2015 News

May 1, 2015


2015 Tenno Sho (Spring) (G1) - comments from runners' connections
Gold Ship
Admire Deus
Admire Deus (colt, 4)

Mitsuru Hashida, trainer
“In his last race (the Nikkei Sho), there wasn’t even a moment when they were all lined up in the stretch. He flashed into the lead. His late speed was fabulous and I think it was a strong win. Last year at this time, we had to plan around the classics, so it was a hard rotation for him. This year, however, he’s had enough time between races and I think that has been evident in his results. He recovered well from his last race and is coming along just fine. I didn’t want to give him too much work right before the race, so we gave him a good blowout last week. He moved well, as he usually does, and he has kept the condition he had for last race. Since he has no problem settling, he can handle late speed in the race. I think he’ll be able to handle 3,200 meters well enough. No interference, smooth sailing, and these should lead to good results.”

American Jockey Club Cup (G2)
Courir Kaiser
Courir Kaiser (horse, 6)

Ikuo Aizawa, trainer
“There was good early speed in the Nikkei Sho but even so, he was easily overtaken in the stretch. I thought he had looked a bit heavy on race day, but still I’d thought he’d do better than he did. Rather than turning him out as we had last time, we kept him at the Miho Training Center and got him ready. We didn’t let him slack off at all, but kept him working. Last week we pushed him hard working in tandem with another, but in the end he wasn’t able to catch the other horse. Still, he never looks flashy in morning work, but he has surely improved. It’ll be his first time to run over distance at Kyoto and even though there are a lot of unknowns, I think his performances until now indicate that he will be able to handle the distance. I don’t think he’ll be a popular pick but I’d like to have him give us his best racing.”

Curren Mirotic
Curren Mirotic
Curren Mirotic (gelding, 7)

Osamu Hirata, trainer
“He had done all he needed to do going into the last race (the Hanshin Daishoten) and he looked good, but in all honesty, I have to say that I may have gotten him ready a bit too quickly. There was that, and the fact that he had to put the brakes on going into the stretch, were factors in the loss. But he tried his best and that’s why we thought he’d be good for this race. He came out of his last race well and on Apr. 22 we worked him on the woodchip course. It was an average workout and we never push him too hard to begin with. It was a good workout and normally he sharpens up nicely with a race under his belt. And, last start we felt he may do better if he had another furlong. He’s 7 years old now, but he seems like he still has something to show us. He has done well in G1s before and I think he can hold his own in this kind of lineup.”

Denim and Ruby
Denim and Ruby
Denim and Ruby (mare, 5)

Tatsuya Yoshioka, assistant trainer
“The Hanshin Daishoten last time out was her first time at 3,000 meters. She had a good trip and showed her suitability to the distance. And, she’s the type that you don’t have to worry about running unbalanced. Because of how she looked in her last outing, we decided to run her next in the Tenno Sho (Spring). We kept her at the Ritto Training Center and have tuned her up here. She worked over the course in tandem on Apr. 22 and we had her come up on the other horse and overtake him. She did a nice job waiting patiently for her cue. For a week out, it was an excellent workout. Being a mare, she’s best when she has a heavy workload and a lot of races, like she had going into the Japan Cup as a 3-year-old. With this, I think she’ll be even better for race day. The jockey has gotten a good handle on her and he felt the Kyoto outer course would be even better for her. And the faster the track the better.”

Tanino Epaulette
Fame Game
Fame Game (horse, 5)

Yoshitada Munakata, trainer
“He has stamina and is suited to long distance, but he ran an especially strong race in the Diamond Stakes and got results even under the top weight of 58 kg. He’s the type of horse that wants to run the more distance you give him. All has gone well after that. We put him out for a while and when he came back into Miho Training Center he’s had work every week. We worked him once up the hill course, followed by work in tandem over the woodchip course on Apr. 22. We had him come up from far back, pass the other horse and continue on at length so it was a sufficiently hard workout. On Apr. 29, three horses worked together. We had him stay close behind the others, then line up in the stretch close to the finish and things went as planned. He lined up immediately with good responses and showed an eagerness to run, was the word from jockey Hiroshi Kitamura. I’d say he’s ready. We’ve got the long haul ahead and this week we just breezed him. Since he’s older now, he’s calmer and he’s been paired with Kitamura since the Spring Stakes (in Mar. 2013). I think they’ve learned how to work well together and I expect results. This will be his second time in the Tenno Sho (Spring) but with Kitamura in the saddle things should go well. The horse has a lot of quirks, but the jockey knows them all now. He knows his good points and his bad. The horse is ready. The rest I’ll leave up to the jockey.”

Hiroshi Kitamura, jockey
“I rode him in work the past two weeks as well as this one and he’s gotten into shape. He’s not the kind of horse to move on his own and he doesn’t reveal too much about what he’s thinking or how he’s feeling. But, if I consider how he was before the other races, I’d say he’s about the same now. In the Diamond Stakes he was asked to carry a lot of weight but won. You can be confident about this horse’s stamina. I think he’ll be able to be competitive on Sunday. I’m looking forward to it.”

Gold Ship
Gold Ship
Gold Ship (horse, 6)

Naosuke Sugai, trainer
“The Hanshin Daishoten saw him win strongly for the first time in a while. But I was a bit concerned about his stride in the final stages, so I turned him out for a while after that race and had him examined to see what could be the problem. We found that he had had some internal bleeding in the fetlock of his right foreleg. He must have stepped on himself. Since we’d discovered the problem quickly we were able to take care of it and he was back in shape in a week. Since coming back to the Ritto Training Center he looked good, was full of energy, gave us some good times and didn’t seem to have any problems, so we decided to race him. The jockey rode him last week to check his responses and the word was, ‘he’s strong and in order.’ The jockey is to ride this week as well. He hasn’t shown his best these past two years but he won the Kikuka Sho (Japanese St. Leger), so I don’t think he’s not suited to Kyoto. The jockey is familiar with this horse and has a good handle on him. I’m hoping he can get his revenge on his third time out.”

Hokko Brave
Hokko Brave
Hokko Brave (horse, 7)

Yasutoshi Matsunaga, trainer
“He had a bruised hoof a week before the Nikkei Sho and even though that gave us reason for concern, he ran on ability alone. Everything has gone as expected and, on Apr. 23, we worked him with a horse that hasn’t broken its maiden yet. Jockey Miyuki rode and he worked well in tandem. This race has been our goal all along and with one more workout this week, he should be fully ready. His weight at 478 kg isn’t much different from last year’s but with his prep of the Nikkei Sho, I think he’s definitely improved. If he can get a good trip and the race unfolds as he would like it to I think he has ample chance.”

Hula Bride
Hula Bride
Hula Bride (mare, 6)

Hidenori Take, assistant trainer
“She had returned to the Ritto training center three weeks before her last race (the Hanshin Daishoten) and she’d been pretty heavy, so it took a lot of work to get her lean in time. The field was very strong and I thought the race would be tough for her, but she got a good position and though she lost ground at one point, she rallied and came back to finish in fifth. It was a better race than I thought it was going to be. She’s done as we thought she would in work and you can plainly see how she has improved. She’s lean, with a good sheen on her coat and her movement changed dramatically for the better with her last race. She’s also eager to run and I think her finish will be different from her finish last race. The competition will be tough and she’s something of a late bloomer, even for a female. But she’s improving now and her stamina is her strongpoint, so 3,200 meters will be OK.”

Kizuna (horse, 5)

Shozo Sasaki, trainer
“If you considered the way the Sankei Osaka Hai developed and the pace, it was just right for his usual way of winning. He did take the lead in the stretch and looked like he was going to hold it, but was then overtaken on the inside in the end. Result-wise, he came up lacking, but he had the will to win and the speed to do it. But, the winner was a G1 winner so it couldn’t be helped. The going in the Prix de Niel and l’Arc de Triomphe was yielding so he can handle heavy turf, but in the Osaka Hai he didn’t like it when he got mud in his face going into the first turn and I think the heavy rain just before the race was a factor in his loss. We worked him up the hill course on Apr. 19 and he clocked in the 56-second range. Then, on the Apr. 22 we tuned him up on the flat course with a time of 81 seconds. Everything is looking in order. He has toned up more with each race and his attitude isn’t bad. The change to the Kyoto course shouldn’t be a problem, so I’ve got my hopes up again.”

Last Impact
Last Impact
Last Impact (horse, 5)

Hiroyoshi Matsuda, trainer
“Normally, he’s a type that does well coming off a layoff, but with it being 3,000 meters last time out (the Hanshin Daishoten), I guess it did make a difference after all. He was too far back in the finish, but from the start he had settled almost too well and so ended up in the position he was. As a prep for the Tenno Sho (Spring), however, I’d say it was good. After that he’s gotten a lot of work. His overall time working on the flat course on Apr. 22 was a bit fast, but since I’d wanted to push him once more, I’d say it was fine. He’s gotten calmer with age, which is also a good thing and this time will surely see him in better shape than he was for his last race. He’s had experience over distance of 3,000 meters at Kyoto -- the Kikuka Sho and last spring’s Tenno Sho – and compared to both those times, he is much more settled now. And he’s stronger as well, so I have my hopes up.”

Nikkan Sports Sho Nakayama Kimpai (G3)
Lovely Day
Lovely Day (horse, 5)

Yasutoshi Ikee, trainer
“I think the distance may have been somewhat of a factor in his loss in the Hanshin Daishoten but he also had horses coming up on his outside early in the race and when that happens he often seems to quit. We turned him out at Northern Farm Shigaraki after that race and he came back to the Ritto Training Center on Apr. 15. Things have gone according to plan since then. The jockey rode work on Apr. 23 and focused on the finish. His movement was good and he covered the last furlong in a time of 12.1 seconds. I realize the distance is long for him, but he’s well suited to a hard track. Recent years have seen the frontrunners last over a very fast track and I think if the track is very firm and he can run his own race, he’ll do well.”

Last Impact
Neo Black Dia
Neo Black Dia (horse, 7)

Yuichi Shikato, trainer
“He wasn’t able to keep up last race (the Chunichi Shimbun Hai), which was over 2,000 meters. But, he did tie the winner’s time over the last 3 furlongs, so he did run. The jockeys for his two races before that, the (Sports Nippon Sho) Stayer Stakes and the Diamond Stakes, had given him nice rides. We turned him out after the last race, but he was given work too and came back looking good. We didn’t clock him on Apr. 22 but he looked good working up the hill course and he’s looking to go into the race in good shape. The field is a strong one so I can’t make any claims. His performance depends a lot on how he’s feeling so the key is giving him a run that keeps him in a good mood. Then, we’ll see how well he can do.”

Sounds of Earth
Sounds of Earth
Sounds of Earth (colt, 4)

Kenichi Fujioka, trainer
“It was his first race after a while in the Nikkei Sho and his responses were a bit slow. He ran from the back, took a breather in the final bend and then there were traffic problems in the stretch. But in the last furlong the jockey moved him out and he really picked up well. If you consider the extra distance this time out, I’d say his last start was a good prep. He’s the kind that stiffens up after a race, but we gave him lots of care and he’s doing well. A week ago, he worked up the hill course and his overall time was slower than we’d anticipated, but the last furlong was in the low 12-second range and his movement was good. And, if you consider that the track was pretty rough at the time I think it was a good, tough workout. This week, the jockey rode him on the course in tandem with another horse. It’s looking like he’ll be in good shape for the race. His quick turn of foot means he’s suited to the outer Kyoto course and the extra distance is a plus. His responses will surely be better this time as will the conditions, so I’m expecting him to rally. I hope he’ll be able to get a smooth run and be able to access his speed.”

Suzuka Devious
Suzuka Devious
Suzuka Devious (colt, 4)

Mitsuru Hashida, trainer
“With a pace like they had in the Hanshin Daishoten, he just didn’t have the wind for it. The pace in the first 3 furlongs was just a little slower than it had been for the (1,200 meters) Takamatsunomiya Kinen. With that kind of race, it would have been better not to have insisted on leading. After that race, he indeed showed signs of fatigue but he’s well recovered now. We pushed him hard last week and he worked well until the end. He has maintained his condition and all has gone well. Even pushing him as we did in the last race didn’t get him overly keen. He has no problem settling, so the distance is OK. I think he’ll take the lead this time out too, but if he’s allowed to run his own race, he can be a very persistent type.”

Tamamo Best Play
Tamamo Best Play
Tamamo Best Play (horse, 5)

Katsumi Minai, trainer
“Just before his last race (the Nikkei Sho) he lost a lot of weight. And before that he had gained a lot. He was lean and no doubt the long haul to the track had its effect too. He had seemed fine though, had a good air about him. But in the race, he was overtaken suddenly and got knocked around. He lost both his front shoes. His fast work before last race had been good and this time too his work has been good. I think he’s in shape. It’s a strong lineup and we’ll be going into it without any pressure. I’m hoping he can get the kind of trip that’ll help bring out his tenacity.”

Tosen Arnica
Tosen Arnica
Tosen Arnica (mare, 5)

Tetsuya Kimura, trainer
“It’s all hindsight but she broke well last time out in the Nikkei Sho and should have been sent forward to get a good position. Instead, she ended up running on the outside and in the end just kind of coasting in. We kept her at the Miho Training Center and kept a watch out for any signs of fatigue, then started getting times from Apr. 16. She’s gotten a bit sluggish, so last week we had her work in between two other horses, come up from behind and keep her concentration on things. The competition will be strong but I think she’s in the kind of shape that should leave no room for regrets. We’ll see how just how well she can do.”

Win Variation
Win Variation
Win Variation (horse, 7)

Yoshikazu Nakayama, assistant trainer
“He’s come out of his last races (the Nikkei Sho) well and he hasn’t had any more problems with his hooves. We worked him hard last week and he looked good. I think he’ll be in better shape than he was for his last race. He’s not the type that gets his engine revved quickly so the ideal race for him is one where he can get his momentum going. The jockey realizes that too so I think he’ll try to give him a run up the outside and not worry about the extra distance he’ll have to cover. When he’s able to get a smooth run he has gotten good results, so I’m looking forward to the race.”

Fenomeno was withdrawn from the race on Thursday, Apr. 30 after developing swelling in his right foreleg after training.

Hirofumi Toda, trainer
“The diagnosis was an inflammation of the tendon. We’ll do a more thorough examination and likely turn him out from next week. The final decision of whether he’ll make a comeback or be retired will be made later."

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