2020 News

June 5, 2020


Yasuda Kinen (G1) - Comments from runners' connections
Admire Mars
Admire Mars

Admire Mars (colt, 4)

Yasuo Tomomichi, trainer
“After Dubai was cancelled, he returned about a week later, then went through quarantine. I brought him back to the training center earlier than is normal returning from a spell. I had Yuga Kawada push him hard on May 27 working over the woodchip course with two other horses. At the racecourse and in track work, he can be a bit stubborn and not overly eager to run. Kawada knows this and was able to give him a good, hard workout. His responses were good. On Sunday, he worked up the hill and Wednesday on the flat again. The assistant breezed him this week with just a bit of a push at the end for a time of about 80 seconds over 6 furlongs. It’ll be 6 months since his last race but you couldn’t tell that from looking at him. He seems to have gotten taller since returning from Dubai and definitely is bigger all around. His strongpoint is being able to run at a speed at length. A decent pace would be good for him.”

Victoria Mile (G1)
Almond Eye

Almond Eye (mare, 5)

Sakae Kunieda, trainer
“Last year, up against male horses in the Yasuda Kinen, a lot happened, but she did run well. The Fuchu (Tokyo Racecourse) 1,600 is an easy race for her and if she runs normally I think it’ll go well. And we’ll likely have a fast track, which is good. After the Victoria Mile, I waited to see how she was doing. She looked good and it had been an easy win for her, so she’d come out of the race well. So, I figured she could run again with only 2 full weeks for training in between. I decided to come here. It’s her first time with so little time between starts but mentally she’s very relaxed and very calm. Looking at her fast work this week, I’d say there’s nothing to worry about. She has always moved well in work but I had her work with a partner and told the rider if that horse wasn’t moving well to just move ahead early. It was an ideal workout. If she can get a run like she had in the Victoria Mile, that will be ideal.”

Nakayama Kinen (G2)
Danon Kingly

Danon Kingly (colt, 4)

Keita Tosaki, jockey
“This was the first time I was an injured and I was raring to be back riding. But the injury was worse than I’d thought and it took a while to heal. But I’m totally recovered now. Naturally, I was this horse over his last three starts and I think he has matured and that he ran well for Norihiro Yokoyama. He really broke well in the Osaka Hai and since no other horses were moving to take the lead and because this one was in great shape, for him to take the lead was a good decision. He gave it his best to the end. What I’ll do this time depends on the draw and the horses around me and what I’m thinking after he breaks. In track work he is moving well from the start, perhaps a little too well, but he does feel good. He has a great turn of foot and his responses are good, those are his two best points.”

Danon Premium
Danon Premium

Danon Premium (horse, 5)

Teruhiko Saruhashi, assistant trainer
“Honestly, there were a lot of unknowns for his trip to Australia and the Queen Elizabeth Stakes but he wasn’t bothered by the change in surroundings and he got to the race just fine. Still, the going was really bad and he was tired by the end. The winner was particularly well-suited to such ground. After quarantine, this horse went to the farm for a bit and came back to Ritto on May 21. His workout on May 24 was what you’d expect for his first work in a while but his fast work later that week was wasn’t bad. It was an improvement on Sunday’s. He has had work all along but is showing no signs of fatigue from his trip to Australia. Actually, I think he’s a bit more on his toes now than he was then. He’s on his game. His weight last week was 508 kg and I feel he’s about the same as he was before going overseas. Physically, I see no problems. He’s a strong horse and I hope he’ll run solidly to the end.”

Keio Hai Spring Cup (G2)
Danon Smash

Danon Smash (horse, 5)

Takayuki Yasuda, trainer
“I’d been concerned before the Keio Hai Spring Cup, because compared to how he was going in to the Takamatsunomiya Kinen, the sheen on his coat and other things just didn’t seem quite right. But he moved quickly to the top from the gate and even though he was chased by the eventual runnerup the whole way, he was able to pull away at the end. It was a strong race and I don’t think it gets any better. Initially, I hadn’t planned to race him here but his heart and coat all got better after his last start, so I decided to run him. There are only 2 full weeks in between races so I’m not giving him hard work but I do expect him to be in better shape than he was for his last start. He’s had mainly sprints recently and it being the Tokyo mile, it’s going to feel longer than the extra furlong it is from his last outing. The members are strong, so an aggressive race would be difficult. I’d like to see him hold back a bit and keep something in reserve for the finish.”

Hanshin Cup (G2)
Gran Alegria

Gran Alegria (filly, 4)

Kazuo Fujisawa, trainer
“Last out in the Takamatsunomiya Kinen, she did really well up against male horses and older horses. But, it was her first time over 1,200 meters and she was at a bit of a loss. This time, she’s used to the distance. The field is strong but she has raced at Tokyo a number of times before. I don’t think she’ll have any problems. After the Takamatsunomiya Kinen, she went to the farm for a bit and since it had been a tough race, getting her ready for here took longer than usual. She came back to the training center about a month ago and all has gone according to plan. She always moves well in the mornings, so I’ve been careful not to let her overdo it. Kenichi Ikezoe rode her last start and he said she’s an easy ride. I think he’ll do a good job. She’s won an all-female Grade 1 (Oka Sho (Japanese 1000 Guineas)) but she hasn’t done well up against male horses. The bar is high this time, but I’m hoping she’ll give it her best.”

Yomiuri Milers Cup (G2)
Indy Champ

Indy Champ (horse, 5)

Yuichi Fukunaga, jockey
“The Yomiuri Milers Cup lineup was such where I thought he really shouldn’t lose and the small field made reading the race easy. The most important thing was that he’d had a prep before that and his movement in the preliminaries was quite different from what it is without one. He has a lot of quirks but that was part of the attraction. I had the impression from before being asked to ride him that he was a difficult horse and that he had difficulties at the break. Now, a lot of that has been fixed. Physically, he seems to have fully matured from last autumn, from just before the Mainichi Okan. He has really good acceleration and I think the mile is his limit. His start has improved and he’s able to use that acceleration to get a good position now, which is a big plus. He’s also able to handle a slow place. His strength is his versatility.”

Keiai Nautique
Keiai Nautique

Keiai Nautique (horse, 5)

Osamu Hirata, trainer
“He’d been in good shape for the Keio Hai Spring Cup and I’d been looking forward to it. But, just when he’d taken the bit to make his move, he was blocked on the outside. He’s been blocked in the straight so many times before. He hasn’t been able to show what he’s got but I also think the cheekpieces he had on for the first time helped. There’s not much time between races, so I breezed him up the hill on May 27 at about 56 seconds. His movement was good. He’s as full of energy as he was when he was younger and I’d say he’s just right. I think it’d be better not to go for a position right from the start but to wait until he’s well on the bit and then make his move early. Tokyo is his best venue. Things haven’t gone well for a while now, so I’m hoping it all comes together for him this time.”

Lord Derby Challenge Trophy (G3)

Kluger (horse, 8)

Tomokazu Takano, trainer
“He was really full of energy for the Lord Derby Challenge Trophy last start and I could tell he was in good condition. That race left nothing to be desired. He really ran well. His assigned weight wasn’t an advantage either and it was a strong win under 57 kg. I think he showed his strength. We sent him to the farm after that, then returned to the training center with this race as our target. Rather than say we’re looking for improvement, we’re training him in such as a way as to best maintain his condition. In his last two starts, he’s been able to race from a good position. And I think the present ground at Tokyo will suit him. But, the field this time is going to be extremely strong. I’m thinking maybe it would help if it would rain.”

Takamatsunomiya Kinen (G1)
Mr Melody

Mr Melody (horse, 5)

Nobuyuki Tashiro, assistant trainer
“He looked good under way in the JBC Sprint but he wasn’t able to quicken over the final furlong. I don’t think it was the dirt or anything like that. I have the feeling he was bothered by his first race with four turns. After that, he went to the farm and then we aimed him for Dubai. He got there and it was cancelled, so he came back to Japan and went to the farm again, then returned to the training center about a month ago. It’s been a long time since his last race but he’s come along well. His movement was good in work last week. It’ll be his first mile in about 2 years and he has finished within 0.2 seconds of the winner in a Grade 1 mile at Tokyo (2018 NHK Mile Cup). Now that he’s older he’s able to settle better, so I don’t think he’ll have a problem. And it’s a course with only one turn, which he’s used to. From watching how he changes leads, it’s clear he’s better racing to the left.”

Fuji Stakes (G3)

Normcore (mare, 5)

Kiyoshi Hagiwara, trainer
“Almond Eye was strong in the Victoria Mile, but if this horse’s start had been better, I think she could have finished better. She was lean and looking good. Even though she was slow out of the gate, she still ran well and her time was fine for a fast 1,600 at Tokyo. After that, we decided we’d go to the Yasuda Kinen depending on how she came out of the race, and since we didn’t see any problems, she had her first fast work last Friday. Her movement was fine and I think she’ll go to the gate looking as she did before the Victoria Mile. The lineup is strong but these conditions suit her. There’s always a scattering at the start, so I’m hoping she’ll come through well and show what she’s got.”

Persian Knight
Persian Knight

Persian Knight (horse, 6)

Hiroshi Kanetake, assistant trainer
“Dubai was cancelled, so we sent him to the farm for a while after he cleared quarantine. He returned to Ritto on May 5 and since he hadn’t raced, he was very fresh. He has worked on the woodchip flat over distance every week at a good pitch and his movement has been good. In fast work on May 27, he looked even more on his toes than he had the week before and his movement had improved. He’s always been a horse that does better with a sharpener so I don’t know how he’ll do without one, but he will be in good shape on raceday.”

Hakodate Sprint Stakes (G3)
Seiun Kosei

Seiun Kosei (horse, 7)

Hiroyuki Uehara, trainer
“In his last race, the Keio Hai Spring Cup, he had more distance at 1,400 meters and was able to keep something in reserve for the finish, which helped. He was well in hand too and, unlike earlier, when he’d get bothered if another horse came up from behind, he didn’t show any of that in the stretch last time. I’d taken his head cover off to wake him up a bit and I think that helped too. I think he reaped a lot from that race. Looking at that race, I think the mile should work for him. And, it’ll be good if he can hold back and then drive hard in the finish. Otherwise, nothing has changed. Tokyo is favoring those running close to the pace now too and after that it’ll just depend on the trip he gets.”

Vin de Garde
Vin de Garde

Vin de Garde (colt, 4)

Nobuyuki Tashiro, assistant trainer
“In the Yomiuri Milers Cup, the gate opened at just the wrong moment and when it’s a graded-stakes race, breaking late hurts. Still, he was able to quicken up the far outside, which I think was proof of just how much talent he has. On May 28 he worked on the woodchip flat course and was nice and relaxed and ran especially well over the final furlong. We pushed him pretty hard. He’d had a short trip to the farm after his last race but his preparations went well as usual and he’s looking good. He missed the break in the race before last too, and his lack of concentration is a bit of an issue. But, recently, he’s had no problems during gate practice. He’s always a bit wired so I’m not worried about that. His best is still to come but he has learned to settle better and he has matured. I’m looking forward to seeing how well he can do up against this kind of competition.”


Sources: Keiba Book, Netkeiba

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