2015 News

March 27, 2015


2015 Takamatsunomiya Kinen (G1) - comments from Japanese runners' connections
Afford (horse, 7)

Yoshihito Kitade, trainer
“He was in good condition for his last race, but the pace was too slow. The first 3 furlongs were covered in 34 seconds and that just didn’t suit him. This time will be the first time in a long time with only this much time between races so last week we didn’t push him much. He was in good shape for his last race but that sharpener has brought out his muscling even more. At his age, he doesn’t get nervous or excited and we’ve been able to train him according to plan. We’ve been able to maintain his condition between races. He hasn’t gotten results when we’ve taken him to the track on the day of the race but I’d say that was more due to him not getting the kind of trip he wanted. During transport now he’s not agitated like he used to be. I think he’ll be able to keep up just fine and if it’s the kind of race that favors those running off the pace, then he’ll be able to show us some good work. I hope he can get the trip he likes.”

Silk Road Stakes (G3)
Am Ball Bleiben
Am Ball Bleiben (mare, 6)

Nobuharu Fukushima, trainer
“Last out in the Silk Road Stakes she lost the lead at points but she wasn’t overtaken on the outside and that is the kind of race she likes. She’s been raced regularly but her condition has stabilized now. And, now that she’s older she has settled down and doesn’t get as agitated as she used to and she’s also more robust. We brought her back into training with this race as our target. Last week she worked up the hill course in the 49-second range. She can work like that so I have no complaints. And she’s not keen so getting her ready is easy, which is a strong point. This week work in the 53-second range will be fine. She hasn’t raced to the left since January 2014. That is a matter of concern but we’ll take it on and let her run her race. I hope she’ll be able to access her speed.”

Takamatsunomiya Kinen (G1)
Copano Richard
Copano Richard (horse, 5)

Toru Miya, trainer
“His workout this week went well. Last week, we’d worked him in tandem and pushed him quite hard, so this week we just focused on picking things up over the last furlong and leaving something left at the finish. It went as planned. We won here coming off a win last year, but this year we lost the prep. Still, I feel he’s on the up and up. Usually Chukyo (Racecourse) is not in the best of shape at this time of year, but I’ll leave things up to the jockey’s judgment on raceday. Last year he raced from third position and I think he’ll be around there this year too.”

Masanori Masui, assistant trainer
“In the Hankyu Hai, even though the going was bad, which he is good at, the first 1,000 meters of the 1,400 was run in the 58-second range, which is a bit fast. So, in the end, he just didn’t have quite enough. He looked fine after that race and was in a good mood. I’d say he’s maintained the condition he was in for his last race. In fast work on the Mar. 18, he worked with a horse lower in class than himself. He chased the other, passed him easily and showed nice responses in the finish. He can get good times if he puts his mind to his work. If you think of how bad the track was, I’d say his time was pretty good. He doesn’t have to lead, but since he’s not that good at holding back and keeping something in reserve, I think going from a forward position would be ideal. Since it’s a 1,200-meter race, I’m not concerned about him settling. I think we can get some better results this time.”

Hankyu Hai (G3)
Daiwa Maggiore
Daiwa Maggiore (horse, 6)

Yoshito Yahagi, trainer
“He was in even better shape for the Hankyu Hai than for the Hanshin Cup and even though I’d wanted a fast track, the going was sloppy that day. I’d wondered how he’d do but in the end he made it. The weight he was carrying was a plus as the G1 winners had to shoulder 58 kg and he only carried 56 kg. He pulled up well and has gotten regular work after that. He’s looking perky and in a good mood. We worked him solo on Mar. 18, just breezing him and his movement looked good. In fast work this week, the focus was on picking up speed gradually and the jockey pushed him hard. Compared to last race, where he’d had quite a bit of time between races, he did very well, so I can’t say if he’s going to show all that much improvement from that. It’s difficult to tell just how ready he is. He doesn’t change much. I would say, however, that mentally he’s much more relaxed now. It’s his first time over 1,200 meters. Rather than being apprehensive, I’m thinking it will provide new opportunities. I do wonder how he’ll do up against horse that specialize at the distance. I think if he is able to get a good trip I wouldn’t be surprised if he shows a powerful late drive. The Chukyo track is difficult in a sense. But I think it’s a track that will bring out his best. It’s not just about speed but I do hope there is a fast pace. I won’t be giving Demuro any instructions. He knows the horse.”

Hakusan Moon
Hakusan Moon
Hakusan Moon (horse, 6)

Masato Nishizono, trainer
“In the (Yukan Fuji Sho) Ocean Stakes he took the lead nicely and showed us some characteristic form for the first time in a long time. He was overtaken in the end but it made me realize that if the ground is fast, he can get good results. Last week we trained him on the hill course as usual and he clocked 12.2 seconds over the last furlong just before the track was closed. There wasn’t much time between races so he didn’t need a hard workout last week. This week his fast work was on Thursday. His final fast work before the Ocean Stakes was on Wednesday, with only a bit of exercise on Thursday and then we transported him on Friday. That was always the easiest way. But this time, we decided to allow less time in between his last workout and the race. He’s totally different from what he was this time last year. He’s more filled out and he can give us a second furlong in 9 seconds something. Above all, I want him to be able to run his race. Last year, the ground was bad in both this race and the Sprinters Stakes. His best is over fast ground and he’ll then have ample chance. I hope he’ll do his best.”

Little Gerda
Little Gerda
Little Gerda (mare, 6)

Ippo Sameshima, trainer
“She traveled well in the Ocean Stakes but was boxed in in the stretch and couldn’t make a move easily. And because the pace was slow she had a hold of the bit in places. It was her first race after a layoff and considering that she may not have been up to peak yet, I’d say it was a good race. She was a bit fatigued from that race but got over it quickly. Last week, she clocked 55.2 seconds up the hill course. We didn’t push her that hard and it was the kind of time we’d expected. She’s had pool training too and has gotten stronger. She wasn’t in top shape for last race, but the sharpener will have done her good. She will surely have improved. I’m not as worried as I used to be about her being stiff and just needed to get her a bit leaner. Even though she’s 6, she hasn’t had that many races. She surely has a chance.”

Majin Prosper
Majin Prosper
Majin Prosper (horse, 8)

Hidemasa Nakao, trainer
“In the Hankyu Hai, he went to the front early in his style of racing and even though he was overtaken in the stretch, he didn’t flounder. I think he looked good in places. He was a bit heavy and the race will have sharpened him up. After that race, all has gone well and he’s been almost too full of energy. On Mar. 14, he got a good time and a week ago, his fast work went as planned. Since it’s gotten warmer, he’s getting nice and lean. In fast work this week, he seemed to let up a bit in the end, but his overall time was sufficient. He’s in very good shape. Last year, with the inside draw and the bad track, he couldn’t get a good run and he finished last. That race can be thrown out of the consideration. He’s suited to Chukyo and I want him to try his best. If he can move to the front early on the outside, it’ll be good.”

Mikki Isle
Mikki Isle
Mikki Isle (colt, 4)

Kenichi Shono, assistant trainer
“Even though in the end in the Hankyu Hai he raised his head and lost the race, he had been very patient and still got results. I was worried about the bad going but I’d have to give him good marks for that race. He came out of the race well, considering he’d raced over bad ground. But, since he’s had a race since his layoff, he’s switched on and will be going into this race in a good way. In last week’s fast work, we had him come from behind and overtake the other horse. He has always gotten good times, but he did look good. In the 1,200, the other horses around him will also be fast, so traveling should be easier for him than last race and then he can make a final drive. I’m hoping for a fast track.”

Olivine (horse, 6)

Kojiro Hashiguchi, trainer
“He’s normally good over the Hanshin course and isn’t a horse to be beaten as sorely as he was in the Hankyu Hai. He can handle a track that’s a little slow, but last time it was just too bad and he wasn’t able to run his best. He worked in tandem on Mar. 18 and displayed his usual movement. He’ll be going into the race in good shape, like last time out. He’s gotten good results carrying 58.5 kg before and I think the hill in the Chukyo straight will suit him. I think he’ll be able to keep up with the pace of the 1,200 too. There’s no big standout in the field this time and I’m interested in seeing just how well he can do in a G1.”

Red Oval
Red Oval
Red Oval (mare, 5)

Takayuki Yasuda, trainer
“Like in the Keeneland Cup, the last race was run to the right and she tends to pick up the wrong lead when things are rushed. She then can’t get momentum because she’s concerned about her balance. And, last time out, she had an outside draw and had to cover more ground running on the outside. She wasn’t able to concentrate to the end. She didn’t get results last time but I think it was still a good prep. She was able to acclimatize more quickly to the surroundings at Ritto (Training Center) last time and even with a lot of work, she didn’t go off her feed, so we were able to keep her working well and she was up 12 kg from the race before. She didn’t have to rush last time out and that would indicate that she is stronger both mentally and physically. Running to the left means we don’t have to be as careful as when we run to the right. She didn’t lose muscle from last race so she was able to get a lot of work and I think because of that, we can see some progress.”

Robe Tissage
Robe Tissage
Robe Tissage (mare, 5)

Naosuke Sugai, trainer
“I actually had planned to race her in the Silk Road Stakes but couldn’t because of her gate test, so I put her out for a spell again. But, since coming back to the training center, things have gone according to plan and she was quiet in the gate in the Hankyu Hai. Her start was good and she settled well over 1,400 meters. Even with a bit of misjudgment, she can do well, as she did in that race. After the Hankyu Hai, we put her out for a bit and once back, everything went as always. Last week, I had the jockey ride her up the hill course on Friday to check her responses. Things looked normal and she was nice and calm. This week was just some fine-tuning. She has good acceleration and as can be seen from her graded-stakes wins, she is suited to the distance. The other thing is to see that she doesn’t get stressed until raceday. If she can go into the race calm and relaxed, she has a chance.”

Kenichi Ikezoe, jockey
“She’s in better shape now than she was last time when there was more time between races. The only concern is that she tends to be high-strung, but she can measure up to the competition.”

Yukan Fuji Sho Ocean Stakes (G3)
Sakura Gospel
Sakura Gospel (horse, 7)

Tomohito Ozeki, trainer
“In the Ocean Stakes he came from far off the pace, but he didn’t raise his head until the end and ran well to the line. It was a good win. He was able to hold back and save something for the finish, a new style and a new discovery for him. Last week on Mar. 19, he breezed over the woodchip course. He worked solo up the hill course this week and hung out a bit at the end, but I think that was because he was a bit too fast in the second furlong. If the rider had urged him on more he’d have run straight. His overall time was good. It was a good workout. He’ll lose weight during the trip to Chukyo, but since it’s just a matter of fine-tuning him, I don’t think it will be a problem. We gave him a lot of care after last race to get him over any fatigue and he’s looking good. Last race, he won in a way that I think will suit the Chukyo 1,200 and that is the most important thing. He’s more mentally mature now, having calmed down a lot from last summer. This is his fourth Takamatsunomiya Kinen and I think he’s in the best shape he’s been for this race yet. If the winning time is around 1 minute, 8 or 9 seconds, it will be ideal.”

Shonan Achieve
Shonan Achieve
Shonan Achieve (colt, 4)

Sakae Kunieda, trainer
“He’d had ample work and was ready for his last race but it was his first run after a layoff and his first time over 1,200 meters in a while. He was put off by the pace and didn’t run smoothly in the straight. He didn’t show the kind of racing I thought he would. That prep though was part of the plan to come here. He’s always been a type that improves the more he races and even though his weight won’t have changed, he will have improved. With this distance, he won’t be able to lead so he’ll have to make his move in the latter stages. And Chukyo, which has slower times in the latter stages should suit him better than Nakayama. I can’t make any claims since the competition will be much stronger than his last race, but if he can run his kind of race, it should be good.

Hayato Yoshida, jockey
“His movement was better than it was last week. I have the feeling that he’s the kind of horse that shows his best in a race.”

Straight Girl
Straight Girl
Straight Girl (mare, 6)

Nobuyuki Tashiro, assistant trainer
“Her third in the (Longines) Hong Kong Sprint was likely because it was an overseas race. We had to get her ready amid strange surrounding. Still, she did her best and did get results. It was a strong race. After that we gave her time off as usual at Ikuta Training Farm, then brought her back into training about a month ago with an eye to this race. She’s 6 now but she’s full of energy. A week ago, we worked her on the woodchip course with the jockey up. It was a fairly light workout with a time of 82.7 seconds and the final furlong at 11.7 seconds. She looked good. Last year in this race, the track really tired her out but she still was able to run third. I hope she’ll get a fast track this year. She settles well and has her own racing style. She can do well even after a layoff. She’s come so close to winning a G1 and I really hope she can get one.”

Yasunari Iwata, jockey
“The most important thing is that she is coming along according to expectations. She’s a bit stronger than she used to be. There are a lot of frontrunners this time and the race will surely not unfold like the Hong Kong Sprint did. Also, there’s the track. Both last year’s Takamatsunomiya Kinen and Sprinters Stakes were not run over what you could call good going. I want a fast track.”

Sudden Storm
Sudden Storm
Sudden Storm (horse, 6)

Katsuichi Nishiura, trainer
“He had a nice trip in the Hankyu Hai and ran nicely balanced. He had a lot left coming into the stretch but things got a bit tight after that and the timing for his move didn’t go well. He quickened well though, which made the results all the more disappointing. Since then he has come along well. Since he doesn’t turn in any fast times anymore, we worked him on the hill course with no urging on Mar. 18. This week we pushed him hard over the last 3 furlongs. The jockey has ridden him in work up to now and gotten him in shape along with the other staff. From about the (Mainichi Broadcast.) Swan Stakes he was running nice and straight and well to the end. The competition will be stiff since it’s a G1, but it would be nice to get some good results.”

Yusaku Kokubun, jockey
“He’s switched on and this week’s fast work was faster than expected. Still, his response in the finish was good.”

Toho Amapola
Toho Amapola
Toho Amapola (mare, 6)

Ryo Takahashi, trainer
“She’s always had problems with her hooves and because I didn’t want her to overdo it I gave her a rest. Now, there are no more worries anymore and she is back refreshed. We’ve gotten her ready slowly and on Mar 18 we gave her a long workout over the woodchip course. Her movement looked good and I have no worries about her this time. Three races ago, even though she was back after an injury, she did her best. The two races after that the track was slow and didn’t suit her. She didn’t get results at Niigata, but she is better racing to the left and she did win in the summer with the same conditions as this race. So, I do have my hopes up but I also would like to see a very good track.”

Wakino Brave
Wakino Brave
Wakino Brave (horse, 5)

Hisashi Shimizu, trainer
“He always needs just a little bit more in his races and I have the image that he just keeps pace with the other horses. He recovered from last race right away and we had him back in training. Since he seems to need a bit more in his races, we decided to change his training a bit and gave him his fast work last week up the hill course. He ran very well, without holding anything back. It was an ideal bit of work. We worked him up the hill course again this week. I was concerned that he wouldn’t have enough earnings to make the lineup but he’s in and so I want to have him in the kind of shape that will cause no regrets. It’s the same distance as his last race but things aren’t as busy at Chukyo as they are at Nakayama and I think with a chance to keep something in reserve it’ll be easier for him. There’s no one standout in the field but the competition is strong. If he gives it his all, I’ll see just how well he can do. He is looking good and I am hoping for a fast track.”

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