2015 News

April 14, 2015


2015 Satsuki Sho (Japanese 2000 Guineas) (G1) - Preview
Satsuki Sho (Japanese 2000 Guineas) (G1)

Nakayama Racecourse
Nakayama Racecourse

It’s a big weekend this week at Nakayama racecourse, following on from Saturday’s Grade 1 Nakayama Grand Jump, the 75th running of the first colts’ Classic, the Satsuki Sho (Japanese 2000 Guineas), will take place on Sunday (April 19th) over 2000 meters on turf at the Chiba track.  There are nineteen nominations, and the race is shaping up to be a real competitive one, as a number of colts get to take each other on here, coming into the race from different trial races held earlier in the year.

The first Satsuki Sho was held in 1939 over a distance of 1850 meters, and the conditions were changed several times up until 1950, when the race took on its current form, that being the 2000 meters at Nakayama.  The race starts in the home straight and follows the inside turf course through four fairly tight corners, followed by the rise up to the winning post.  No geldings are permitted and the colts are set to carry 57kgs.  The first four past the post receive an automatic entry into the Derby, and 22 winners of the Satsuki Sho have gone on to win the Derby.  The last two to do so were Orfevre in 2011 and Meisho Samson in 2006.  The race became an international Grade 1 in 2010.

The first three horses in the betting tend to do well, and in the last ten years, winners of their previous race have a 14% win rate, with a 25% chance of a top three finish.  The total prize money for the race is around ¥202 million, with the winner receiving ¥97 million.  The race record is held by Logotype, who won the race under Mirco Demuro in 2013, in a time of 1 minute 58.0 seconds.  The Satsuki Sho is race 11 on the card on Sunday with a post time of 3:40 pm.

The following are some of the popular choices in early betting markets for the first race in the Triple Crown:

Hochi Hai Yayoi Sho (Japanese 2,000 Guineas Trial) (G2)
Satono Crown

Satono CrownOne of only two unbeaten colts in the line-up, the Northern Farm bred Satono Crown could easily start favourite on race day.  His comfortable win in the Grade 2 Hochi Hai Yayoi Sho in March over 2000 meters at Nakayama means he’s tried and tested at the course and the distance.  Trained by Noriyuki Hori, the Marju colt must have a great chance.  Up to now, he’s been ridden by Yuichi Fukunaga and Ryan Moore, and on Sunday he’ll be ridden by Christophe Lemaire, looking for his sixth Grade 1 success in Japan.

Kyodo News Service Hai (Tokinominoru Kinen) (G3)
Real Steel

Real SteelThe aptly named Real Steel is two wins from three starts, although he only went down by a neck when Kitasan Black just held him in the Grade 2 Fuji TV Sho Spring Stakes over 1800 meters at Nakayama in March.  Prior to that he won the Grade 3 Kyodo News Service Hai at Tokyo in February.  He will be ridden by Yuichi Fukunaga, who believes the horse has a great ability to win anywhere and over any distance, and definitely considers him a Derby contender.  Fukunaga is looking for his first win in the Satsuki Sho.  Real Steel is by Deep Impact and is trained by Yoshito Yahagi.

Fuji TV Sho Spring Stakes (Japanese 2,000 Guineas Trial) (G2)
Kitasan Black

Kitasan Black:  The other unbeaten colt in the race is Kitasan Black. The Black Tide colt won over 2000 meters at Tokyo two starts ago, showing that stamina is on his side.  His most recent win was in the Grade 2 Fuji TV Sho Spring Stakes over 1800 meters, but stepping back up to 2000 meters again won’t present him with any problems.  One problem at the time of writing is he doesn’t know who will ride him, as regular jockey Hiroshi Kitamura is suspended. I’m sure there’ll be plenty of takers in the days ahead.

Asahi Hai Futurity Stakes (G1)
Danon Platina

Danon PlatinaA Deep Impact colt who really caught the eye as a 2-year-old, when he won the Begonia Sho last November, eating up the ground down the Tokyo home straight.  He subsequently went on to win the Grade 1 Asahi Hai Futurity Stakes at the end of last year, earning him the best 2-year-old colt award for 2014.  His colours have been lowered a little, however, since finishing third, although not beaten by much, to Kitasan Black at Nakayama in March.  He’s currently three wins from five starts, and the man in the saddle will be the evergreen Masayoshi Ebina.

Sapporo Nisai Stakes (G3)
Bright Emblem

Bright Emblem:  This Neo Universe colt won his first two starts at Tokyo and Sapporo, and then finished seventh to Danon Platina in the Asahi Hai Futurity Stakes last December.  On his latest run in the Grade 2 Hochi Hai Yayoi Sho in March, he ran second to Satono Crown, which would suggest he’s no slouch.  Jockey Hironobu Tanabe has partnered him in all his races, and remains faithful to Bright Emblem again this Sunday.


Duramente:  The second of trainer Noriyuki Hori’s runners, Duramente has had four starts and boasts two wins and two seconds, his most recent run being in February when he finished second to Real Steel.  Mirco Demuro will be riding the King Kamehameha colt for the first time, it will also be the horse’s first race at Nakayama.

Spirits Minoru
Spirits Minoru

Spirits Minoru:  An interesting looking runner, who just goes off in front and has managed to win his last three races in this fashion, winning the Sumire Stakes by three lengths, which was over 2200 meters at Hanshin in March.  He’s a colt by Deep Sky and is trained by Masaru Honda.  It might be possible that he blows them all away here.

Keisei Hai (G3)

Beruf:  From the all powerful stable of Yasutoshi Ikee, this Harbinger colt is another carrying the famous Sunday Racing colours; there are four of them altogether.  Beruf is three wins from five starts, with all his wins coming over 2000 meters.

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