2017 News

October 27, 2017


Tenno Sho (Autumn) (G1) - Comments from runners' connections
Hochi Hai Yayoi Sho (Japanese 2,000 Guineas Trial) (G2)
Cadenas (colt, 3)

Koichi Shirakura, assistant trainer
“He was coming off a layoff for the Kobe Shimbun Hai and his weight was up and he had good muscling. He broke well and ran smoothly. I’m thinking the reason he wasn’t able to quicken enough in the straight came down to the distance. After that race, he’s been eating well and things have gone according to plan. Last week, we worked him fast on the woodchip flat course and he got a nice time. He’s eager to run and alert. He’s in good shape. This time, it won’t be easy for him, with older horses at the Grade 1 level, but he has had good results over 2,000 meters.”

American Jockey Club Cup (G2)

Decipher (horse, 8)

Futoshi Kojima, trainer
“He ran into traffic problems coming into the straight in the All Comers, but I think he did his best. Thanks to the shadow roll he was wearing, he didn’t lose concentration. We kept him at the training center and he’s gotten regular work. On Oct. 18, he worked in tandem up the hill course. Like the time before, we had him work behind the other horse and put up with the chips flying in his face. He’s never been that good on the hill and the ground was bad, so the time was sufficient. We’ve had a lot of rain, and I’m hoping the ground will be a bit soft.”


Greater London
Greater London

Greater London (horse, 5)

Masahiro Otake, trainer
“He worked well in fast work this week, though we really were only interested in checking how he felt. I told the rider not to overdo it. Hironobu Tanabe was up this week. He has ridden a lot and he is always able to ride the kind of race I’m looking for. He’s also known this horse during his whole career and, today when he got up, I was relieved to hear him say, ‘He really feels good.’ Last race, this horse wanted to move going into the third turn but things got tight and he had to drop back. If he’d been able to get the position he wanted there, he’d have been closer. The horse has never been a good eater and there’s always the chance that he has some fatigue, so we’re taking excellent care of him and looking to do better than last race. There’s another typhoon on the way and it’s hard to know what the ground will be like. If the going is really bad that will be a minus, but a little bit of rain will actually be good for him. If he stays relaxed, I think the distance will be fine and he’ll put in a solid run.” 

Osaka Hai (G1)
Kitasan Black

Kitasan Black (horse, 5)

Hisashi Shimizu, trainer
“For the Takarazuka Kinen, he may still have been fatigued from having raced 3,200 meters in record time. He’s a clever horse and I feel he’ll stop racing on his own before he injures himself. Last week, we worked him as usual. We had a horse out in front and just turned the heat up in the stretch only. The ground was really heavy, so the time was about what I’d thought it would be. He hasn’t shown any big changes since the beginning of fall. As the race draws near, he’ll get himself ready. He knows himself better than anyone. His muscle tone gets better with each workout and the sheen on his coat has come out. He’s hardy and he has no problems that I would call problems. With his ability, he doesn’t need a prep. Even with time off, he gets results. (Jockey) Yu Kuroiwa rode work this week and things went as planned. The going was bad and the time reflected that. The horse is in good shape. Earlier, I’d given him three laps up the hill, but from the fall, we’ve been working on the woodchip flat course in tandem. There’s no deep meaning behind that – he just doesn’t need to be ‘trained’ that hard anymore. He’s ready and the focus is on keeping his breathing good.”


Lord Vent d'Or
Lord Vent d'Or

Lord Vent d'Or (colt, 4)

Mitsugu Kon, trainer
“For the Sapporo Kinen, he was back from a layoff and had lost tone. To be honest, he wasn’t in the best of shape. But even so, he did as well as he did. Things have gone well since we returned to Ritto from Hakodate and, at 510kg last week, he’s looking big. He hung on well for a second at Chukyo three races back and if he’s in good shape he can hold his ground well over a long stretch. The blinkers worked well last race, so I think we can expect more than what he gave us the race before that.”


Tokyo Yushun (Japanese Derby) (G1)

Makahiki (colt, 4)

Yasuo Tomomichi, trainer
“Things got tight right after the start in the Mainichi Okan and his balance was disrupted. It was the first time in a while for him to run at 1,800 meters and I think the change of pace kind of threw him. Thankfully, he came out of that race well and, because there isn’t much time between races, we just gave him a bit of work on the week and this week the stable staff rode him for fast work. That should be enough. If he looks good in the pre-parade ring on raceday, I think things will go well. Last start, he most definitely looked better than he had in the spring. He has come along nicely since his last start and maintained his condition. It’s an important race for him and I think he’ll be able to show his best over the Tokyo 2,000m. I’ve got my hopes up that we’ll see some good results.”

Nikkei Shinshun Hai (G2)
Mikki Rocket (left)

Mikki Rocket (colt, 4)

Hidetaka Otonashi, trainer
“Going into the Kyoto Kinen, he was in good shape, so I thought he’d do well even though it was after a layoff. But, he took the inside route and, at the final stages, it all came down to late speed, which was the reason he seemed to be uncomfortable in the end. In the Nikkei Shinshun Hai, he was chasing the others down the stretch the whole way, but he hung on so well and beat them. This horse’s best points are his ability to sustain his top speed for a long time and, last race he didn’t give us that. It was OK, but he has always had a tendency to lug out to the right and the jockey thinks he’ll do better racing to the left. I think 2,000 meters may be a bit short for him, but the Tokyo stretch should suit him. We worked him in tandem on Oct. 19 and gave him a good solid workout. Just a breeze this week should be enough. He’ll definitely show improvement.”

Nakayama Kinen (G2)

Neorealism (horse, 6)

Kazutomo Mori, assistant trainer
“At Sha Tin for the Audemars Piguet Queen Elizabeth II Cup, he showed his difficult side but the jockey handled that very well. After returning to Japan, we had him stabled at Hakodate but decided to withdraw from the Sapporo Kinen a week before the race due to hoof problems. He had some time off and has done well after coming back to the training center. He had a great workout with Satono Crown on Oct. 12 and his hooves still looked good after that. On Oct. 17, he weighed 527kg. With four turns to a race, it makes it easier to get a breather and, even though it’s been condition races, he has won nicely at Tokyo. I think if he can get a nice balanced run, he’ll do well. He’s calmer and more mature than he was in the spring.”

One and Only
One and Only

One and Only (horse, 6)

Shinsuke Hashiguchi, trainer
“In the Mainichi Okan, he was back to his usual unruly self and that’s a good thing. He had to cover some extra ground during his trip but he was always in a competitive position. He quickened in the final stages and he was no further back than the third-place finisher. I’d given him shorter distances from two races back and the jockey rode to make good use of his late speed. On Oct. 19, (jockey) Norihiro Yokoyama rode him up the hill course and clocked 55.3 seconds and the horse is still looking good. I think Tokyo is his best venue and distances in the 1,800-2,000-meter range suit him too. There are stronger horses in the lineup this time, but if he can run a race like he did last start, I’m looking forward to it”


Rainbow Line
Rainbow Line

Rainbow Line (colt, 4)

Keiichi Asami, assistant trainer
“The Tenno Sho (Spring) and the Takarazuka Kinen were both tough races for him, but after that we gave him time off and he spent the summer in the cool of Hokkaido. After he was all rested up, we brought him back to the training center and things have been going along well. He ran consistently in his starts in the spring, except for the Tenno Sho (Spring). And in the Takarazuka Kinen, he gave it an honest run and got as far as he did running on an unforgiving track. Last year, after the Kikuka Sho (Japanese St. Leger), he went up against older horses in the Japan Cup and showed us some good racing, so the Tokyo course isn’t a problem. He is fresh and I think he may even be in better shape now than he was for before his last start. He has a chance.”

Mainichi Okan (G2)
Real Steel

Real Steel (horse, 5)

Yoshito Yahagi, trainer
“As you would expect, the real goal was this race, so for the Mainichi Okan he still had room for improvement. And yet he did as well as he did. We’d been through a lot with him and I was really happy. He had time off and last year, the summer heat did him in, but this year we took him to Hokkaido early and got him ready there. I think he’ll show a lot improvement this time out. In work, I’ve been asking for times in the 52-second range, to be careful he’s well in hand in the first half and to quicken in the second half. He was already in good shape, so there’s no big change except for his breathing. That has gotten better. Especially as a 3-year-old, this horse was racing on natural aptitude alone but now he has really come into his own. I think of all the Grade 1 races held here, this is the one most suited to him. As for (jockey) Vincent Cheminaud, when I first saw him ride, I thought he and Real Steel would work well together. The jockey has had big wins and after he’s in the saddle, I’m leaving it all up to him.”


Sapporo Kinen (G2)
Sakura Empereur

Sakura Empereur (horse, 6)

Takashi Kanari, trainer
“For the Osaka Hai, I think the trip to the track took a lot out of him. He didn’t seem to do well with the change in surroundings. With the Hakodate Kinen, the going was bad and he drew wide, on top of it being his first race in a while. He’s the type that does well with a race under his belt. So, after Hakodate I took him to Sapporo and he weathered the trip well. Most of all, he had a different attitude going in to that race. We kept him at the training center after Sapporo and kept him in condition. Last week’s fast work was on a soft track and we pushed him pretty hard. He has always been physically and mentally strong and has done well up against strong horses. I don’t think we’ll see what we did in the the Osaka Hai.”


Yasuda Kinen (G1)
Satono Aladdin

Satono Aladdin (horse, 6)

Yasutoshi Ikee, trainer
“In the Mainichi Okan, he wasn’t keen but he had the bit in his teeth for the first half. The jockey there had a rough time of it. Still, to be carrying 58 kg and gain ground like he did in the last furlong was better than I’d expected him to do. I’d gotten him ready for that race with the Tenno Sho (Autumn) in our sights. He looks to have come out of the Mainichi Okan well and I think we can expect improvement. There’s little time between races, only two full weeks, so just a bit of work last weekend and this week should be enough. Looking at last race, I’d have to say that 1,800 meters is just about his limit. And we have an extra furlong this time, so yes, I’d say the distance is going to be key.”



Takarazuka Kinen (G1)
Satono Crown

Satono Crown (horse, 5)

Kazutomo Mori, assistant trainer
“He ran a very strong race in the Takarazuka Kinen. He had lost weight for the Osaka Hai and was quiet but he was back to his usual unruly self for the Takarazuka. Looking as good as he did with the results he got in that race, I think he could do just as well on ground that require more stamina. After he came back from time off, his muscling was better than it usually is and he has handled all the work he’s been given well. He weighed 508kg on Oct. 17 and with a good, strong workout this week, he should be ready. I don’t know why he hasn’t gotten results here before. Two years ago, the problem may have been his breathing, but 2,000 meters should be in his range. He may not be as well-suited to the distance as some of the others, but he’s in good shape.”



Nikkei Sho (G2)

Sciacchetra (colt, 4)

Norihisa Uemura, assistant trainer
“He has improved. It’s been one rest after another and for a horse that was only raced about three times in six months to take on two Grade 1 races in the spring, he’s shown a lot of fortitude. He was strong going in to the Takarazuka Kinen – honestly, he was a different horse from before and he raced right up there with Kitasan Black. He is suited to Hanshin but I think he did so well because he was stronger. Part of it’s due to having matured, but he’s up about 30kg. I think he’ll drop about 10kg during the trip to the track, so I think he’ll register about +10kg on raceday. He still hasn’t finished developing and he’s a bit lacking around his withers. He’s clever and doesn’t have any bad points. He can switch on and off well and he’s stable mentally. The question is whether he can handle three Grade 1s in a row. Before the Grade 1s, he’d only had easy races, and for the Tenno Sho (Spring) and Takarazuka Kinen, he carried 58 kg and they were tough races. But, he’s fresh now and really loose and those riding him say he’s the best he’s been.”


Yushun Himba (Japanese Oaks) (G1)
Soul Stirring

Soul Stirring (filly, 3)

Christophe Lemaire, jockey
“She felt really good today (after work Oct. 25) and I’m really happy with her. She has really gotten better. Her footwork and breathing are excellent. She always races well at length, with a big stride and a lot of power. This morning I had her gradually pick up speed in the backstretch and after the finish she wanted to run again. I think she’s in perfect shape. She was very easy to ride in work, balanced and she quickened in a relaxed manner. Last time out, she was back from a layoff and felt very tense. This time there were no problems. She was relaxed and breathing. I have no worries – I’m confident. Last race the 1,800m was too busy for her. When we turned in to the straight, she came under pressure from the outside right away and her turn of foot was a bit slow because of that. I think things will be different at 2,000 meters. If there’s a good pace, then I’ll be able to make the most of her stamina and her ability to run at a good speed at length. The level of competition is high but there are a lot of popular horses that are coming off layoffs. She has been raced and I think that is where she has a chance. It’ll be tough if the pace is slow, as I’d like to get a position right out of the gate. The ground was really bad last week and even if there isn’t much rain this week, the ground may be soft. In the Oka Sho (Japanese 1000 Guineas), where the ground was a bit soft, her balance was off. So that is a worry.”


Saudi Arabia Royal Cup Fuji Stakes (G3)

Staphanos (horse, 6)

Hideaki Fujiwara, trainer
“In the All Comers, he got overtaken in the end, but he did quicken nicely the whole way. He got good results even though he’d had time off. We kept him at the training center after that and aimed him here. Last week we breezed him on the woodchips, just enough to check how he was in the finish. We’ve taken good care of him and he’s the type that does well with a sharpener. He has improved as expected and I think he’ll head into the big race in good shape. He’s more agile now and able to carry himself very well. These past two years, he finished second and third, so of course the distance is OK for him. What’s different this time is that he’s had four full weeks between races and he’ll be fresher. If he can run his own race, he should do well.”


Kinko Sho (G2)
Yamakatsu Ace

Yamakatsu Ace (horse, 5)

Kaneo Ikezoe, trainer
“In the Sapporo Kinen, he moved on his own and went for the win, but he was marked by the eventual winner and runner-up. It wasn’t a bad race. He has come along well since then and, two weeks ago after a hard workout, he improved a lot. Last week, we pushed him hard over the last 3 furlongs and his movement was good. This week, since we have the trip to the track, we’ll just breeze him, which should be enough. He’s in good shape. Last year things didn’t unfold to his liking. This year, I didn’t race him in the Takarazuka Kinen and narrowed things down. He is definitely in better shape than he was last year. He won the Kinko Sho twice, which shows 2,000m is his best distance. With the strong competition this time, I want him to ease into position and if he gets a good ride, I think he has a chance.”


Sources: Keiba Book, Netkeiba, Keiba Lab

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