2018 News

June 1, 2018


Yasuda Kinen (G1) - Comments from Japanese runners' connections
Hokkaido Shimbun Hai Queen Stakes (G3)

Aerolithe (filly, 4)

Takanori Kikuzawa, trainer
“Leaving the gate in the Victoria Mile, she lost the shoe on her left fore. And I think the slightly yielding track definitely played a part in her results. The pace was slow as well and it came down to who had the best kick in the finish, which does not work in her favor. Still, she held her ground well and was able to regain ground when she was overtaken. She really has guts. Fortunately, the track was quite soft, so the damage to her hooves was minimal and it was decided to run in the Yasuda Kinen. There’s little time between races so last week’s fast work didn’t cover all the finer points, but she’ll be ready for the race. She did her best in the Nakayama Kinen, so I think she’ll be able to give it her all up against male horses. And I don’t think the pace will be as slow as it was in the Victoria Mile. The jockey is up for the second time and I think it’ll be a good race.”

Sports Nippon Sho Kyoto Kimpai (G3)
Black Moon

Black Moon (horse, 6)

Katsuichi Nishiura, trainer
“In his last start, the Yomiuri Milers Cup, the jockey was riding for the first time but he did a good job. Still, the race didn’t unfold to suit this guy. He did quicken bit by bit in the final stages, but it was his first race in a while and that was a factor too. We aimed him at this race right after his last one and last week he worked in tandem on the woodchip course. He started behind the other horse and caught and passed him. His movement was good and it was a solid workout. We have the long trip to the track, so this week I just focused on the final stage. The same jockey will ride this time and I think he understands the horse’s quirks. He has a good turn of foot, and I think if he can keep up with the pace well, he has a chance.”

Campbell Junior
Campbell Junior

Campbell Junior (horse, 6)

Kazutomo Mori, assistant trainer
“He was in better shape for the Keio Hai Spring Cup this year than he had been last year and the going was good this year. He hadn’t gotten good results over 6 furlongs up to now but even with a very fast track at Tokyo he was able to keep up. He moved early and was targeted, which made a difference, but even though he lost, it was a strong race. He always has some damage coming out of a race and this year he was pretty beat so we increased his training load slowly. He tires easily in his back and hindquarters, so we worked on that a lot and started working him fast from the weekend. This week, instead of having him run full out in the final stage, we focused on getting him to switch into a higher gear and then run without urging. He has yet to win over the Tokyo 1,600m but he’s used to the course, it suits him, and won his first two career starts at Tokyo. He did well with the cheek pieces on last race, so we’re going to have him wear them again.”

Epsom Cup (G3)
Dashing Blaze

Dashing Blaze (horse, 6)

Keiji Yoshimura, trainer
“His last start, the Yomiuri Milers Cup, was won in record time. It was the first day of the Kyoto race meeting and the times were just too fast. And on top of that, the jockey said that the horse felt stiff on his right side from the shoulder back. If the going and the way the race panned out had suited him more, I think the results would have been different. We gave him time off and brought him back to the training center with this race as our goal. His work has gone well and last week he worked in tandem on the flat with an emphasis on the finish. This week I breezed him up the hill and then worked on the flat over 6 furlongs with strong urging in the finish. With ample time between races, he’s fresh. He’s gotten good results until now and I think the Tokyo course suits him. Key will be the track condition. He likes a track with a bit of spring to it.”

Lord Derby Challenge Trophy (G3)
He's in Love

He's in Love (horse, 5)

Kenichi Fujioka, trainer
“In the Lord Derby Challenge Trophy, there were traffic problems just when he was about to make his move. Still, he found room to run and did a good job getting home first. Things have gone well since. Originally, the plan was to run him in Singapore in the Kranji Mile on May 26, so we’ve had more time to get him ready coming here. He has gradually gotten stronger and looked good on the hill course in last week’s fast work. His overall condition has stabilized and I think he’ll go into this race in good condition as well. Looking at his results, I’d have to say that Nakayama is probably his best venue but he did well at Tokyo three starts ago. He hasn’t been stiffening up recently and doesn’t tie up anymore. He’s more solid now and stronger. He has good late speed and I think, depending on how the race unfolds, he will have a chance.”

Tokyo Shimbun Hai (G3)
Lys Gracieux

Lys Gracieux (filly, 4)

Yoshito Yahagi, trainer
“In the stretch of the Victoria Mile, I thought she might not quicken, but she sure did. She lost but it was a strong race. The Victoria Mile was our big goal for the spring and so she was really ready for it. I think she did her, best but luck wasn’t on her side. It was a tough race and, to be honest, she needs more time to recover totally. I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to maintain her condition but she came out of the race better than I’d thought she would. As we usually do, we worked her from last Friday and then on Wednesday this week. Two fast workouts and she handled them both well. In this week’s work, I wanted to only push her a bit in the finish and other than that keep her relaxed. She’s better than I thought she’d be. I don’t think it makes much difference to her if she’s racing against males or females. However, the level is much higher this time than it was in the Tokyo Shimbun Hai. And compared to that race, I think the assigned weight this time will be a greater advantage. She always has been a horse with problems, lack of appetite, too thin, problems with the trailer, but from this year she has stabilized and we don’t have the worries we did. I’d say she’s maturing. She has ability and I think she has a chance.”

Mozu Ascot
Mozu Ascot

Mozu Ascot (colt, 4)

Yoshito Yahagi, trainer
“His run in the Azuchijo Stakes wasn’t bad. Considering the track condition, to have to come up the outside must have been tough. I do think he’ll show improvement this time. I had the impression in his last four open-class races that luck wasn’t on his side. In the Hankyu Hai and the Yomiuri Milers Cup, I wouldn’t have been surprised if he had won. There is no doubt that he has talent and potential. With the races being only a week apart, our main goal is to get him over any fatigue. It hasn’t even been a year since his debut and with that in mind, he really is quite a horse. There had been a lot of concerns and so his debut was delayed and I am grateful to the owner for having waited. This colt is still just a kid even though he is maturing bit by bit. Christophe Lemaire is up and I’m looking for him to perform his magic.”

Mile Championship (G1)
Persian Knight

Persian Knight (colt, 4)

Yuga Kawada, jockey
“This week’s fast work consisted of him chasing down another horse over 5 furlongs and me taking care not to overdo it in the stretch. He felt lighter than he did last week and his breathing was better too. I rode his debut at Kokura and I thought he had tremendous potential. And I’m very happy to be able to ride him again. What I’d felt when he was 2 years old is all that much better now. He has changed a lot, of course, gotten even better. He is the Mile Championship winner, he put in a great performance over the mile and I don’t think he’ll have any trouble racing to the left. I think Tokyo is perfect for him. He really knows what he needs to do and his responses under way are excellent. He’s a clever horse and he listens well to the rider’s signals, so I think he’ll be able to adjust to the sudden change in distance this start.”

Mainichi Okan (G2)
Real Steel

Real Steel (horse, 6)

Takahide Ando, assistant trainer
“In the Dubai Turf, three Japanese horses made the board, including Vivlos in second place and I think they all turned in fine races. The winner was just too strong. Real Steel also ran a really good race. After returning to Japan and going through quarantine, he went to Northern Farm Shigaraki, then came back to Ritto Training Center on May 9. He still looked very good and things have gone well. He had a light workout on May 16 and jockey Yasunari Iwata rode him in work on May 23 and pushed him hard. His time and movement were both good. Then he had two more workouts since then. He’s ready. He’s gotten the same rotation as he had the year before last but things have gone more smoothly this time. He’s also more in tune with the jockey now.”

The 8th Leg of Global Sprint Challenge Sprinters Stakes (G1)
Red Falx

Red Falx (horse, 7)

Tomohito Ozeki, trainer
“Jockey Hironobu Tanabe rode him in fast work on Wednesday. I had the horse go slowly in the first half and his movement and responses were good. He didn’t travel well in the first half of the Takamatsunomiya Kinen and he was in a difficult position. He didn’t have a clear run in the stretch and, as the race favorite, the results were a shame. Unlike last year, he started this season with the Hankyu Hai and because he hasn’t gotten results since, I decided to give him time off after his last start. Tanabe is partnered with this horse for the first time in over three years. The last time he rode was this horse’s first 1,200-meter race and he won on his first time up. I had Tanabe ride work and his change of leads went smoothly. I think Tanabe suits this horse – he has a good record with the Yasuda and I have my hopes up.”

Oka Sho (Japanese 1000 Guineas) (G1)
Reine Minoru

Reine Minoru (filly, 4)

Masaru Honda, trainer
“In the Victoria Mile I had wanted her to run from a good position but keep something in reserve, but as it turned out, she broke too well and since there were no strong frontrunners in the field she got a bit strong but the jockey was able to keep her in check. It was a tough race for her. Things have gone well since and she’s about the same. Last week, she trained at a 15-15 pace and this week, a strong gallop should have her ready. There are no particular problems and I think she’ll be ready. She was close to the winner last out and she has speed. If she can travel at her own pace toward the outside, I think she can do well.”

Asahi Hai Futurity Stakes (G1)
Satono Ares

Satono Ares (colt, 4)

Kazuo Fujisawa, trainer
“He just raced recently, so we didn’t push him too hard this week on Wednesday. His condition looks good. After the Keio Hai Spring Cup, he wasn’t tired, so we were able to get him ready slowly for this race. We had an easy time of it. That last race was his first time over 1,400 meters and it was a bit busy for him, but he did accelerate nicely in the final stage. I thought he’d pull ahead in the end, but there were some very tough horses in the field. This horse is not the most agile and that’s why he races from behind. I think if he can move up smoothly among the others he has a chance of finishing well. We’re not planning to have him mark any other horses, but he has good late speed, so I think the plan is to move up nicely and then make his move either out or in. He wasn’t used to 1,400 meters and his third-place finish last start was close. It’s 1,600 meters this time and jockey Masayoshi Ebina is used to him. I think he’ll give it his best.”

Osaka Hai (G1)
Suave Richard

Suave Richard (colt, 4)

Yasushi Shono, trainer
“In the Osaka Hai, he was slow out of the gate as usual and because the pace in the first and second turn wasn’t that strong, the jockey decided to send him forward. He traveled well from there and held his ground to the finish. After that, we’ve done what we always have and not concentrated specifically on getting him ready for a mile. We’ve given him gate practice, but nothing else about his training has changed. This week in fast work I told Mirco Demuro not to worry too much about the time but that I just wanted him to check the horse’s responses in the final stage. The overall time was faster than I thought it would be but I think it was a good run as his footwork was very light and he quickened well. The jockey said the horse was no longer stiff and that his breathing had improved. It’s been over a year since his Japanese Derby run and he is now able to switch on and off like a more mature horse. He’s grown and filled out. I think the Tokyo course will suit him. But it is his first mile and there are a number of specialists in the lineup, so I don’t think it will be an easy race for him.”

Yomiuri Milers Cup (G2)

Sungrazer (colt, 4)

Keiichi Asami, assistant trainer
“It was a very good experience for him to have been able to do so well after a layoff last out in the Yomiuri Milers Cup. And unlike the weights he carried as a 3-year-old, this time he was carrying 1kg more at 57kg. We haven’t really done anything differently with him. He had a bit of time off and came back to the training center three weeks ago. He was in the first string out on May 20 and his time was good and his movement was as usual. It’s his first time at Tokyo and I don’t know how he’ll be racing to the left. He has experienced the long trip to the track when he raced in the Hopeful Stakes at Nakayama and it didn’t seem to bother him. As a 3-year-old, he still couldn’t settle well at the mile but he has matured mentally now and has no problem at the mile. He’s in good shape but there are lot of top-level horses this time, so I do think it will be a tough race for him.”

Toyota Sho Chukyo Kinen (G3)
Win Gagnant

Win Gagnant (horse, 6)

Shota Nishizono, assistant trainer
“He traveled in about third position in the Keio Hai Spring Cup last out and he did run solidly to the end. It was a good race. He worked on the hill course on May 24 and he’s coming along well with that last race under his belt. He stiffens up in the cold weather but is good when it warms up. Looking at his last start and his win of the Chukyo Kinen last year, I think he doesn’t have to lead. The competition takes a huge leap up this time but he has won a graded stakes race on a left-handed track and I think he’ll show improvement this time as well.”


Sources: Keiba Book, Netkeiba, Nikkei Radio Broadcasting Corporation

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