nakayama so we can rest easy. He can run well over the woodchips, which requires power, so it should be OK if the going is a bit yielding on Sunday. It’s his first time in a big field so there are some unknowns. But I think he’s one horse that has a chance.”

Mikki Rocket

Hidetaka Otonashi, trainer  
“He has drawn in the middle and they’ll load him later since it’s an even number. I think No. 8 is a perfect gate. And he looks to be in good shape. His movement is as it always is and everything has been going along well. He worked up the hill course on April 13 but we didn’t know if he was going to make the cut or not so we didn’t push him that hard.”

Kenichi Shono, assistant trainer
“If he’d jumped better in the Spring Stakes, I think he’d have been much more competitive. He can handle bad going just fine. The lineup is a lot stronger this time but I hope he can beat them back.”

Miraieno Tsubasa

Daishi Ito, trainer
“The going was kind of shifty in the Yamabuki Sho and that suited him. He’s a good runner but him not changing leads had hurt in the past. This time, however, he changed to his left lead for the first time. He’s matured physically and gotten stronger and that has helped him change leads smoothly now. He came out of that race well and we’re heading into this one in good shape. Last time the track was to his liking and it would help if we had some rain.”

Fuji TV Sho Spring Stakes (Japanese 2,000 Guineas Trial) (G2)
Mount Robson
Mount Robson

Atsunori Hashimoto, assistant trainer

“Up until last race, he hadn’t been able to get speed after jumping out of the gates, but last time out in the Spring Stakes he got a nice position. He was holding back a bit so the jockey gave him a whack at the start to get him on his game and I think getting forward position was the biggest factor in his win. Things got a bit tight at a crucial point and it could have been smoother but I have the impression that he had an easy time overtaking the horses in front of him. He came out of that race well and is doing fine. There’s not much time between races, so he doesn’t need that much work. This time of the year, many 3-year-olds get stronger quickly and so it’s hard to say who is stronger at any one time. You have to see them race. And, I think that even a small thing can change the order of finish. This colt isn’t flashy but he’s improved more than I thought he would. I’m looking forward to seeing how he’ll do here.”

Namura Shingun

Tomokazu Takano, trainer  
“This horse stopped in the final stages of the Wakaba Stakes and the winner was a cut above. You can see that he’s a difficult horse, like when he passed the fourth-place finisher and took the bit in his teeth and sped up. He needs to learn to stay more even-paced, more balanced. We’ve worked on that in training and he’s much more controllable now. He’s had quite a hard schedule and his times in training are not outstanding but he’s coming along well. If he can stay fresh for the race, he should be OK. He still has room to improve, but because we won a berth, we’ll take it on. I’m hoping he’ll stay in tune with the jockey.”

Keisei Hai (G3)

Yasutoshi Ikee, trainer
“The best thing for the Keisei Hai was that he was back in top shape and, unlike in the Hagi Stakes, he didn’t lose his balance, but went around smoothly. He ran nicely in the final stage as well. I think he’s gotten better at racing. He had enough earnings so I didn’t want to push him unnecessarily and race him in a trial race. I gave him some time off and brought him back to Ritto on March 15. I think he’s refreshed and it shows. Even though he’s bigger he still moves well in work. It’s a big plus that he has a win at Nakayama.”

Respect Earth

Michihiro Ogasa, trainer
“In the Wakaba Stakes, there was another horse that wanted to lead so the jockey didn’t push this one to go to the front. And, thinking of the races to come, I believe having had him race that way was a good experience. Still, he’s not that agile and so he wasn’t able to give it his best. He has a big stride and the soft track didn’t suit him. We got him over any fatigue he had from that race and things have gone well since. On April 7 the jockey rode him in fast work, pushed him pretty hard, and got a good feel for him. The competition will be strong and it won’t be an easy position for him, but I want him to go aggressively to the front and hold his ground the best he can.”

Kisaragi Sho (NHK Sho) (G3)
Satono Diamond
Satono Diamond

Yasutoshi Ikee, trainer
“He ran as was suited to a fast track in the Kisaragi Sho and he responded immediately to the whip, so we cleared up both question marks with that run, which is a big thing. We sent him off to Northern Farm Shigaraki, then brought him back to the training center on March 15. He has filled out now and has more breadth to him, filling in on what we thought he lacked physically. I think he’s stronger too. His movement looked much better in his fast work last week and his responses were good. This will be the first time he’ll have to be transported quite a ways to get to the track, but he’s very stable mentally and he can handle any kind of race as well. I think the fact that he can handle a soft track is one of his strong points. The level of competition will be higher this time, but I’m anxious to see just how well he’ll measure up.”

Christophe Lemaire, jockey
“He has been getting better from about a month ago. Today (April 13) I think he was in top condition. His responses this morning were excellent and he looks fantastic. I was really happy today. Nakayama Racecourse is a bit tricky. The stretch is short and the pace always picks up from the last 600 meters, which makes the final turn tricky. I think Makahiki is his top rival. He’s a bit like this colt. His start isn’t the fastest but he has a really big stride. But, Leontes will have improved too. Air Spinel is good too. This year is a very tough year to win. I don’t think rain will be a problem. He has won at Kyoto over soft ground. This horse is unbeaten and hasn’t shown us everything yet. I’m very confident.”

Toa Raijin

Akira Murayama, trainer
“The No. 10 gate is a good place to start from. He has a tendency to be keen, so I’m hoping he’ll have a smooth trip. His time was a bit slow in fast work this week, but he has gotten a lot of work, so he’s ready.”


Atsunori Hashimoto, assistant trainer

“There hasn’t been much time between races, so we just gave him a light week. Last race in the Yamabuki Sho, he lost a shoe in the first turn. That and the slow pace both figured against him. He came out of that race fine and has improved with it, so I’m hoping he’ll rally on Sunday.”


Sources: Keiba Book, Sports Nippon, Netkeiba, Sankei Sports, Sports Hochi

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