2021 News

February 19, 2021


February Stakes (G1) - Comments from runners' connections
Air Almas
Air Almas

Air Almas (horse, 6)

Manabu Ikezoe, trainer
“He looks well and there shouldn’t be any problem transporting him to the track. He’ll be racing left-handed like last time, but this time there’s just the one turn in the race, so it should be smoother for him. He doesn’t like the kickback from the dirt, so we’ll have to see what draw he gets and how the flow of the race turns out, but it’s possible he might be held up for a late run. If things go his way and he can adjust accordingly, he’s capable of running a good race.”

Kohei Matsuyama, jockey
“With him having to transport a long way to the track, I’ve been careful not to overdo things in his training. His movement’s good and he’s changing leads smoothly.”

Air Spinel
Air Spinel

Air Spinel (horse, 8)

Kazuhide Sasada, trainer
“He did his hard work up to last week, so in his final piece of work it was just the finish we concentrated on. He’s running nice and straight with a good tempo. We’ve looked to this race for him. He’s eight years old, but his back is strong and I still think mentally he’s right there. He’s good at racing left-handed, and even if it’s a strong pace over the mile and he gets back in the field, it’s still possible for him to run on well towards the end of the race.”


Arctos (horse, 6)

Toru Kurita, trainer
“He’s become stronger as he’s gotten older, and he recovers from his races much better now. He ran a good race in this year’s Negishi Stakes, leading up to the February Stakes, even though he didn’t quite get going soon enough in the homestraight. Since that last race we’ve taken care of him and he’s fine with his training. His best distance is probably a mile and I don’t worry about which gate he might draw. I just want him to show his real power and ability.”

Hironobu Tanabe, jockey
“As there’s only a short interval between races, I’ve ridden him in training with this in mind. His balance can be a little difficult, but he’s worked well uphill on the woodchip course with two other horses, and he’s run well up to the finish. He’s calm before a race, and since he’s been taking on the stronger horses, he’s become a match for them.”

Tokai TV Hai Tokai Stakes (G2)

Auvergne (horse, 5)

Eiko Umeuchi, assistant trainer
“He’s had a break at the farm and he’s come back refreshed. These past two weeks he’s done just enough in training. He’s a brave horse who’s been more successful with age, particularly since last summer it’s been noticeable. The start this time is on turf, but I don’t think it’s a problem. He’s got good racing sense and gets into a position well. If the track’s wet, that will be alright for him as well. All in all, with the way he’s been running, a Grade 1 is certainly within his grasp.”

Unicorn Stakes (G3)
Cafe Pharoah

Cafe Pharoah (colt, 4)

Noriyuki Hori, trainer
“He’s been at the stable as we weren’t sure where he might run next considering his prize money, but he gets a run here in the February Stakes. Given this situation, it’s been fine preparing him for this race. Due to the COVID-19 restrictions, the jockey (Christophe Lemaire) hasn’t been able to work the horse, but every week I’ve been in touch with him about things. The horse has been using a ring bit and this has worked well, together with the fitting of cheekpieces also recently. It seems a good match, and communicating again with the jockey, we can say there’s a fresh condition about the horse now. It seems easy for him to race at Tokyo, and the one turn in the race is a plus.”


Helios (gelding, 5)

Ryo Terashima, trainer
“He took a little time to get rid of his tiredness after his last race, but since last week he’s been in better shape, and I’m more confident about him. He’s an easy horse to ride and he does have good speed. I think the extra furlong this time will be good for him, and if he gets a smooth run and things go right for him, he won’t be too far off some of the strong horses in the race.”


Inti (horse, 7)

Kenji Nonaka, trainer
“He might be a 7-year-old, but he’s still full of himself. He’s been moving well as usual, and he’s a bit tighter now. His breathing’s fine too. Rather than thinking about the other horses in the race, it’s important for him to concentrate on his own performance. He’s a horse that needs to get the feel for running the way he can, and to keep things going right up to the end of a race. So he’s reset again now for what I hope will be a big run this time.”

Mutually (horse, 5)

Yoshiyuki Yano, trainer
“Last year he’d been training quite hard uphill while at the farm and before coming back to the stable, and he was a bit tired going into the Kawasaki Kinen. He was also a bit more tense than usual and didn’t handle things well before the race. He seems to be better mentally now and looks to be in good shape, so I’m looking forward to what he might be able to do this year. It’ll be a tough race this time, but I think he’ll have something to give, and hopefully he’ll be there with a chance in the homestraight.”

Negishi Stakes (G3)
Red le Zele

Red le Zele (horse, 5)

Takayuki Yasuda, trainer
“There’s been a good feel to him in training, and I’ve made sure he hasn’t overdone things. His hindquarters are much stronger now than when he was a 3-year-old, and he doesn’t pull, so he can settle well in a race. Racing left-handed is fine for him and the start on turf should be good too. He shaped last time as if the extra distance would suit, and the way he ran leads him nicely into this next race. I’m looking forward to it.”

Yuga Kawada, jockey
“Since first riding him, he’s become a lot stronger and has more power now. He’s come along well in training, and I think he’ll be fine over a mile this time. He won well last time and I want to get the best out of him this time too.”

Smart Dandy (horse, 7)

Mamoru Ishibashi, trainer
“There’s no big change with him and he’s still good for his age. He’s been moving and working well on the woodchip course in training. He’s won at Tokyo and Chukyo, so racing left-handed isn’t a problem for him, neither is the distance of a mile. It’ll be his first Grade 1 race and so naturally the opposition will be strong, but I’m interested to see what he can do if he gets to run his own race.”

Soliste Thunder
Soliste Thunder

Soliste Thunder (horse, 6)

Daisuke Takayanagi, trainer
“His prize money is enough, and since his last run we’ve had this race in mind for him. He’s in good condition and I wonder just what sort of race he’s capable of here.”

Juntaro Taira, assistant trainer
“He recently ran on a small oval track (Kokura) over 1,700 meters and got a result, and last autumn he ran well in the Musashino Stakes at Tokyo over 1,600 meters, proving that he can perform well over the course and distance. I think he’s flexible enough and I’m not anxious about anything. It’ll be interesting to see what he can do in this Grade 1.”

Success Energy
Success Energy

Success Energy (horse, 7)

Yoshihito Kitade, trainer
“He’s in good condition and his movement is good. I think his last race will have got him switched on, even though he didn’t get a good result in the end. This time the distance is a mile, and in a race he doesn’t need to get caught up with other horses, so if he has an inside draw he can just get on with things accordingly. If he’s drawn to the outside, then just taking up a good position and getting into the flow of things would be the best for him.”

Tokyo Chunichi Sports Hai Musashino Stakes (G3)
Sunrise Nova

Sunrise Nova (horse, 7)

Hidetaka Otonashi, trainer
“He came back from the farm to the stable on January 26, and so there’s been enough time to work him satisfactorily. He might have seemed a little slow last week, but this week he worked with stablemate Indy Champ and was able to post a good time. His rotation is different from last year, so that should help him too.”

Kenichi Shono, assistant trainer
“He’s improved mentally and we feel better about him when he’s in the starting stalls. It’ll be the same course and distance as the Musashino Stakes last autumn, where he put in a strong performance carrying 58kg. He doesn’t seem like a 7-year-old. Even with just the one turn in the race, his experience at Tokyo should see him run well.”

Fuma Matsuwaka, jockey
“He’s in good condition and has tuned up well for this race. The Champions Cup distance was a bit long for him, but he’s good at Tokyo, as we saw when he won the Musashino Stakes two starts ago. His salespoint is getting in the big strides when it matters.”

Wide Pharaoh
Wide Pharaoh

Wide Pharaoh (horse, 5)

Takashi Kotaki, assistant trainer
“He’s been moving well, particularly at the finish in his training, and this past week his time has been better. The start of the race on turf, and the Tokyo mile, will both suit him. He’s a horse that likes to do things his way, so I suppose getting him to run according to the flow of the race is one of the keys. We’re hoping for a good run, with this being the last chance for the stable to win a Grade 1.”

Wonder Lider
Wonder Lider

Wonder Lider (horse, 8)

Shogo Yasuda, trainer
“I’m expecting him to wear blinkers this time, just to keep his concentration up. Taking into account his age, it’s probably his last chance for a big win, so it’s an all or nothing kind of situation. More than getting a position in the race, it’ll be more important to find his rhythm and then getting everything to work out for him in the run.”

Yamanin Imprime
Yamanin Imprime

Yamanin Imprime (mare, 7)

Kodai Hasegawa, trainer
“She’s looking good after having had a race and that’s improved her condition. With the short time in between races, we’ve taken care with her, but things have gone as expected. She can handle the short space between her runs well. The distance this time won’t be a problem and I think she has a good chance.”


Sources: Keiba Book, Net Keiba, Sports Hochi

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