2015 News

June 5, 2015


2015 Yasuda Kinen (G1) - comments from runners' connections
Blaze a Trail
Blaze a Trail
Blaze a Trail (horse, 6)

Kenichi Fujioka (trainer)
“He had a good break in the Keio Hai Spring Cup and was able to get a good position. But when the jockey asked him to move out in the stretch, he didn’t respond that well. When another horse came up on his outside, he quickened but he needed a bit more. Everything’s gone well since then. He’s had regular races and there’s not that much time between races this time so we didn’t push him that much. He’s still in good shape. Looking at his last race, we decided to work him with cheekpieces on, but they don’t seem to have had that much effect, so we won’t use them in the race. If he’s sent forward he tends to lose interest, but if he goes from behind he can’t make the front in time. Running in with the pack is good but not the best for the fast pace of a G1. The competition is stiff, but I’m hoping he can somehow stand up to it.”

Clarente (horse, 6)

Kojiro Hashiguchi (trainer)
“He was in good shape for the Yomiuri Milers Cup but being drawn wide had to cover a lot more ground and that hurt. On the 28th, he worked together with Red Arion and clocked 54.2 seconds with a last furlong time of 12.8. Both his time and movement were pretty close to ideal. Recently, he’s looking fine and I have no concerns about his physical condition. He has had sufficient experience over the Tokyo course, so I would say that’s a plus. At Tokyo, he can go forward and get a nice smooth run. He’s not old enough to be slowing down. A fast track would be ideal, and I am looking forward to the race.”

NHK Mile Cup (G1)
Curren Black Hill
Curren Black Hill (horse, 6)

Osamu Hirata (trainer)
“Two races ago, he won over poor going, so a yielding track shouldn’t have been a problem, but last time out the going was really quite bad. That, and the distance was a bit long. The reason we decided to take on this race next was because we had the time between races. So, we gave him a month off and have been working him regularly since coming back to the training center. His movement looked good in fast work on the 27th and I think he’ll be in convincing shape. He’s had longer distances all along recently and it’ll be his first mile in a while. But he’s won a G1 over the course, so I’d like to look at it positively. It sure won’t be easy, but he can run a strong race when he gets his kind of race. I have my hopes up.”

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

Yoshito Yahagi (trainer)
“In the Keio Hai Spring Cup he was able to save ground despite the wide draw but the pace was slow and the field was bunched up and there wasn’t enough pace to move out. It was the same in the Takamatsunomiya Kinen. I wouldn’t say he lost due to lack of ability in his past two races, so it’s no tragedy. There’s not much time between races so no need to give him too much work. We breezed him last Friday and all looked fine. I don’t think there was room for improvement from last race, so I’ve focused on maintaining his condition from last race. And he often does race better the second time out. I’d like to get an inside gate if possible and am hoping he can get a halfway decent break.”

Danon Shark
Danon Shark
Danon Shark (horse, 7)

Ryuji Okubo (trainer)
“The bruised hoof was not serious and he was back within a week getting regular work. We passed on the Yomiuri Milers Cup only because we wanted to be extra careful. After that, we kept him at the training center and got him ready. He’s very fresh and he’s been more on his toes the closer it gets to the race. Last year he went into this race coming off a layoff and with a sloppy track and being marked by other horses, but I think he did well. I have no concerns about the rotation. In the Hankyu Hai we traveled on the inside where the ground was bad and despite the weight he was asked to carry, he ran well to the end. The race was not a bad one. But, that said, he has speed, so I do want a fast track. After that, if the jockey can read the pace well and keep something in reserve, I think he has a chance.”

Extra End
Extra End
Extra End (horse, 6)

Tatsuya Yoshioka (assistant trainer)
“In the Lord Derby Challenge Trophy before the Yomiuri Milers Cup, he had lost concentration at points, so we wanted to put him in the middle of things last out. So, with that plan in mind, we sent him more forward from the start. He just needed a bit more in the finish but I think having him run from a good position will stand him well. We gave him a layoff after that, then aimed him for this race. Work has gone well and he doesn’t seem to have slacked off at all. On the 27th, we gave him an easy run up the hill course so as not to overwork him. And last weekend we pushed him pretty hard. I think he’s suited to the Tokyo 1,600. Key will be the going. A slow track will definitely be a strike against him. Rain is a worry so I’m hoping the skies will hold.”

Fiero (horse, 6)

Nobuyuki Tashiro (assistant trainer)
“In the Yomiuri Milers Cup things got a bit tight for him at the top of the stretch and it was frustrating to lose by only a neck and a neck. We kept him at the training center after that and have given him regular work. He’s not so good if given too many races, so this should be just right as the second race, just like three races ago for the Mile Championship. He had a fast workout on the woodchip course on the 27th, working in tandem and moving from behind. He clocked 11.8 seconds over the last furlong and was moving nicely. He hasn’t changed that much physically but I think he’ll be sharper with the one race behind him. Last year the going was really bad and I think you can just discount those results. Since he earned well last fall from the G1, it allowed him to have an easy rotation, which was good. Even though he hasn’t won a graded race, he has come so close. I do so very much want him to get good results.”

Keiai Elegant
Keiai Elegant
Keiai Elegant (mare, 6)

Kiyohiko Tanaka (assistant trainer)
“The second in the Victoria Mile was a shame. She was in fantastic shape and I had really had my hopes up. To have lost by so little was really frustrating. She came out of the race fine and was working up the hill again the weekend of the following week. There’s no need to give her hard work since there’s little time in between races. It’s enough to just keep her wind good. We gave her two hard workouts, that’s all. After her last race, we had considered taking her to the Epsom Cup too, but decided on the mile. If she can run her own race, I don’t think we’ll see anything too horrific. She’s up against male horses though this time, so I do wonder how well she can do. I am expecting a good race though.”

Lord Derby Challenge Trophy (G3)
Maurice (colt, 4)

Atsunori Hashimoto (assistant trainer)
“His last race was a handicap but the way he won made it look like he was in a class of his own. He’d won before in a similar way at Nakayama but his last furlong in 10.9 seconds was fantastic. After that race we focused on keeping him at peak while giving him ample work. On the 21st, we worked him with two others that can run well and the time was a bit fast. But he wasn’t tensed up so I don’t think it will be a problem and we took care to be sure he wasn’t feeling tired from that. I think he can do more than well enough, but I don’t know if he can do as well as he did in his last two races. He might not get a good trip but I want him to be competitive. We’ve already got plans for him. And the jockey has ridden him three times before so he should have a good idea of what to do.”

Meisho Mambo
Meisho Mambo
Meisho Mambo (mare, 5)

Yuji Iida (trainer)
“In her last race, she was taking on the mile from a 1,400-meter race but she wasn’t able to move up well in the early stages of the race and then she was pushed in by a horse on her outside. Still, even though she was wasn’t able to make progress, she still ran well. She’s been eating well and there is no problem at all with her condition. I wanted to push her hard a week before the race and we did just that, putting two horses ahead of her and having her catch up to them. She did and really displayed some nice footwork in the finish. She’s not concentrating on her running though and she’s not getting results. If she can just improve there it would help.”

Mikki Isle
Mikki Isle
Mikki Isle (colt, 4)

Hidetaka Otonashi (trainer)
“In the Takamatsunomiya Kinen, normally the frontrunner would have moved in but because the ground was bad there, this one was running alongside Hakusan Moon most of the way. He didn’t have cover and he had the bit between his teeth and his acceleration just didn’t measure up in the finish. We gave him a layoff and aimed for this race. As before, we’ve worked him putting others in front of him. On the 27th, he worked about 2 lengths behind another horse, then quickened in the finish and passed him to reach the finish line about a length and a half in front. He has looked good in work. Last year, it was a very high pace over a sloppy track. Even though he didn’t start that well, he went to the front and the horses toward the rear were the ones who made the top spots. Now, he’s racing from further back and no matter what the pace, the focus is to run relaxed. The straight is long and I think he can do well if he can move up slowly.”

Hanshin Cup (G2)
Real Impact
Real Impact (horse, 7)

Atsunori Hashimoto (assistant trainer)
“In Australia he was able to run his kind of race, get a forward position and make his move from there. I got the feeling he has honed his tactical skills. He moved out and accelerated and when he was overtaken he turned up the speed yet again. He was strong in the George Ryder Stakes winning that under 59 kg, but in his last race too, the Doncaster Mile, there was the difference in weight. Even with second place his reputation would in no way have suffered. After returning to Japan and going through quarantine, he was back at the training center on May 15. After watching his fast work on the 21st and seeing how his movement was, we decided to race him here. He’s just back from overseas but his condition is stable and we’ll have him ready. His racing has been consistent recently and his strategy as well. Looking at how he did in the Hanshin Cup, I’d say he surely won’t do poorly back in Japan.”

Yomiuri Milers Cup (G2)
Red Arion
Red Arion (horse, 5)

Kojiro Hashiguchi (trainer)
“He’s been able to race from a good position in recent runs. He’s always had early speed and if he can break well that’s the kind of race he prefers to run. We worked him together with Clarente on the 28th. He’s come along well and has improved. He hasn’t won at Tokyo but he’s had close races. I think it’s just a matter of time. In the Rigel Stakes three races ago, he was bothered by the poor going and didn’t travel well. I’d like to have a fast track. It’s good that now that he’s better at the break, the jockey can ride the kind of race he has in mind. The competition is stiff just being a G1 but this time out I think he’ll be able to show more of what he has.”

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

Tomohito Ozeki (trainer)
“Last out, the pace was slow but he settled well and he battled it out in the finish for a very nice win. He’s relaxed now mentally and I think the good showing was due to the fact that we were able to bring him along slowly. He worked on the hill course on the 28th and because he was well over his last race, we were able to push him hard. He hasn’t gotten great results with this rotation but his condition is good, which is most important. Normally, he has a bit of a difficult personality, but he won’t get keen in a race and is an easy horse to ride. The mile won’t be a problem and recently, he’s been able to hold back when racing and wait nicely. I think the jockey won’t have any troubles getting a position.”

Satono Gallant
Satono Gallant
Satono Gallant (horse, 6)

Daisuke Tsuamagari (assistant trainer)
“In his last year we dared not to move out and stayed in amid the others and that helped him keep his concentration without the use of the whip as well. When he moved out, he showed excellent acceleration. If he can get the right conditions he can give quite the performance. I think he was even better than what his winning margin indicated. He worked on the woodchip course on the 28th running to the left. Yuichi Shibayama rode up from the backstretch at the 5-furlong pole and it was an impressive workout at the finish. Keeping the horse happy is key and he rode him in such a way as to not upset him. His responses were good. He’s taking on a G1 this time but, as always, his acceleration will be his forte. I’m looking forward to it.”

Sunrise Major
Sunrise Major
Sunrise Major (horse, 6)

Tamio Hamada (trainer)
“We withdrew from the Mile Championship on Friday morning before the race due to the flu and gave him a layoff. He came back recovered and was in good shape for his last race. It was a different trip than usual, with him getting kind of pushed into the lead. Still, he hung on well to the finish. He just needed a little bit more. We’ve been working him at Ritto with this race as our target. He looks to be in good shape again. I think it’ll be a race where he’ll use his late speed and he does have the ability to be competitive at the G1 level. But, he has been raced mainly to the right, at Hanshin and Kyoto, and this will be his first race to the left in a long time. And, there will be the long haul to the track this time as well. Those will be two points of concern.”

Tokyo Shimbun Hai (G3)
Vincennes (horse, 6)

Mikio Matsunaga (trainer)
“It was a slow pace in the Keio Hai Spring Cup and the winner went from a good position so it was not surprising that this one couldn’t catch him. But, still, he really poured it on in the final stages. And that surprised me, though it also reminded me of his ability. He settled well despite the slow pace and had the fastest time over the final 3 furlongs. It was a good race. I think he may have been helped by the rain that we’d gotten up until the morning of the race. The track was somewhat rain-affected. Ideally, that’s probably what he needs. He has improved with that last race. Since he’s big, it’s not good if we go too easy on him in work. We pushed him pretty hard last week and his condition is on an even keel now. The lineup will be stronger this time, but the 1,600 is an easier race for him. If we can get the track we’d like, I think he can get the trip he needs.”

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