2015 News

December 4, 2015


2015 Champions Cup (G1) - comments from Japanese runners' connections
February Stakes (G1)
Copano Rickey
Copano Rickey (horse, 5)

Akira Murayama, trainer
“In the JBC Classic, he took the lead and we kept him out there. It was good that he could continue at his own pace, and his previous race had done him well too. That race had been his first after returning from a layoff due to a fracture and he was in good shape so I’d had my hopes up, but his wind wasn’t good enough. Last race, however, he ran solidly to the end. After that we kept him at the training center with this race as our aim. His fast work on the 26th over the woodchips looked good and with this week’s workout as well all should be fine. His training has gone well heading into this race and he should go to the gate in fine shape. I want him to start well and stay out in front so he doesn’t get any of the kickback in his face. If he can get a smooth trip, he should be able to give it his all.”


Corin Berry
Corin Berry
Corin Berry (filly, 4)

Jiro Ono, trainer
“She had just moved to my stable so I felt I’d fulfilled my responsibility when she won the JBC Sprint. I’d had my eye on her all along, from when she was a yearling, and when I saw her in the Tokyo Hai I’d thought that she could win the Sprint if she got a good trip. The going favored the frontrunners and she had a good draw and a good start. Most of all, the jockey was prepared for the worst and rode her accordingly. On the 18th she had a workout at 15-15 and a week ago because of the rain we worked her on the 27th over the artificial surface. Her movement was good as usual. The most important thing is that all has gone well. With an eye to the February Stakes, I thought it best to race her here instead of in some sprints. From her physique and her temperament I don’t think she’s a dyed-in-the-wool sprinter. I look at our bid in this race as us rising to the challenge.”


Danon Liberty
Danon Liberty (colt, 3)

Hidetaka Otonashi, trainer
“Last time out, on top of a wide draw he started from the back and had to use quite a bit of speed to the first turn. Then he raced wide around all four turns, so he used up everything early, so the results he got were to be expected. He was borderline as far as earnings went, so I had nominated him for the Urawa Kinen as well, but the distance there would have been long and given us less time in between races. It took him a bit of time to get over the last race but we got into the lineup here and that’s the most important thing. He recovered so I upped the pitch of his training. He can win running counterclockwise as he showed in Niigata. The jockey will be up for the first time but I think that will actually be better since he won’t have any preconceptions of this colt.”


Grand City
Grand City
Grand City (horse, 8)

Ikuo Aizawa, trainer
“For the JBC Classic his weight was up but he was in really good shape. But I think having both blinkers on worked against us. When the jockey raised his goggles, the horse mistook it for the go-sign and the horse sped off. I think the reason for him losing in such a big way was due in part to that. We worked him hard on the 26th and he was a bit heavy still. We pushed him this week as well so I think he’s ready. He didn’t make the cut last year due to a lack of earnings, but he got a second in the (Tokai TV Hai) Tokai Stakes at the beginning of this year, and I don’t think he’s showing signs of age. He’s suited to this course, but won’t be a popular pick, which means the pressure will be off. This time I plan to put a blinker only over his left eye.”


 February Stakes (G1)
Grape Brandy
Grape Brandy (horse, 7)

Takayuki Yasuda, trainer
“In the last race, the (Tokyo Chunichi Sports Hai) Musashino Stakes, he was keen and then came up empty in the end. But, it’s good to have run all out like that before the main objective, this race. He hasn’t run all out much coming off a layoff and since he improves with a race, I think this last race will stand him well this time. He has let off steam and his muscle tone has improved. We worked him at 15-15 on the hill course on the 26th and 29th and hard up the hill this week. This year, we’ve had no mishaps and he’ll go to the gate able to give it all he’s got. The lineup is strong so it won’t be easy but if he can keep the contenders ahead of him and save something for the finish, I think he has a crack at it.”


2014 Champions Cup (G1)
Hokko Tarumae
Hokko Tarumae (horse, 6)

Katsuichi Nishiura, trainer
“He was coming off a layoff last time out in the JBC Classic, but he’d been doing better in training than he had the year before so I thought he would do well in the race. He got a bit keen in the backstretch and I guess that was due to the time off after all. After that, we have gotten him ready with this race in mind. On the 26th, we gave him a good hard run up the hill course. He still felt as good as usual and his time was in the 51-second range, which is good for him, so I’d say it was a good workout. He’s the type of horse that improves dramatically with a race. Jockey Miyuki pushed him hard this week up the hill course too. His footwork wasn’t as sharp last race with the layoff but he does improve. He has gotten a lot of work in the meantime and I think he’ll be able to fully access his power.”

Hideaki Miyuki, jockey
“Last week, I pushed him hard in fast work and he felt really good so this week I just focused on his acceleration in the finish. He has definitely improved from last race.”


Kurino Star O
Kurino Star O
Kurino Star O (horse, 5)

Yoshitada Takahashi, trainer
“The going in the Miyako Stakes was bad and the pace picked up around the third turn and there was no place for a breather. He finished fifth and I think if you consider the pace, he ran well. His hooves were OK after the race and I wanted to take on the challenge of the Champions Cup. He has got the one race behind him now and I think he’ll go to the gate in better shape than he was for his previous race. Last year he wasn’t able to change leads well running to the left, but I think he’s got a handle on that now. He’s on his game and I’m looking forward to seeing just how much he has matured.”


Namura Victor
Namura Victor
Namura Victor (horse, 6)

Nobuharu Fukushima, trainer
“He didn’t want to be loaded last time out in the Sirius Stakes and then he missed the jump in a big way and ended up running from the rear. He made up ground in the stretch but it’d have been asking too much to do any more than he did. He cleared the gate test again with no problem and then, since he had sufficient earnings, we decided to take him to the Champions Cup. We decided to pass on the Miyako Stakes and gave him lots of work instead. Last week he worked up the hill course in 54.9 seconds, but he never looks good in morning work. If he works happy, that’s enough. He failed miserably in the Tokai Stakes at the beginning of the year so I guess he had some fatigue left. I have the impression that the left-handed Chukyo track suits him and because he’s good over a very dry track, I’m hoping for clear skies. I think he has a chance.”


Nihonpiro Ours
Nihonpiro Ours
Nihonpiro Ours (horse, 8)

Yuki Ohashi, trainer
“Last race, in hindsight, I think the position he raced in was too far back. It can’t be helped but I think if he had raced from a more forward position he may have finished a lot better. It was a shame. Last week, we focused on the finish and haven’t eased off on his work after his last race. He is eight years old after all and didn’t change for the better or the worse after that race. He looks a bit heavy but he’s in good shape and has maintained the condition he had for last race in a good way. Last week, he got a strong gallop working in tandem and this week he worked solo. He isn’t raising his head and he’s running relaxed and in a good mood. His tone is good and he’s in good shape. It may be too much to ask for what he used to be able to give us but he will go to the gate in good condition. Whatever the results, I just want to see a race we won’t have regrets about. That’s all.”


Tokyo Chunichi Sports Hai Musashino Stakes (G3)
Nonkono Yume
Nonkono Yume (colt, 3)

Yukihiro Kato, trainer
“The surface was good in the Musashino Stakes and he had a hard time keeping up with the pace a fast 34.4 seconds over the first three furlongs. But in the stretch he showed his usual late kick. I had the impression that the 58 kg he was carrying did take the edge off his usual sharpness but he caught and passed them all nicely at the finish line. There are only three weeks in between races so I breezed him on the 29th on the woodchip course. He’s doing well and has recovered from his last start. He’s always been full of pep. I feel he’s maturing gradually. The experience of a fast pace last race was good for him. Chukyo is not well suited to horses who run off the pace, but with the distance being 1,800 meters it should be a bit easier for him than the mile last time. It’s a top-class race up against older horses but I’m looking forward to seeing how far he can go.”


Miyako Stakes (G3)
Roi Jardin
Roi Jardin (colt, 4)

Hirofumi Toda, trainer
“The pace was fast in the Miyako Stakes and I would have liked to see a bit better response when it came down to the crucial moments, but in the end he showed real guts and he quickened well. He was carrying less than the other runners and that along with a ground-saving trip were big factors in the win. There was nearly no damage from that race and he recovered quickly from the race, especially considering that the track had been sloppy. We gave him a fast workout on the 19th and there were absolutely no problems. He’s had three fast workouts since and I think he’s looking good for his third start following the layoff. He’s still developing but he has put on muscle. We’ll see how well he can do amid this lineup of top dirt horses.”


Elm Stakes (G3)
Roman Legend
Roman Legend (horse, 7)

Nobuyuki Tashiro, assistant trainer
“We were racing to win in the Miyako Stakes but he only ran third. The way the race unfolded made it a difficult one. He did make the top spots though and if you consider the weight he was carrying he held his ground well until the end. I think he gave a good performance despite it being his first time back after a fracture. The times were fast in the final stages but he pulled out of the race OK. He was back in training immediately and there shouldn’t be any problems even though there’s not much time between races. He worked on the woodchip course on the 26th in tandem and, although the other horse was a lower-level horse, this one got a good run and caught and passed him nicely. The ground was sloppy but he clocked 11.9 seconds over the last furlong. It was a good workout. He’s on his toes and looks like he has improved with the sharpener. Jockey Iwata rode him hard up the hill course this week. This year, he had some races where he couldn’t travel smoothly but when he has a solid run he has finished well. He definitely has a chance and I very much want him to capture a JRA big race.”


Sambista in the 2014 JBC Ladies' Classic
Sambista (mare, 6)

Norihiko Kishimoto, assistant trainer
“In the JBC Ladies Classic she got a good position and was in the lead at one point in the stretch. I think she gave what she had, but I think with the winning margin being what it was (5 lengths), I’d like to congratulate the winner on quite a race. She stayed at the training center and has gotten work as usual. We worked her on the flat course in tandem on the 26th and pushed her quite hard. Her gait was smooth for her and compared to her work before the last race, her gallop is suppler now. I don’t think her action has deteriorated in any way. This year, she’ll be up against some real top-level male horses. I’m hoping the jockey will be able to work his magic.”


Sound True
Sound True
Sound True (gelding, 5)

Noboru Takagi, trainer
“The JBC Classic unfolded in such a way as to favor Copano Rickey going wire to wire, but this horse ran solidly in the straight, showed good acceleration and was able to pass Hokko Tarumae to finish second. Seeing that, I realized he has gotten a lot stronger. We worked him in tandem with Meiner Frost on the woodchips on the 26 th. He was in good shape for last race and has maintained that. It’s often the case that the Chukyo dirt track favors the frontrunners so I think it would be ideal if he could get a run like he had in the Nippon TV Hai, where there was a close battle up front and he could move up from further back. In the NAR races you often see a long drawn-out field but in the JRA races you’re likely to have the field more clumped together even with a good bit of pace. The question is how well he’ll be able to handle that kind of race.”


Wonder Acute
Wonder Acute
Wonder Acute (horse, 9)

Masao Sato, trainer
“Last time out in the Mile Championship Nambu Hai, the winner made his move early but this horse displayed his characteristic style and was able to gain ground. If you compare it to the race before that I think you could say he rallied well. He had a slight fever from the trip to the track so I gave him a bit of time off. He recovered quickly, however, and he handled the two fast workouts I had planned for him well. This week the jockey breezed him over the woodchips. His movement and times aren’t bad and I think he’ll go to the gate in good shape. The competition will be stronger but I think he’ll measure up if he can run nicely balanced as usual and run his own race. I’m expecting him to draw on his great deal of experience and give us a good run.”



Sources: Keiba Book, Sports Nippon, Net Keiba

Champions Cup (G1) related contents