The Mainichi Okan (G2, 1,800m) on October 7 was won wire-to-wire by Aerolithe (JPN, F4, by Kurofune), the runner-up in the Yasuda Kinen (G1, 1,600m) this year. The Kurofune (USA, by French Deputy) filly will be headed towards the Mile Championship (G1, 1,600m) on November 18. Stelvio (JPN, C3, by Lord Kanaloa), second by 1-1/4 lengths to Aerolithe in the Mainichi Okan, will also start in the Mile Championship.
Satono Diamond (JPN, H5, by Deep Impact) scored his first win of the season in the Kyoto Daishoten (G2, 2,400m) on October 8 after struggling for over a year after an unsuccessful Arc challenge. After a three and a half month break following a sixth-place finish in the Takarazuka Kinen, the son of Deep Impact (JPN, by Sunday Silence) raced mid-pack in a field of 11, showed impressive effort after taking the front with more than a furlong to go and then held off the late chargers for a 1/2-length victory. 2017 Japan Cup (G1, 2,400m) victor Cheval Grand (JPN, H6, by Heart’s Cry), who was rated just in front of the eventual winner, lacked the needed kick and crossed the wire 3-1/4 lengths behind Satono Diamond in fourth. Both horses will start next in the Japan Cup on November 25.
The Fuchu Himba Stakes (G2, 1,800m) on October 13 was won by 2017 Shuka Sho (G1, 2,000m) winner Deirdre (JPN, F4, by Harbinger), who timed the fastest over the last three furlongs for a neck victory. Lys Gracieux (JPN, F4, by Heart’s Cry), a four-time runner-up at G1 level, had assumed command 100 meters out from racing behind early but finished second. Deirdre is expected to head for the Hong Kong Cup (G1, 2,000m) on December 9. Lys Gracieux (JPN, F4, by Heart’s Cry) will be aiming for her first G1 title in the Queen Elizabeth II Cup (G1, 2,200m) on November 11 and will face Mozu Katchan (JPN, F4, by Harbinger), who will attempt to defend her Queen Elizabeth II Cup title after passing up the Fuchu Himba Stakes due to a minor fever. Jour Polaire (JPN, M5, by Deep Impact), fourth in the Fuchu Himba Stakes but already a G1 winner in this year’s Victoria Mile, will step down to her favorite mile distance in the coming Mile Championship.
Logi Cry (JPN, H5, by Heart’s Cry) turned in a solid performance from chasing the pace in second in the Mile Championship trial, the Fuji Stakes (G3, 1,600m), and appears to be in good form coming off his second grade-race victory before the Mile Championship. Persian Knight (JPN, C4, by Harbinger) raced not far behind the eventual winner, but the 2017 Mile Championship victor met traffic in the early stretch and had to shift to the outside for a delayed attack and crossed the wire in fifth.
Another Mile Championship trial, the Swan Stakes (G2, 1,400m) in which Yasuda Kinen champion Mozu Ascot (USA, C4, by Frankel) will be making his fall debut, is scheduled on October 27.
The major races in the dirt category began with the Mile Championship Nambu Hai (dirt, 1,600m) at NAR’s Morioka Racecourse. The winner was Le Vent Se Leve (JPN, C3, by Symboli Kris S), the first three-year-old to win the dirt title. The Symboli Kris S (USA, by Kris S.) colt won impressively from racing just behind the front runners and sprinting away for a 1-1/2 lengths victory over 2017 Best Dirt Horse Gold Dream (JPN, H5, by Gold Allure). It was his third consecutive win following the Unicorn Stakes (G3, dirt, 1,600m) in June and the Japan Dirt Derby (dirt, 2,000m) in July. He will be targeted towards the Champions Cup (G1, dirt, 1,800m) on December 2, as will defending champion Gold Dream, who has stayed consistent with two wins and two seconds from four dirt starts at the highest level this year. The JRA-G1 dirt championship is also expected to include Omega Perfume (JPN, C3, by Swept Overboard), winner of the Sirius Stakes (G3, dirt, 2,000m) on September 29, and several runners coming off starts in the JBC Classic (dirt, 1,900m) on November 4.
Clincher (JPN, C4, by Deep Sky)
, who was well beaten to 17th in his overseas challenge, the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe (G1, 2,400m) on October 7, will continue training upon his return to Japan for the Arima Kinen (G1, 2,500m) on December 23. Chestnut Coat (JPN, C4, by Heart’s Cry)
and Sole Impact (JPN, H6, by Deep Impact)
were beaten to 13th and 14th, respectively, in the Caulfield Cup (G1, 2,400m) held in Australia on October 20. Both horses continue to train towards their main target, the Melbourne Cup (G1, 3,200m), on November 6.