2018 News

October 26, 2018


Tenno Sho (Autumn) (G1) - Comments from runners' connections
Action Star
Action Star

Action Star (horse, 8)

Ryota Kojima, assistant trainer
“We had actually planned on his first start of the autumn being the Sankei Sho All Comers, not the Mainichi Okan. He was ready and, looking at his race before he had time off over the summer, I think he would have held his own amid the competition. And jockey Takuya Ono, who’d ridden him twice in a row, also said that the time off had done him good and more distance would have been better. He’s had it a bit easy since then and things have gone well. The nominations for the Tenno Sho were few so he got his chance. Even with the withdrawal of a top competitor, 2,000 meters may be a bit busy for him and we’re very aware it’ll be a tough race.”

Satsuki Sho (Japanese 2000 Guineas) (G1)
Al Ain

Al Ain (colt, 4)

Yasutoshi Ikee, trainer
“He lost the Sankei Sho All Comers but I’d say it was a perfect race to start his fall campaign with. It was 2,200 meters and I think it was a furlong too long but the winner was strong. When this horse trained in Hong Kong in the spring he showed his difficult side so since then I haven’t been working him on the flat but only on the hill course or in the pool. Mentally, he hasn’t changed much but I think he has filled out nicely since the start of the autumn. On Oct. 11, we breezed him and he moved out well. And on Oct. 18, I had the rider push him hard and his responses were good. I think he has definitely improved from his last start. Actually, he looks to be best over a tighter course with a short stretch, but I think he’ll do fine over the Tokyo 2,000.

Sports Nippon Sho Kyoto Kimpai (G3)
Black Moon

Black Moon (horse, 6)

Katsuichi Nishiura, trainer
“He had ‘sasabari’ treatment over the summer to refresh him. Since coming back to the training center, things have gone well. Last week, he worked with two other horses on the flat woodchip course. I put two 2-year-olds in front and had him catch them. He wasn’t able pass the horses in front but he ran well and had a very good workout. He never does well in work so I don’t consider it a problem that he didn’t pass them. He had a good workout for it being one week out and this week, I just fine-tuned him. I am a bit concerned about the distance, but he likes to move up slowly and go in for a strong finish. I’d like him to relax under way and go all out in the end.”

American Jockey Club Cup (G2)

Danburite (colt, 4)

Hidetaka Otonashi, trainer
“Last out in the Sankei Sho All Comers he was unruly in the gate, stumbled coming out and wasn’t able to get the position I had wanted him to. Still, his position wasn’t all that bad but when he went to make his move he was kept waiting on the inside and dropped back. He has good stamina and can race well over long distances. In the finish he did gain ground up the inside but I felt he wasn’t going all out. After that we gave him some time off and then brought him back to the training center with this race as our target. He worked in tandem on Oct. 18 and we pushed him pretty hard. I think he’ll be just right with one more workout this week. If another horse wants to lead, we’ll let him. But if he breaks well and no one else seems to want to go, he can take the lead. He’s not a type who goes all out once into the stretch, but he can run at a good speed at length.”

Kikuka Sho (G1)

Kiseki (colt, 4)

Yasuyuki Tsujino, assistant trainer
“He’s a difficult colt to settle and he dashed from the gate in the Mainichi Okan. Racing from where he did in that race in second position was a good lesson for him. He had time off in the summer to refresh and recuperate and I think it greatly allowed him to reset both mentally and physically. He was up 10 kg for his last start and I did feel he was a bit heavy. He doesn’t look to have had any problems after that and I think this time he’ll go into the race improved. He has had regular work and he’s been on his toes. I don’t think the extra furlong this time is to his disadvantage. And it won’t be a full gate either, which makes it easier for him. I think the last race set him up well for this one and I’m looking forward to it.”

Tokyo Yushun (Japanese Derby) (G1)

Makahiki (horse, 5)

Yutaka Take, jockey
“I hadn’t thought I would have the opportunity to ride him but I had been watching him a lot and always wishing to ride. As expected from a Derby champion, he felt very good when I rode work last week (Oct. 18). I’d heard from the stable staff that he was in very good shape and I thought so too. He was even more powerful than I had thought he would be. I had imagined he would feel a little sharper. He is sharp but he has a more powerful feeling. I had heard from Christophe Lemaire that Makahiki doesn’t have any special quirks and I didn’t find any. He’s relatively easy to ride. He hasn’t raced over the Tokyo 2,000 before, but I think it’ll suit him. Up to now I think he has run the first half of his races at his own pace, but I haven’t thought how I’ll ride the race. The lineup is strong and it’s difficult to imagine who will lead and who will race in second position, so I’ll be giving it a lot of thought. Of course, the main decision-making comes after the gate opens. I’ve been third in all three G1s this fall. Lemaire’s been first. I’m hoping to change that. This is the last Tenno Sho (Autumn) of the Heisei Era and, naturally, I want to win it. I won the first (Super Creek in 1989) and I’d like to win the last.”

Mikki Rocket
Mikki Rocket

Mikki Rocket (horse, 5)

Ryuji Wada, jockey
“Originally, the plan was to race him in the Kyoto Daishoten as his first race in the autumn but he wasn’t quite recovered from the Takarazuka Kinen so he didn’t return to the training center until it was quite cool. He looked better than expected, different from the spring. And being that his sire is King Kamehameha, I thought he would only really mature about now. He is much more composed now, as an older horse should be. He is coming straight off a layoff and it will be interesting to see how well he can do. He improved sharply since his workout on Oct. 18. We have the trip to the track this time so we didn’t clock him, but he is moving well and I think he is at his best. This week, I rode him just hard enough not to overdo it and he felt very good. I felt that the more you ask him for, the more he can give you. He is utilizing his power much more efficiently now and feels more mature. I had looked forward to racing to the left last year, but the track was bad and the race a wash. I actually don’t think the counterclockwise track is a plus for him and to win at Tokyo I think you need to have a sharp kick. But a strong kick isn’t going to be enough. It will be better for him if the pace is strong and it’s a tough race overall.”

Rey de Oro
Rey de Oro

Rey de Oro (colt, 4)

Christophe Lemaire, jockey
“This Wednesday he had his usual workout. He was relaxed from the start, ran very smoothly and changed leads well. Last week, there had been a bit of concern and we watched his legs closely this week to see how his balance was, but there were no problems. He had been a little heavy going in to the Sankei Sho All Comers, but he looks perfect now. In the All Comers his response was a little slow going coming out of the backstretch and into the straight, but he raced very well over the last furlong. And since then I think he has gained power. He had been difficult to settle in Dubai, but last out he was easy to ride. And in this week’s workout he worked very well in hand and looked easy to ride. He was quiet both before and after the workout. I think the Fuchu 2,000 meters is perfect for him and the long stretch is good for him. He always needs a bit of time to get his engine revved after coming into the stretch. His final kick is fantastic and he has the stamina. He is never fast out of the gate and we tend to get a position further back. If he breaks well, I would like to get a more forward position, such as we had in the Derby. I’d like a good strong pace too.”

Sakura Empereur
Sakura Empereur

Sakura Empereur (horse, 7)

Takashi Kanari, trainer
“He went into the Sapporo Kinen in better shape than he had last year but I think the difference came from an earlier move this year. He can race from any position, but the pace was fast and I can’t very well tell the jockey to urge him on only after letting him have a bit of breather. It was unfortunate, but that’s racing. This year he seems to be enjoying racing more. And the best thing about that is that we can give him short breaks without worry. He has a routine of going to the farm and then returning to Miho and his condition stays the same. The competition will be greater this time, but he’s young and fresh and he has finished second at Tokyo before, so I think he has a chance.”


Staphanos (horse, 7)

Nobuyuki Tashiro, assistant trainer
“The jockey urged him forward from the gate in the Mainichi Okan and he traveled from a good position. It was a good race considering he was returning from time off. He put in a solid effort until the end and it was clear that he is still on his game both mentally and physically. He came out of that race well and was soon back in work. There are only two full weeks between races so last week we just breezed him. And I think with one more workout this week he’ll be ready. He’s not a difficult horse to ride so a jockey being up for the first time is OK. He has always done well with a sharpener. His results last year here can be thrown out to the poor condition of the track, but the year before he finished third and the year before that he finished second, so the race does suit him.”

Suave Richard
Suave Richard

Suave Richard (colt, 4)

Mirco Demuro, jockey
“He was really good in the Osaka Hai. He was calm and his timing was spot on. He quickened very well. He did try his best in the Yasuda Kinen but wasn’t able to get good results. He broke really well but just wasn’t able to move out accordingly. The heat may have been a factor. I’ve ridden him three times since he returned to the training center and we’ve had gate practice too. He had a good strong workout last week. All is well. No major changes. This week, the trainer felt he didn’t need such a hard workout so we just breezed him. He is on his game. It has been difficult finding his best distance. His start is excellent and so I had wanted to race him in a mile race rather than the Takarazuka Kinen. I’d wanted to try him over the long stretch at Tokyo in a mile but the mile was a bit too busy for him, so the Tokyo 2,000 looks to be his best. This horse is powerful. He has talent. But as he gets older he is getting all the more clever and that makes things difficult. He’s a really good horse though and I’m hoping for a smooth run. He can do it all. He has a great kick and he can pick up the pace bit by bit too. He can race from behind. He has a great number of options. He’s quite a horse.

Sapporo Kinen (G2)

Sungrazer (colt, 4)

Keiichi Asami, assistant trainer
“When he was younger he had a difficult temperament but now that he’s a bit older he has settled down considerably and in his last race he was able to wait patiently and respond very well when urged on. With that race we learned that if he has patience he can handle 2,000 meters. He got back to the training center a few weeks ago as is the usual routine for him. On Oct. 15, he worked in tandem but wasn’t able to catch the horse ahead, who was moving quite well. But all has gone as usual. I think he’ll be able to handle the 2,000 meters this time, but unlike the tighter turns of Sapporo, at Tokyo he’ll need speed in addition to stamina. In order to compete with some of the best he’s also going to most likely need to hold back and keep something in reserve for he finish. But he did outrun a G1 horse last out and if he can use what he learned in that race this time, he has a chance.”


Vivlos (mare, 5)

Yasuo Tomomichi, trainer
“The track condition in the Takarazuka Kinen wasn’t that good and I think that made a difference and, looking at the results, I’d have to say that made 2,200 meters is a bit long for her. Her sister Verxina looked like she could handle the distance, but the Grade 1s she won were over a mile. Vivlos spent time at the farm after the last race and I had planned all along to start back from this race. Yuichi Fukunaga rode work on Oct. 18. It was a good workout and she moved well. Regardless of the numbers, she looks bigger and she seems to have matured. She has done better racing to the left and I think both the course and the distance will suit her. She’s up against male horses but I’m looking forward to it.”


Sources: Keiba Book, Netkeiba

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