2016 News

November 24, 2016


Japan Cup (G1) - comments from five Japanese runners' connections


Sankei Sho All Comers (G2)
Gold Actor

Gold Actor (horse, 5)

Tadashige Nakagawa, trainer
“We put him behind the other horse in today’s workout to make sure he could settle, then moved him out in the stretch to see his responses. I think there was no problem with his movement. He continued to run for about a furlong after the finish line, which is how this horse usually trains. He was a bit heavy for the Sankei Sho All Comers since he was coming off a layoff, and even though we just planned to use that race as a sharpener, he gave us good results. He showed improvement with that race and the sheen on his coat has gotten better as well. I’d say he’s in convincing shape for a G1 and those were my intentions all along. Last year he raced in the 2,400-meter October Stakes at Tokyo before the 2,500-meter Copa Republica Argentina at the same venue, so I have no concerns about the course or the distance. I’m often asked if he has shown a lot of improvement since turning 5 years old and I can’t really pinpoint any one thing but I do think he’s filled out a bit. The Japan Cup is a big race, so just being able to run in it is quite an honor. He didn’t get very good results in the spring, but he has handled all the work we’ve given him for his fall campaign, so I think he’ll be able to give it his best and I’m hoping we’ll have your support.”

Hayato Yoshida, jockey
“He had a hard workout last week, so we eased off this week. His first place in the Sankei Sho All Comers followed quite a disappointing run in the Tenno Sho (Spring) and he showed that he really does have what it takes. The All Comers was an important race heading into the fall Grade 1s and he pulled it off with a good solid race. This horse has always been allowed to recover fully from each of his races before running in his next one so I don’t see anything different there. I think I’ll have ample horse under me to take on a Grade 1. He’ll be meeting a number of strong horses for the first time, so I’d like to go into this race considering ourselves a challenger. He’s an easy horse to ride and is talented all around. He doesn’t have any one special style of racing. I am concerned about all the horses in the field and there are a lot of good ones. If he can run his own race, it’ll be good. He’s a good racer and we’ve done what we could up to now. After that, it’s up to me to do my best riding him and to believe in him. I am very grateful to have been able to ride such a good horse, to have been paired with him from the start and moved up with him each step along the way. To compete now on a stage like this is like a dream to me. We’ll do our best and we ask for your support.”

Satsuki Sho (Japanese 2000 Guineas) (G1)
Dee Majesty

Dee Majesty (colt, 3)

Yoshitaka Ninomiya, trainer
“Last week, (jockey) Masayoshi Ebina rode him in work and we got a good time, so this week I put a horse in front of him and said, ‘Let Dee Majesty do as he wants with no pushing.’ He worked at his own pace and got almost the same time as last week, which was a very good time, so I think this is sufficient. Ebina said his movement felt good and since I’d said to just let him do as he wanted, he just breezed him. He did push him a little after he passed the finish line and I think he’s ready. He was experiencing a lot of new things all at once in the Kikuka Sho and I think he was a bit flummoxed. He gave it his all though and extended nicely in the finish and I think he raced his kind of race. Of course, there are all sorts of little problems, but with each new experience I think he’ll get stronger. I think right now that his best distance is from 2,000 meters to 2,500 meters. He has experience at Tokyo and I think he’ll give us a different race from what we saw over 3,000 meters. He’s a totally different horse from what he was in the spring. He has filled out a lot and his hindquarters are well-muscled now. I think he’s nearly at his best physically and he seems to change very quickly. It’s been ages since El Condor Pasa and the Japan Cup is a race that only a good horse can win. Everyone has done his best to have their horses at their best and I’m in there among them aiming for the top as well. I want him to have a good race for the sake of his future.”

Kyoto Daishoten (G2)
Kitasan Black

Kitasan Black (colt, 4)

Yutaka Take, jockey
“He raced in second position in his last race, the Kyoto Daishoten, and had no problems doing so. It was his first race of the fall, he was in good shape and even though he didn’t take the lead, he settled well. We raced in second position but that was something I decided from the break – I didn’t try to hold him back from the start. I think he has shown improvement with that race. I haven’t ridden him in work after that, but I’ve heard that he has done well. He’s never been a difficult horse to ride. He’s easy to control and an honest runner. I see that he has matured physically and gotten stronger. And he seems to have matured mentally with each race. I think he’s well-suited to Tokyo and it’s his best distance. I’m not cooking up any special strategies. I think he has a chance. He’s at his best now and I’m going to do my best to answer the fans’ expectations as a representative of Japan. Also, this is the 36th running of the Japan Cup and I think that number is a perfect fit for his owner (due to a word play on the owner’s name – Saburo Kitajima – and the number “36” in Japanese). I’d like to win and, in doing so, answer the owner’s expectations as well.”

Hisashi Shimizu, trainer
“He captured the Kyoto Daishoten in great form and pulled off a good start to his fall campaign. Racing in second position was not something I had instructed the jockey to do. The jockey gave him a great ride. He gave us excellent results and I give that preliminary a full 100 points. He’s looking like he’ll show improvement and I have no complaints whatsoever regarding his muscle tone and the condition of his coat. His work after that has all gone well and I am satisfied with it. We have the long trip to Tokyo and so I have only given him light work right before then. I think he’ll go to the gate well-prepared. I have no worries either concerning the venue or the distance. I had decided on this rotation from right after the Takarazuka Kinen – to take on the Japan Cup right after the Kyoto Daishoten. Truly, everything has gone as planned up until now. I am hoping for a race without mishap and hoping to rise to the expectations of his many fans.”

Copa Republica Argentina (G2) 
Cheval Grand

Cheval Grand (colt, 4)

Yuichi Fukunaga, jockey
“Last race, it was his first time with a long trip to the track for the race, he was running under the top weight and he was coming off a layoff. And yet amid all that, he answered the fans’ expectations and managed to win. The plan was to race him in the Japan Cup right after that and he ran well and came out of the race well, so I think it was an excellent preliminary. As for the racing to the left goes, from what I’ve seen of his agility racing to the right, I have no worries. He did poorly in the Takarazuka Kinen and I was unable to get the position I wanted, but he wasn’t in poor shape. I think it was more due to him having been at his peak for the Tenno Sho (Spring). This horse welcomes all the distance he can get and I’m hoping for a race that calls for stamina. He wasn’t overworked when he was younger and he filled out from about last fall and I now feel he is mature. I have never felt that he’s tired in his morning work. I’ll think of my racing strategy once the draw has been decided. The competition is tough and I’d like to bring out his stamina. He’s gotten better at the break, which is proof that he has gotten stronger. He hasn’t won a G1 race but he’s matured nicely and I’m eager to take this on as a challenger.”

Yasuo Tomomichi, trainer
“He was returning to the track after a spell last race, carrying 58 kg, traveling a long ways to the track for the first time and racing to the left for the first time, so we had lots to worry about. But, he won it easily. It was a good race to stand him well this time. The jockey rode him well and got good results and I’d give it full marks as a preliminary. There’s not much time between races so we’ve prepared him for this race while being careful not to tire him. He never moves that well in morning work, so we just pushed him only a little bit but he’s not tired. He has filled out and his gait is stronger. To me he feels stronger all around. His growth has steadied and he’s improved over the summer. He may lose some weight during the trip to the track but he has done good work in between races. He can handle a race with a strong pace and he’s very agile, so he won’t be bothered no matter how the race unfolds. The rest I leave up to the jockey. I think the horse is in the best shape he’s been in yet and all of us at the stable are looking forward to good results.”

Dubai Turf (G1)
Real Steel

Real Steel (colt, 4)

Takahide Ando, assistant trainer
“For his last race, the Tenno Sho (Autumn) we were worried about the summer heat and so we didn’t give him a preliminary run. He went into the Tenno Sho coming off a layoff and we thought it’d be a tough race, but he showed what he’s made of (finished second). He was able to move up the ranks even amid what was a very tough competition and showed his ability. The jockey did a good job keeping him calm and patient and it all tied together. He was rather stiff after that race, but he’s back at his best now. We have been trying to not get him too excited during work. On Tuesday, his time was a little faster than we had wanted but it looks like he was able to let off some steam. Today’s workout went well, with him quickening nicely in the finish. Ryan Moore got good results for us in Dubai and we can count on him since he has such a good handle on this horse. Everybody in the stable is hoping this horse can win a Grade 1 and I’m really looking forward to seeing how well he can do amid these members.”

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