2015 News

November 10, 2015


2015 Queen Elizabeth II Cup (G1) - Preview

Grade 1 action returns to Kyoto this Sunday (November 15th) to kick off a seven week run of top class horseracing action in Japan.  The 40th running of the Queen Elizabeth II Cup marks the first race of this year’s four race Japan Autumn International Series, to be followed by the Mile Championship, the Japan Cup, and the Champions Cup, in what is a fascinating group of races over different distances and at different tracks.

Despite being open to older fillies and mares, in the last ten years five 3-year-olds have won, and only two first favourites have returned victorious.  Snow Fairy became the first overseas winner of the race when she won in 2010 as fourth favourite, and the dynamic filly trained by Edward Dunlop came back the following year for another sweet victory in the race, and was the last favorite to win.  There are no runners from abroad this year.

3-year-olds are set to carry 54kgs, and 4-year-olds and above carry 56kgs, which perhaps just gives the younger fillies an edge.  There are twenty nominations for this year’s Queen Elizabeth II Cup, and lead up races for some of the runners have included the Grade 2 Kyoto Daishoten, the Grade 2 Fuchu Himba Stakes, the Grade 2 Sankei Sho All Comers, as well as the Oka Sho (Japanese 1000 Guineas) and the Yushun Himba (Japanese Oaks).  There is total prize money of 188 million yen, with 90 million yen going to the winner.  The record time for the race is 2 minutes 11.2 seconds, set by To The Victory in 2001.

Here’s a look at some of the runners in this year’s race:

2014 Queen Elizabeth II Cup (G1)
Lachesis - A 5-year-old mare by the great Deep Impact, she won the race last year and finished second two years ago, proving how well she runs in this race.  She can handle any ground, and with rain finally falling across Japan, it could be a factor.  Assistant training staff from the stable of trainer Katsuhiko Sumii commented on Lachesis:  “In the Kyoto Daishoten, it was a slow pace and she was literally chomping on the bit, which didn’t help her.  Come the home straight, she was tight for room, but did well all things considered.  With her weight down, it’s better for her and she uses less energy.  Her breathing is good and she looks better in her coat.  She’s better than she was for her last race, she’s last year’s winner, so everything’s in her favour.”  Trainer Katsuhiko Sumii is looking for his twenty second Grade 1 win in Japan with Lachesis.

Yushun Himba (Japanese Oaks) (G1)
Nuovo Record
Nuovo Record - She’s the 2014 Yushun Himba (Japanese Oaks) winner, and was second in last year’s Queen Elizabeth II Cup.  On her most recent start, she finished second in the Grade 2 Sankei Sho All Comers over 2200 meters at Nakayama in September, and fifth before that in this year’s Grade1 Takarazuka Kinen.  She has already amassed 408 million yen in prize money.  Trainer Makoto Saito recently commented:  “In the All Comers, the winner came down the outside with a late surge to deny us.  It wasn’t a smooth race for her, and as a filly she seemed to take in some stress from the race, but still managed to finish second, which just goes to show what power she has.  Her tiredness has gone, and she’s been running comfortably over longer distances.  On the 5th, she was partnered by jockey Yasunari Iwata, and they’re a great combination.”   Jockey Iwata has ridden Nuovo Record in her last ten races.

Kisaragi Sho (NHK Sho) (G3)
Rouge Buck
Rouge Buck - A 3-year-old filly by Manhattan Cafe, she is three wins from five starts, and finished second in this year’s Yushun Himba (Japanese Oaks), that being her last run.  After finishing ninth in the Oka Sho (Japanese 1000 Guineas), it was a relief to all her connections that she came back strong again. Of the filly, trainer Masahiro Otake said, “After the Oaks, she was expected to run in the Sapporo Kinen, but she had a fever and we had to withdraw from that.  She then had a stint at the farm.  She came back to the stable via Northern Farm Tenei on October 21st.  Working on the 28th, she really flew in her work and I have a good image of where she is at.  She’s taking on the older horses, hasn’t run for five and a half months, but I have no qualms about her going into this Grade 1.”

Smart Layer
Smart Layer
Smart Layer - A striking grey mare by Deep Impact, she was tenth in last year’s Queen Elizabeth II Cup, when running the 2200 meters for the first time.  Three of her six wins have come over 1800 meters, and having been ridden in her last two starts by Mirco Demuro, Suguru Hamanaka looks likely to take the ride.  Assistant training staff at the stable of trainer Ryuji Okubo said recently:  “In the Fuchu Himba Stakes, she came to terms with running on the inside, and when squeezed for room in the home straight, still managed to run on strongly to claim second.  It was a big run, and proved that the weight gain, as well as the extra distance, was suitable for her.  She’ll be up in distance again, but we’re looking forward to her performance here.”

Hochi Hai Fillies\' Revue (Japanese 1,000 Guineas Trial) (G2)
Queens Ring
Queens Ring - This 3-year-old filly ran ninth in the Yushun Himba (Japanese Oaks), but most recently flew home to finish second in the Shuka Sho, and she’ll be having just her second race at Kyoto this Sunday.  She is owned by Chizu Yoshida and was bred at Shadai Farm.  Trainer Keiji Yoshimura said of Queens Ring:  “For the Shuka Sho, her weight was plus eight kilos.  On the day of her races, she tends to get a bit worked up and can lose weight and energy.  It’s Kyoto this time, so we’re lucky it’s close by.  Her second in the Shuka Sho shows she is capable.  Everything has gone well with her, and I think she can run the outer course OK, as well as take on the older horses.”

Kansai Telecasting Corp. Sho Rose Stakes (Shuka Sho Trial) (G2)
Touching Speech
Touching Speech - This filly by Deep Impact impressed when winning the Grade 2 Kansai Telecasting Corp. Sho Rose Stakes over 1800 meters at Hanshin in September, before finishing sixth behind Mikki Queen in the Shuka Sho on her latest start.  She definitely seems to run at her best when held up for a late run, and jockey Christophe Lemaire will most likely be her big race rider again.  Assistant training staff at the stable of trainer Sei Ishizaka commented:  “The Shuka Sho was her first Grade 1, but she did well, and in a strong race it was a satisfactory performance.  Being around her since before her debut, her improvement is something easily taken for granted.  We’re looking forward to taking on the older horses, and the outer course looks as if it will suit her.”  Touching Speech is having her third run at Kyoto.

Fuchu Himba Stakes (G2)
Nobori Diana
Nobori Diana - A 5-year-old mare by French Deputy, she’s coming off a good win recently in the Grade 2 Fuchu Himba Stakes over 1800 meters at Tokyo, and had one other win this year in June at Hanshin, also over 1800 meters.  She’s only run once in a Grade 1 race, which was the 2013 Shuka Sho, where she finished fourteenth, but she’s coming into this race in top form.  Comments from assistant training staff at the stable of trainer Masahiro Matsunaga were:  “She came with a great run down the outside to win last time, and it was good to get the win in a race with some good horses.  She has a slight gate problem, and one week before the race we’re getting jockey Yutaka Take to do some schooling with her.  The good thing is she can run from any position and is able to adjust accordingly.”

Meisho Mambo
Meisho Mambo
Meisho Mambo - The 5-year-old mare by Suzuka Mambo would love to turn the clock back to 2013, when she won the Yushun Himba (Japanese Oaks), the Shuka Sho, and the Queen Elizabeth II Cup, to give owner and breeder of the horse, Yoshio Matsumoto, a bumper year.  Sadly, she’s been unplaced now since finishing second in the Victoria Mile in 2014, and finished fourteenth most recently to Nobori Diana in the Grade 2 Fuchu Himba Stakes.  There wouldn’t be a dry eye in the house if she could somehow manage to turn things around here.


Source (comments): Keiba Book

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