2015 Sprinters Stakes (G1) - Comments from Japanese Runners' Connections
Active Minoru (colt, 3)
Yoshihito Kitade, trainer
"He was coming off a layoff for the Centaur Stakes and it was his first time competing against older horses. And since we took his temperament into consideration and didn't push him that hard I'd say it was a big win. The race unfolded in his favor and he had been really relaxed in the parade ring, so I think the time off really stood him well. On the weekend after the race we worked him up the hill and even though he was a bit full of himself, overall he was that not that worked up. Last Friday he hung to the right a bit but it was good workout all in all. This week he did his fast work on the woodchip course and we focused on the finish. When he races from a forward position he really holds his ground. It depends on the draw, but he is a good starter and I think we'll try to get a forward position. That way he won't get too strong and I think he'll have a chance."
Bel Canto (filly, 4)
Koichi Tsunoda, trainer
“She hadn’t been getting results, so even though she was not at the training center after the spring, she was getting a lot of work. When she came back to the training center we couldn’t run her in the Hakodate Sprint Stakes because she didn’t have enough earnings and then, with her being scratched from the CBC Sho, even more time lapsed between the spring and her first race back. But, looking at the results of her past two races, I’d say it was key to her success to have kept her in training. She had about a week off after her last race and she came back looking good. There was no damage from her last run and she got good times in work. Last week, I thought her overall time wasn’t that good but her movement was and we’ve been careful to not let her stiffen up after work. This week we’ll just be working her in the 53-second range as usual. She’s a good finisher so she should be fine with the hill in the Nakayama straight. In fast work, she tends to lean to the right and when there aren’t many other horses out on the track mornings, she likes to hug the rail on the right. And she is relaxed and running well. Her work up the hill this week was over slower ground than her last two workouts, thus the time, but she is moving well and I’m taking her to the race with confidence. She has always had latent sprint ability and now she’s able to bring this out. Her fifth last year wasn’t bad but with her habit of hanging right, the Niigata venue wasn’t suited to her. This year should be better. Ideally, we’ll be able to get an inside draw and a ground-saving run.”
Copano Richard (horse, 5)
Toru Miya, trainer
"He has improved dramatically."
Masanori Masui, assistant trainer
"He's never been good in the summer months, so we took care and gave him time off. I think he's come back nicely refreshed. On the 16th, his responses were a bit lacking but he was working solo and that may have been a factor. On the 24th, he clocked in the 50-second range. He was working with a horse from another stable and it wasn't a great match, but even so, he was able to come up on the inside and pass the other horse nicely. I have no complaints. (Mirco) Demuro said that his movement was fine and that he would only need light work in the final week. So, I think there's no problem with his condition. The jockey will be up for the second time and I think, with the two of them having won the Takamatsunomiya Kinen last year, the jockey will have a good image of him. He's in good shape and if he can get a nice run up the inside with little loss of ground, then I think everyone's image of him will change."
Fra Angelico (horse, 7)
Makoto Saito, trainer
"Last out in the Keisei Hai, I got the feeling he was well suited to the Nakayama mile. He was in good shape and was carrying only 53 kg. The jockey showed good judgement and chose his ground well in the stretch where he could use his late speed. Still, it was close. The following week, we just focused on his recovering well and on the 24th gave him a long workout at 15 seconds a furlong. When he has time off, it's hard to get him lean again, so I think racing him so soon after his last race will be good. His half brother Orewa Matteruze won the Takamatsunomiya Kinen when he was 6 years old so this horse surely has latent sprinter ability. I think the present track condition and the Nakayama course will suit him well and if he can run in with the others things could be interesting. I'm counting on his ability to surprise us."
Hakusan Moon (horse, 6)
Masato Nishizono, trainer
"I thought watching him in the Centaur Stakes that he was going to turn in a good race but he didn't quicken as I thought he would in the finish. He wasn't in bad shape but maybe due to age his responses were a little slow. He was only able to line up with the others, no further. He worked up the hill on the 24th and clocked 54.3 seconds, covering the last furlong in 12.5 seconds. There's not much time between races so that was a good time for a week out. We just worked on fine-tuning him this week. The venue this year is the same as the year before last, when he was runnerup. And that's a factor in his favor. He can race from further back but it's probably best if he takes the lead and it's OK if the pace is fast."
Little Gerda (mare, 6)
Ippo Sameshima, trainer
"She was a bit slow out of the gate last out, a bit keen under way and needed just a bit more acceleration in the straight. That all figured in the loss. I'd hoped the pace would have been a bit stronger. She injured her right foreleg in the race, but luckily it healed quickly. We were able to ride her and the injury didn't seem to affect her. Last week, we took her up the hill with no urging and she clocked 55 seconds something, which was fine. Before her fast work, she weighed in at 506 kg and she's a bit leaner than she was for her last race. She improves with a race and last out she was coming back after a month and a half. This time it's only four weeks from her last race. This is a better rotation for her than giving her too much time in between runs."
Note: Majin Prosper was scratched from this race due to lameness in his right shoulder.
Majin Prosper (horse, 8)
Hidemasa Nakao, trainer
"He took the lead in the Keeneland Cup and was able to run his kind of race for the first time in a while but coming into the stretch another horse ran up on him and upset his balance. It was an unfortunate race because he was in good condition. He had a few scrapes but nothing serious and he was back at Ritto in good order. Two weeks ago we urged him strongly up the hill and his movement was good. He's better in the hot months than the cold so he's in good shape and has kept the condition he had while in Hokkaido. He's 8 years old after all so I'm not expecting any great improvement but he is in good shape. If he can get a nice smooth run up the outside, which he likes, we'll see just how well he can do."
Mikki Isle (colt, 4)
Hidetaka Otonashi, trainer
"In the spring the focus was on not having him have to take the lead. We put another horse in front of him during work too and focused on him being patient. Even though he broke perfectly if we held him back he didn't become keen. And with this we figured we could play it by ear when we used him in a mile race. He came back from the summer months off nice and refreshed and looking good. If we give him a prep he gets all tensed up so going into the race straight off the layoff has been our intention. He's been getting regular work since coming back to the training center. His time this week was faster than I'd expected…maybe the jockey wasn't happy with how the horse felt last week… His big losses recently have been over the mile. But with 1,200 meters and it being a G1 I think even if he wants to take the lead he won't be able to so it's perfect. I think he'll have a chance if he runs like he did in the Hankyu Hai, get a good position and travel smoothly without getting the bit between his teeth. Also, he's had bad luck with rain, so I'm hoping he'll be able to get a fast track this time."
Suguru Hamanaka, jockey
"His breathing is good even though he's coming off a layoff. He's switched on and raring to go in a good way. He has very good sprint ability, so if we can get a good trip…. I was checking his finish this week. He felt good and his responses were better than last week."
Red Oval (mare, 5)
Takayuki Yasuda, trainer
"After Sapporo she came right back to the training center. She handled the journey well now that she's not as delicate as before. For her last race she still had room for improvement so I expect that with that as a prep, she should indeed show improvement. Her work has been better than it was and she's so well-behaved now that if you work her too lightly she won't run on her own. So now on the 24th we wanted to push her hard, even if it meant she would fade in the finish. She ran very nicely. We've been able to get quite a good handle on her temperament, for better or for worse. Two races ago she didn't really want to accelerate after settling but last race she quickened even in the final strides. How she does will really depend on the trip she gets."
Sakura Gospel (horse, 7)
Tomohito Ozeki, trainer
"Last race, I don't know if it was because he'd had a pretty hard schedule or if it was because he acted up in the gate, but he broke late and that hurt. He had the summer off so he's fresh now and it's good too that it cooled off pretty early. We gave him a hard workout in tandem with another horse on the 24th and though the finish was a bit slow, it was a good solid workout. He used to be pretty agitated and unruly but he's matured mentally now and is much mellower. Even with all the races he had in the spring, he's been able to win two graded stakes races and he has filled out nicely. I think now with the slower final 3-furlong times at Nakayama the race will suit him. I'd also like to take him to Hong Kong at the end of the year, so I hope he'll give us a competitive run over the Nakayama 1,200."
Straight Girl (mare, 6)
Nobuyuki Tashiro, assistant trainer
"In the Centaur Stakes she hung out at one point and though I don't think it was a big loss itself it did make a big difference in the finishing order. But she was able to gain enough ground to not have a difference in the time, so I'd say it was a strong showing. She came out of that race well and things have gone according to plan since. We worked her up the hill course on the 25th and since there's only been two full weeks between races we only worked her enough to check her condition. She felt good. I'd say her last race has sharpened her up. She's still running very nicely in the autumn of her sixth year and that may, in part, be due to her not having been raced too much when she was younger. She got good results in Hong Kong so I'd say she should have no problems with the trip east. She's not that good over softer ground, like for her run in the Takamatsunomiya Kinen, so I'd like her to get a run this time over some good firm ground."
Sugino Endeavour (horse, 7)
Keiichi Asami, assistant trainer
"His poor start last out hurt him. Then, in the stretch, things got tight, but even so, for him to have gotten up to where he was admirable. If he'd had a bit smoother run, he probably would have been able to finish closer. We gave him a bit of time off after that and brought him back to the training center three weeks ago. This has been his routine all along and even with regular races, all has gone well. We breezed him on the 24th and the 27th was to be his last fast work. The course is not so much a concern, it's more whether he will be eager to run. He can be a bit difficult at times. But, he has gotten good results this year and the jockey has a good image of him so he may give us a good race."
Teehaff (horse, 5)
Katsuichi Nishiura, trainer
"Last out he was a popular pick and he did chase the horses ahead of him well. I think the jockey has gotten a good handle on this horse's temperament and his racing has stabilized and he's able to access his power better. He's gotten stronger with each race. All has gone well since he came back from Hokkaido and back to the training center. On the 24th, the jockey rode him up the hill. His time was fast and he ran solidly to the end. His movement was good too. We've got the long trip east so we just gave him light work this week. It's a G1 and the competition will be strong with the pace fast out in front. I think it'll be the kind of race that is easy for him and I'm looking forward to seeing how well he can do."
Ukiyono Kaze (mare, 5)
Takanori Kikuzawa, trainer
"She's a horse that gets quite a long coat when it gets colder, but she does well in the summer months. Her coat has had a good sheen to it these last two starts. Of course, the turf she was on was good for the short distances. But, I think she really gave it her best to be able to have won two graded stakes races. She recovered fully from her last race in about a week and we clocked her up the hill on the 19th and worked her in tandem over the woodchip course on the 25th. She came up fast on the other horse and had an easy enough time of it that she lost concentration after passing him. In that kind of shape we were just checking her wind this week. If she can run at her own pace, she has a nice finish, so I'm looking forward to seeing just how well she can do in a G1. The competition will be stiff but I think we can look forward to more than just the experience."
Uliuli (mare, 5)
Nobuyuki Tashiro, assistant trainer
"She had an outside draw in the Centaur Stakes but was able to get an inside track. When it opened up in the stretch, she moved out and was able to because she has such good late speed. The jockey had a lot of trust in her. She was second but the winner went wire to wire with a final 3 furlong time of 33.8 seconds so what can you expect. To be able to close to within a nose, I'd say she really gave it her all. We worked her up the hill on the 25th just to check how she felt and she moved very nicely. She ran solidly last out but doesn't seem to have any fatigue and all looks well. I think she'll be able to take on this race in good shape. She has had good results at the mile, but I think 1,200 meters suits her better. I do wonder about the trip to the track but she has matured mentally now, so I don't think it will be a problem. The pace is likely to be fast and the turf condition with it being the last week of the meet should be a plus. She did well last out so even though it's a G1 I expect her to be right up there competing for the top spots."
Sources: Keiba Book, Tokyo Sports, Sankei Sports, Nikkan Sports, Sports Nippon
- Preview (Sprinters Stakes)
- Barrier draw (Sprinters Stakes)
- Past performances of runners (Sprinters Stakes)
- Race result
[ Sprinters Stakes ]
[ Centaur Stakes ]
[ Sprinters Stakes ]
[ Centaur Stakes ]
- 2022 English
- 2021 English
- 2020 English
- 2019 English
- 2018 English
- 2017 English
- 2016 English
- 2015 English
- 2014 English
- 2013 English
- Photo Gallery
[ Sprinters Stakes ]
2022 Winner: Gendarme
2021 Winner: Pixie Knight
[ Centaur Stakes ]
2022 Winner: Meikei Yell
2021 Winner: Resistencia