2019 News

June 21, 2019


Takarazuka Kinen (G1) - Comments from runners' connections
Osaka Hai (G1)
Al Ain

Al Ain (horse, 5)

Yasutoshi Ikee, trainer
“This week on Wednesday he worked up the hill alone but last week and the week before he worked with others and had good, solid workouts. Last out, we figured the inside would open up and our strategy worked out well. He was in really good shape and everything worked in his favor. He’s in the same shape as he was then, perhaps even better. He’s had three wins from his four starts at Hanshin and the course suits him. It will depend on the draw, of course, but I’d like him to get a good position and keep close to the top horses in front of him. I’d rather he didn’t draw too far inside. He’s much bigger, with more breadth and muscle than before, so I think he’d be able to handle a slower track, like it actually was in the Osaka Hai. I think the blinkers did help him last time, but his condition and the way the race unfolded did too.”

Kyoto Kinen (G2)

Clincher (horse, 5)

Hiroshi Miyamoto, trainer
“He’d had a good prep with the Nikkei Sho, so I had my hopes up for the Tenno Sho (Spring). But, he couldn’t get a clear run. With this race as our target, he’s been working at Ritto and things have gone well. (Jockey) Kosei Miura rode him on June 12 on the flat at distance, and his time and movement were good. He looks the same as he did for his last start and it looks like he’ll be ready. I don’t know how he’ll do in hot weather because I haven’t raced him in the summer, but I don’t think it will be a problem. If the ground is a bit soft, that will be a plus. I’d like him to race a bit more aggressively.”


Etario (colt, 4)

Yasuo Tomomichi, trainer
“He went all out in the Tenno Sho (Spring) and was showing signs of fatigue but he came back to the training center without any problems. On June 13 he worked on the flat and clocked 83.7-11.7 seconds. His responses and movement were good. It was a good, solid workout. He can handle 3,000 meters but his best range is 2,200-2,400 meters.”

Yusuke Oe, assistant trainer
“He’s primarily raced at distances over 2,000 meters, but he has a lot of racing experience, so I think he can handle this fine. When he was younger, he was still mentally immature and wasn’t good on the bit. But after the Derby and over the summer he matured a lot and his racing has been more consistent. The competition was a lot tougher too. It’s just a matter of time before things come together for him, so I have my hopes up.”


Kiseki (horse, 5)

Yasuyuki Tsujino, assistant trainer
“Last week he had a solid workout on the woodchip course so on Wednesday we just gave him a breeze to see how he felt. And he was fantastic. He’s had less time off than he did before the Osaka Hai and I think he was easier to get ready this time. After that race, he didn’t seem the worse for wear, so we decided right away that the Takarazuka Kinen would be his next race. He returned to the training center about a month ago. He found his balance mentally and physically from last summer and, since then, he’s been much more stable and that has been reflected in his races. I had been surprised when he changed racing style in the Mainichi Okan but I think it turned out to be the best way to bring out his best. He’s stable and looking stronger but what’s missing are the wins. I really want him to win this time.”

Queen Elizabeth II Cup (G1)
Lys Gracieux

Lys Gracieux (mare, 5)

Yusaku Oka, assistant trainer
“She returned to the training center on June 4 and there were no signs of any problems. She was in good shape. Last week she worked with another horse on the hill course and clocked 51-some seconds. Her responses were good over the final furlong. It was a good, hard workout. She’s eating well and looks good. She gets better with each workout and she’s surely much improved. (Jockey) Damian Lane rode this week to get a good feel for her. She does get excitable during the trip to the track, so it’s good that the distance to the track is short this time. She’s raced in all sorts of conditions and the Hanshin 2,200m is good for her, so I’m looking forward to it.”

Tokyo Yushun (Japanese Derby) (G1)

Makahiki (horse, 6)

Yasuo Tomomichi, trainer
“He really showed some good footwork in the final stage of the Osaka Hai and, considering the pace, I think he gave it his all. He hasn’t left the training center since after the Tenno Sho (Autumn) last year. He’s very laidback but does better if I keep him close by. His workout up the hill was good last week and I can race him with confidence now. Hanshin has tight turns and he showed he can handle a slower track with his performance at Sapporo. There shouldn’t be any problems with the Hanshin 2,200m. If the ground is soft, that will actually be good for him.”

Yusuke Oe, assistant trainer
“The most important thing is that he’s in good shape and that’s why he’s gotten good times. Compared to his younger years and also with the fracture, he’s a different horse now. It’s hard to measure him with the same measure as then. There’s no doubt he’s in the best shape he’s been since the fracture.”

Noble Mars
Noble Mars

Noble Mars (horse, 6)

Hiroshi Miyamoto, trainer
“He was in good shape for the Metropolitan Stakes on May 4, so it’s a shame it was cancelled. He went to the Naruo Kinen but couldn’t gain enough ground in the finish. But considering that it was his first race in some time, it wasn’t a bad race. Now, there’s been little time between races so I worked him at a 15-15 pace on the weekend and gave him a solid workout Wednesday. He does improve with a race behind him and does well in the warmer weather. I think you could say that 2,200 meters is his best. If he can run his own race, he’ll do well in the final stage. A track that’s a bit soft wouldn’t be a problem.”

Tenno Sho (Autumn) (G1)
Rey de Oro

Rey de Oro (horse, 5)

Christophe Lemaire, jockey
“His fast work this week was really good. He was relaxed throughout and things went smoothly. I think he’s in great shape. He has more power than he did last week and was a bit faster, with really great response in the stretch. There’s no problem with his work. He still has a lot in the engine. He’s more mature than he was for his last G1 win. Before and after work, he’s relaxed and he’s relaxed on race days. I think this time I’d like to race more from the back. He was too excitable in Dubai and doesn’t seem to like night races. He was keen under way in spots and was flagging at the end. He’s always relaxed in Japan, so I’m confident. The pace will be important over 2,200 meters. It’s a smaller track and the stretch is pretty short. With a slow pace, racing from a rear position will make things harder. This year, Kiseki is in the lineup, so I think there’ll be a good pace. Then he can use his late speed. He has stamina. I don’t think he’d like a heavy track.”

Shonan Bach
Shonan Bach

Shonan Bach (horse, 8)

Hiroyuki Uehara, trainer
“The pace was slow in the Epsom Cup and he did well to hold back. But the front horses held their ground. He gained ground well though and he and (jockey) Yutaka Yoshida worked well together. The turf was slightly yielding but with the grass in good shape, he had good traction. I watched him closely until June 14 and, considering his results in his last two starts, I decided he was good shape, could take on the tight schedule and I gave the go-ahead to come here. He’s 8 years old but he’s full of energy. He has to race from behind but the small field will be a plus. The jockey knows him well and this horse can clock 33-some seconds over the final 3 furlongs racing to the right.”

Kokura Daishoten (G3)

Stiffelio (horse, 5)

Hidetaka Otonashi, trainer
“The Osaka Hai was run at a slow pace that saw those on the inside holding their ground to the finish. I would have liked to see this horse make his move earlier so he could show his tenacity, but it was a Grade 1 race and the competition was tough. I gave him some time off and aimed him here. Two weeks out, he clocked 52.3 seconds with a final furlong of 12 seconds something, which shows he’s looking good. Last week he got a solid workout with another horse and this week the jockey rode. He should be up to peak. The distance is a bit of a concern, but I think he can do well racing from a forward position. It won’t be easy coming off a layoff and going directly into a Grade 1, but we’ve done all we can.”

Osaka Hai (G1)
Suave Richard

Suave Richard (horse, 5)

Yasushi Shono, trainer
“He’d raced in the Nakayama Kinen, so he didn’t need much work in Dubai. There were other Japanese horses there, so the change in surroundings didn’t bother him. He was calm. The margin between him and the winner directly reflected their racing positions. He showed he was competitive enough. His movement is as usual, and he looks good all around. I feel he’s matured somewhat since racing overseas. He’s suited to Hanshin and the conditions are good.”

Mirco Demuro, jockey
“This horse is hard to judge from his track work. Last year’s results in the Tenno Sho (Autumn) weren’t good at all, but he had felt very good in track work. This week he felt really good too. He’s changed since running overseas. He’s matured. Before, he’d get upset easily but this time he was calm. He’s gained confidence and he understands his work. He used to be bad in the gate and his timing would be off. This time the draw is important and things will depend on the pace. He won the Osaka Hai last year and the course is almost the same. The draw is important for the Osaka Hai and the Takarazuka Kinen. If you’re on the far outside, the first turn comes up fast and you’re likely to get caught out. It won’t be very good if there’s heavy rain but a bit of rain is no problem.”

Niigata Kinen (G3)
Tatsu Gogeki

Tatsu Gogeki (horse, 7)

Ippo Sameshima, trainer
“He didn’t have the strongest constitution and after his run in last year’s Takarazuka Kinen, he developed tendonitis. He’s spent over a year recuperating and after that I’ve brought him up to form with pool work and work on the hill course. He was getting enough work at the farm so as not to lose too much muscle and because of that, I was able to take a time sooner than I thought. His movement isn’t bad and his breathing is good. He weighed in at 500kg last week and doesn’t look heavy, so I think he’s in about the same shape he was before the layoff. Taking on a Grade 1 race after so much time off won’t be easy, but he’s in good shape.”


Sources: Keiba Book, Netkeiba, Keiba Lab, Radio Nikkei

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