2019 News

May 31, 2019


Yasuda Kinen (G1) - Comments from runners' connections
Mainichi Okan (G2)

Aerolithe (mare, 5)

Takanori Kikuzawa, trainer
“For her last start she was back from her trip to the U.S., but she was in good shape and she was able to show her speed. She finished fifth but I think she did well. For about a week after that she was tired but we got her over that. She had the same rotation for this race last year but there’s a little less time between races this year. From last week, I’ve upped the pace gradually and this week I rode her final work on the woodchip flat. She was relaxed and my focus was less on the time than on getting her into a nice rhythm in the first half and picking things up later. Her movement was better than I’d expected so I’m satisfied. She’s lighter all around and has sharpened up. She’s a bit stronger than she was last year, so I’m looking forward to seeing how she’ll do this year. There are other horses that will want to lead so we’ll just have to see how it goes. She doesn’t have to lead. The most important thing is that she’s able to run her own race.”

Japan Cup in association with LONGINES (International Invitational) (G1)
Almond Eye

Almond Eye (filly, 4)

Christophe Lemaire, jockey
“Her workout last week sharpened her up and this week’s fast work was in a group of three and she picked up speed nicely in the stretch. I’d say she’s in top condition. Her footwork is a bit better than it was in the Japan Cup and she moves out smoothly, so her acceleration is better. She has matured and I’d say she’s pretty near perfect and I’m confident she can win. This being her first mile since the Oka Sho (Japanese 1000 Guineas) is no problem at all, not with the speed she showed over 1,800 meters in Dubai. She was sharp in the stretch, reached the front easily and won pretty easily. I think the Tokyo 1,600 is perfect for her. The lineup is strong but I think she’s the best. She really showed her talent in the Japan Cup and in Dubai. I’m not worried at all. She can run from any position, front, back, no problem. That makes it easy for me. Of course it depends on the start. If she starts well and keeps her cool, I think she’ll really be able to show some great racing in the finish.”

Yomiuri Milers Cup (G2)
Danon Premium

Danon Premium (colt, 4)

Mitsumasa Nakauchida, trainer
“The Yomiuri Miler’s Cup pretty much came down to who had the best late kick and he was able to be patient and then quicken in the finish to win. One or two turns is the same for him but this time it’s one turn and I raced him last with that in mind. I think he’ll handle it well. Last year it was the spring of his 3-year-old year so he was still maturing and still young both physically and mentally and he showed it. This year he’s more grown up. For the Kinko Sho two races ago, he’d had a full five weeks in between races and it’s the same between this race and the Miler’s Cup. I’ve been very careful to get him here in good shape. I had the jockey ride last week because I wanted to push the horse fairly hard and I think he looked good. This week, because he’s had two races now, I just breezed him for fine-tuning. He was relaxed and his gait was good. He’s had a lot of races with few runners in them we’ll just have to see how he does this time. He has good racing sense and I think he can give his best no matter what the conditions.”


Entscheiden (colt, 4)

Yoshito Yahagi, trainer
“As for his performance in the Keio Hai Spring Cup, he’d had a good ground-saving trip but he’d been slow out of the gate. And then there was the super-fast track. That’s the sum of it (11th-place finish). He always gets sore in his hindquarters easily but this time things were a whole lot better, which shows he’s gotten stronger. He has matured and become an adult. He’s been able to consistently run well from about last autumn, but he’s slow to get his engine revved so I figured the mile would be easier for him. He can cover the final 3 furlongs in 32-some seconds, so I’m looking forward to the Tokyo mile.”

Lord Derby Challenge Trophy (G3)
Fiano Romano

Fiano Romano (horse, 5)

Tomokazu Takano, trainer
“I’ve been careful to give him sufficient time between races and recently his back and hindquarters haven’t gotten as sore as they used to. He was in good condition for his last start, the Lord Derby Challenge Trophy, and he made his move on his own so I’d say it was a strong race. And the runner-up went on to do well in the Victoria Mile. I think he deserves some good marks for that. He had some time off at the farm and since returning has been training with this race as our target. The jockey rode track work on May 22 and it was a good solid workout. If he’s able to handle that kind of workout then he can handle the heat we’re having now. Finally, we’ve made it to a Grade 1. This being the Tokyo 1,600 and with this strong lineup, we’ll just have to see how well he can do if he gives it his all and draws on all his ability. I’m looking forward to it.”


Guanciale (horse, 7)

Mitsuo Murata, assistant trainer
“Even though he had done well in the open class, he hadn’t been able to do well at the graded-stakes level. Last race, though, despite the strong field, he finally did well. Admittedly, the conditions were really good for him but he definitely has improved even though he’s 7 years old now. His heart and lungs have improved and even with a fast time in track work, he recovers his breathing easily. He isn’t difficult anymore and he’s able to keep something in reserve when racing. He’s not stiff either. He has maintained his condition and he can relax. He’s at his peak now and, if the jockey can keep him in a good position halfway down the stretch, he’ll won’t be that far off the others.”

Tokyo Shimbun Hai (G3)
Indy Champ

Indy Champ (colt, 4)

Hidetaka Otonashi, trainer
“In his last start, he broke well and got a good position but he had clamped down on the bit because of the slow pace. But he moved early and couldn’t hold on to second place. He has good late speed but the trip was tough for him in places and being plus-10kg, he did have extra weight on him. The weight fluctuation is no good, so I gave him a good hard workout last week. With the trip to the track, I think he’ll be lean enough this time. The competition is strong but he won the Tokyo Shimbun Hai. If the pace is stronger than usual, I think he’ll have a chance.”

NHK Mile Cup (G1)
Keiai Nautique

Keiai Nautique (colt, 4)

Osamu Hirata, trainer
“I thought he would race from a more forward position in the Yomiuri Miler’s Cup but he didn’t and raced from pretty far back. But he covered the last 3 furlongs in 32.1 seconds. Even though he ran well he still only finished sixth. The race just didn’t fold to his liking. He hasn’t been lucky with either the distance or the trip in recent starts but he has improved with each race. He was in good shape last race, just like he was for the Negishi Stakes. As usual, we gave him time off and he returned to the training center on May 22. He’s got a great training partner now and he’s lean and well-muscled and there’s no lack anywhere. I breezed him up the hill this week and that should do it. He won a Grade 1 at Tokyo last spring and though the field is strong, he should be on a par with the other 4-year-olds.”

Fuji Stakes (G3)
Logi Cry

Logi Cry (horse, 6)

Naosuke Sugai, trainer
“In the Keio Hai Spring Cup, he traveled smoothly but when it was time to make his move in the stretch he wasn’t able to and that hurt. He did gain some ground and close the margin just before the finish line. He’s a tough horse and he was just fine after the race. He also works hard in track work but last week the jockey rode him and said he’d gotten a bit sly, so that may have explained what happened last race, but it’s good the jockey has a handle on that. As usual, the horse is in good condition. He has had good results in the Tokyo mile, like with his strong win of the Fuji Stakes, so I think the conditions suit him. The competition will be strong but he’s been coming along nicely and is in good shape.”

Mainichi Broadcast. Swan Stakes (G2)
Lord Quest

Lord Quest (horse, 6)

Mitsuo Tsuchiaki, assistant trainer
“He was running well in the Keio Hai Spring Cup and still had something in the tank when he got sandwiched by the other horses. But jockey Mirco Demuro said he was in good shape and he thought he’d have won if he’d had a smooth trip. Luckily, there was no damage and things have gone well since. He’d had a short layoff before that race, so I thought he should show improvement and he has. He’s lighter on his feet. He’s steadily improving. He’s in good shape but it’s a strong field. He’ll just have to do what he can.”

Yasuda Kinen (G1)
Mozu Ascot

Mozu Ascot (horse, 5)

Yoshito Yahagi, trainer
“The track was heavy on Wednesday, but his time was fantastic. We were working on keeping him focused to the end and he has gotten a lot better. The competition is strong but we’ve done what we had to. If he doesn’t run well here, it couldn’t be helped.”

Shigeki Miyauchi, assistant trainer
“For the Yomiuri Miler’s Cup, his weight was back up and he had recovered from his last run, but after coming back to the training center he was too excitable, not like before. Perhaps it was because he’d had time off and was coming back after that. We passed on the Keio Hai Spring Cup because he’d had phlegmon and we needed to take it easy. So he had a good rest and lost his stiffness and his breathing has improved. Last week and this week he had a hard workout up the hill under the jockey and he’s improving gradually. He’s easily startled by noises so we tried him in a head cover on May 22 and he calmed down significantly. On Sunday, we plan to keep it on him until just before the gate.”

Mile Championship (G1)
Persian Knight

Persian Knight (horse, 5)

Mirco Demuro, jockey
“The Osaka Hai was an awful race. He wasn’t lucky. The track didn’t suit him and the slow pace down the backstretch didn’t suit him. I don’t like a race that all comes down to the late speed so I made my move early. And, the ground was too soft. He’d been in good shape though. In work this week he was his usual self and with the trip to the track, I just had him quicken a bit in the final stage. He’s gotten a lot better and compared to last time his hindquarters are much better, more muscled. He’s matured and is better than he was for the Mile Championship. I do think the mile is a bit short for him, but the Tokyo mile and the Kyoto outer course mile are good. And having only one turn is good. A smooth trip is the most important and he didn’t have that in the Mile Championship. Things got tight and he was worried about the rail. This time the firm ground will be good and the fast track is no problem at all.”

Sakura Empereur
Sakura Empereur

Sakura Empereur (horse, 8)

Takashi Kanari, trainer
“The Nikkei Sho favored those on the pace and it may look like if he ran the race again the finishing order could be different. But I don’t think he could have done much better over 2,500 meters. It’s a big difference in distance this time but he did run a close race in the 1,800-meter Nakayama Kinen and I don’t think it’s too big a stretch to go from 1,800 to 1,600, so I always considered this an option. He stayed at the training center as usual and his breathing has improved with each bit of work and so has his overall condition. The field is strong but he has stayed in good shape and I’m looking forward to something different from the mile.”

Hankyu Hai (G3)
Smart Odin

Smart Odin (horse, 6)

Yasutoshi Ikee, trainer
“In the Keio Hai Spring Cup, the jockey said he was better in hand that expected. As it turned out those running on the pace held their ground, but this one nonetheless covered the final 3 furlongs in 32.6 seconds. And when you consider that the race was meant as a prep, I think he was in just the right place and that that will carry over well to the main event. His feet and legs are good now and I think he has improved. With only two full weeks between races, there’s no need to do too much, so on the weekend we rode him up the hill course at this own pace. This week he worked with another horse on the hill and that should be enough. Having him be in tune with the jockey was the focus last race and, seeing how well he did, I think he could run a bit closer to the pace. He has speed for 32-some seconds over the final 3 furlongs and if he moves up gradually from a position just back of midfield, I think things will go well.”

Mile Championship (G1)

Stelvio (colt, 4)

Tetsuya Kimura, trainer
“I’d rather not even think about the Osaka Hai. And, yes, I think his drop in weight meant he was unable to give his best. He spent time at the farm, was able to recover well and came back to the training center three weeks ago. There’s been no trouble and he’s healthy and all has gone smoothly. The jockey rode this week and everything looked good. In any case, I don’t think I’ll be crying after this race. We’ve done what we could but the lineup is very strong. I have a lot of respect for Almond Eye, but there are a lot of other great horses too. I want this horse to get a smooth run and the jockey to get into a nice rhythm with him. That’s the first thing.”

Sapporo Kinen (G2)

Sungrazer (horse, 5)

Keiichi Asami, assistant trainer
“After the Osaka Hai, he got time off and came back to Ritto Training Center two, three weeks ago. This seems to be the best routine for him and he’s coming along well. The spring has seen him mature and fill out nicely, and he’s easier to train up than he was last year. He has gotten a little sly but he hasn’t shown that much this time and he’s healthy and full of energy. Up to now he tends to get too excited and he does lose weight on the trip to the track. I think his weight will be down more than it was for his last race and we’re being careful and watching that. He was able to win the Yomiuri Miler’s Cup last year in record time so I think he’ll be able to handle the fast Tokyo track now. It’ll be the jockey’s first time up and I’m hoping he’ll be able to have this horse well in hand.”


Sources: Keiba Book, Netkeiba

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