Hong Kong's Contentment arrives safely for the Yasuda Kinen
The lone foreign contender in this year’s Grade 1 Yasuda Kinen, Hong Kong’s Contentment, arrived safely at Narita International Airport in Chiba Prefecture early Tuesday morning. The Australia-bred 6-year-old gelding, was then transported to the quarantine facilities at the JRA Horseracing School Quarantine Center, where he arrived at 9:15 a.m., completing about a nine-hour journey from his home base at Sha Tin.
“He is eating well after the trip and his condition looks to be good,” said Sing Hon Pang, assistant trainer to John Size. “The trainer’s instructions are to walk him for a good hour before trackwork, and after entering the track, trot in the trotting ring and canter on the dirt course. We are planning for fast work on Friday (May 27).”
Contentment, by Hussonet out of the Commands mare Jemison, is trained by Hong Kong’s current leading trainer John Size, who is no stranger to JRA racing and the Yasuda Kinen. After running in Japan for the first time in the 2008 Yasuda Kinen with Armada (runner-up to Vodka), Size also brought Grade 1 winner Glorious Days to the Yasuda Kinen for three consecutive years from 2012, but has yet to find the winner’s circle in Japan. He will look to become the first Hong Kong trainer to win the Yasuda Kinen since 2006, when Anthony Cruz took the title from the locals with Bullish Luck.
Contentment, with an overall record of 9 wins from 18 starts (3 seconds and 2 thirds), will face tough competition in the mile race at Tokyo Racecourse. Among the nominated horses for the race is Maurice, highly regarded as the world’s top miler. Contentment finished 5th in the Hong Kong Mile last December and second in the Champions Mile in April, which were both won by Maurice and, in both races, Contentment finished 0.4 seconds behind.
Contentment has been consistent throughout his career in Hong Kong (all at Sha Tin Racecourse), only missing the board twice in his 18 runs. Ever since concentrating only on 1,400 and 1,600 meter races since June last year, he has notched 5 wins in 11 races, including the Grade 1 Queen's Silver Jubilee Cup in February.
The Yasuda Kinen will be run on Sunday, June 5 at Tokyo Racecourse, with a scheduled post time of 15:40 local time.