2021 News

March 26, 2021


Takamatsunomiya Kinen (G1) - Comments from runners' connections
A Will a Way
A Will a Way

A Will a Way (mare, 5)

Tomokazu Takano, trainer
“In the Ocean Stakes last out there wasn’t any decent pace and that’s the worst thing for her. The race unfolded in such a way that the frontrunners had the advantage. But having given her that race really helped. She has greatly improved. This week in fast work, she moved really well, is very much on her toes and her condition is good. I know that Chukyo isn’t very suited to horses that race from far off the pace so I’m not thinking the venue suits her but we won’t know how things will go until we try it. I’m hoping things will unfold in her favor.”

Astra Emblem
Astra Emblem

Astra Emblem (gelding, 8)

Shigeyuki Kojima, trainer
“For the March 6 Ocean Stakes I’d hoped he’d travel closer to the front but he missed the break and ended up in the rear. The race unfolded to give those up front the advantage. Jockey Makoto Sugihara rode morning work on the flat March 18 and got after him so he’d be switched on. It being a G1 sprint, he is just where I want to have him. The competition is strong but I don’t really feel that there is that much difference. It’ll all come down to what kind of trip he can get and I hope he doesn’t do anything embarrassing. Of course, it’s no good if the track is in real bad shape but if the inside is a bit worn it’ll be easy to move up easily coming into the final turn, which would be very good for him.”

Daimei Fuji
Daimei Fuji

Daimei Fuji (horse, 7)

Naoyuki Morita, trainer
“In his last race, the Ocean Stakes, he only made gradual progress up the stretch, but he did stick it out and it was a good, solid run. I’d have liked him to have gotten a gate a bit more to the inside. He did run well coming from the outside like he did though. There isn’t much time between races so my main concern was getting him freshened up and over any fatigue. I didn’t clock him at all. He’s been raced regularly so he is in good physical shape. I don’t see any need to time him in workouts except for this final week. My biggest hope is that he’ll get an inside gate. There is a lot of speed in the lineup so I’d like him to go forward from the gate, secure a good position and keep something in reserve for the final push home. He’s 7 years old now but he’s full of energy. I’m looking forward to seeing how he’ll do.”

Hanshin Cup (G2)
Danon Fantasy

Danon Fantasy (mare, 5)

Yuya Katayama, assistant trainer
“She was slow out of the gate in the Hankyu Hai and I think that’s where she lost the race. I think she loaded too quickly and the timing was off. Having to race from the rear was something she couldn’t overcome. She stayed at the training center after that, didn’t look fatigued from the race at all, and recovered immediately. She’s been eating well and has maintained her condition. The jockey rode her over the woodchip flat course on March 18. It was a little too fast but all has gone well otherwise. She wasn’t able to notch another win over the mile but she did win the Hanshin Cup over 1,400 meters. Looking at that race, I’d have to say 1,400 meters is her best distance but 1,200 meters is within reach.”

Danon Smash
Danon Smash

Danon Smash (horse, 6)

Takayuki Yasuda, trainer
“I wasn’t in Hong Kong for the Hong Kong Sprint but I was so happy when I heard the results. It was after winning that race that I decided to go straight to the Takamatsunomiya Kinen. He broke well and got away smoothly, eased off a bit, then went into the straight looking like he had a lot left in the tank. He easily overtook those in front. After quarantine he went to the farm and when he returned I saw no signs of fatigue. He’d had a very good rest. He wasn’t agitated at all and had a real good air about him. He hasn’t been able to get good results in this race yet so I’m very much hoping he can do well this time. He has gotten a good bit of solid training through last week and since I want him to be relaxed this week after some cantering on the dirt course, he trained up the slope. He looked sharp and clocked 54.1 seconds over four furlongs with the final 200 meters in 12 seconds. He’s in very good shape. The older he gets the stronger he gets. The weather forecast calls for rain over the weekend and I don’t think that will be a help. It’s supposed to be good through Saturday though so I’m hoping there won’t be enough rain to make the track any heavier than slightly heavy. He won last year at Tokyo, so he’s by no means not suited to a lefthanded track. The weather is what concerns me.”

Keeneland Cup (G3)
Eighteen Girl

Eighteen Girl (mare, 5)

Yuji Iida, trainer
“She’s a tougher horse than you’d think she’d be, as can be seen by her Hokkaido races last summer. Though she was surely tired from the long trip from Ritto to Hokkaido, she raced, then only two weeks later raced again and won. In work on March 18, another horse rushed up next to her and that caused her to go faster than I’d wanted her to. But, she was patient to the end, which was a good lesson for her. There isn’t much time between races but she’s looking good. The pace last out on March 6 was too slow. And the race before that was even slower. I’m not as concerned about it being over a counter-clockwise track, but she didn’t get good results at Chukyo before and I think the track may not suit her. Chukyo is a point of concern and, in a top-level race, you really need everything to come together just right to win. Her strongpoint is her turn of foot and late speed. I’m doing everything I can to help her be able to bring that out. After that, it’ll be up to what happens on the day. I’m hoping things come together.”

Indy Champ
Indy Champ

Indy Champ (horse, 6)

Hidetaka Otonashi, trainer
“Two races ago, in the Hanshin Cup, he traveled from too far back. And, he had been a bit sluggish in trackwork before the Hankyu Hai, so I think he wasn’t at his best at that time. I usually send him to the farm after a race but this time I kept him at the training center to get him leaner. He’s gotten the extra weight off and his times have been good. Leading up to this race, he has had regular work and his last race has sharpened him up. His movement and footwork in morning work are good and I think this time he’ll be able to access his full power. This race will definitely be high-paced and I think he’ll be able to shift up a few gears in the final stage, so I’d like to see him break well and travel midfield. After that, I hope the rider will be able to bring out the best of his acceleration.”

Mainichi Broadcast. Swan Stakes (G2)

Katsuji (horse, 6)

Akishi Higashida, assistant trainer
“He was slow out of the gate in the Hankyu Hai and wasn’t able to keep up with the pace. The race favored the horses running on the pace and, overall, things just didn’t come together for him. He came out of the race just fine and things have gone smoothly since. The jockey (Yuji Nakai) rode him last week and gave him a solid workout. He was able to handle more than we’d expected. He is a horse who does well in trackwork, his footwork wasn’t bad and I think he’ll show improvement with the sharpener under his belt. The track at Chukyo now is slow and I think that is good for him. It’s six furlongs and the lineup is strong. Even if he breaks well, it’s going to be hard for him to travel on the pace.”

Lauda Sion
Lauda Sion

Lauda Sion (colt, 4)

Takashi Saito, trainer
“The Silk Road Stakes was his first 1,200-meter race in a long time. And as is usual, he does better racing to the left. He got a good position and, with an eye to the Takamatsunomiya Kinen, I think it helped get a feel for what he can do. Last year keeping him at the training center before the Mile Championship caused him to get too strongheaded, so I sent him to the farm this time. After he returned, everything went according to plan and last week the jockey (Mirco Demuro) rode work. This week I’m just fine-tuning him. He likes this time of year when it’s warming up. I expect to see improvement from last race.”

Shion Stakes (Shuka Sho Trial) (G3)
Maltese Diosa

Maltese Diosa (filly, 4)

Takahisa Tezuka, trainer
“Up through the Shuka Sho, I’d raced her over mid distances partly because she’d run almost solely against other fillies her age, but also because I thought she was naturally more suited to shorter distances. Thus, her first race over 1,400 meters last out in the Hanshin Cup. As expected, she handled the speed just fine, and did well up against older horses for the first time. She went to the farm after that and came back to Miho around mid February. I’ve targeted her for the Victoria Mile but wanted to give her one race before that, so decided on this one. The long time between races isn’t a problem. In fact, she’s a horse that does better with an easier rotation. She worked on March 17 with Win Marilyn and did lag behind her but I think the workout did her good.”

Mikki Brillante
Mikki Brillante

Mikki Brillante (horse, 5)

Shigeki Miyauchi, assistant trainer
“In the Hankyu Hai, there was a moment where he started to go wide but then stayed in. He had a good inside draw and he’s the type of horse that gets very competitive when he’s in the thick of things. He was able to use his strong kick to pull away from the others really nicely. He went to the farm after that and returned on March 13. We clocked him in his March 17 workout and the jockey (Ryuji Wada) said that he still felt heavy. He has some excess weight but we should be able to get that off by raceday. Looking at his last race, I think he’ll be able to handle a furlong less. Since we want to have him race in with the others to hold is concentration, the draw and the way the race unfolds will be key.”

Mozu Superflare
Mozu Superflare

Mozu Superflare (mare, 6)

Hidetaka Otonashi, trainer
“In last year’s Takamatsunomiya Kinen she was able to ride the rail the whole way and win. But in her last race, the inside ground was quite bad, so she moved out more and raced from there, which I think worked against her. The pace was pretty strong even though the ground made for relatively slow going. It was a tough pace for a frontrunner so it’s no wonder she couldn’t hold her ground. She went to the farm for a bit after that. Things have gone well since got back and her movement in work has been good, as it usually is. If the pace is too slow, it won’t bring out the best of her style, but with the long stretch at Chukyo you have to save something for the final stage. She had an outside gate last start too and I do plan to have her lead this time again. Her strategy is pretty decided so I’m just hoping for an inside draw. She’s been successful over heavier ground so I’m not worried about rough ground but it won’t help if the ground doesn’t suit.”

TV Nishinippon Corp. Sho Kitakyushu Kinen (G3)
Red en Ciel

Red en Ciel (horse, 7)

Yasushi Shono, trainer
“Recently, he’s been a lot calmer, but in his last race, the Keihan Hai, he was agitated in the parade ring. I think that affected his race. Since then, I let him get well rested, then started back early with this race as our target. Compared to his best days, I do think he’s not as focused now. Two weeks ago, his responses were still a bit sluggish, but I had the jockey (Kenichi Ikezoe) ride him on March 18 and he’s improved. I think if he can just push on, he’ll improve both mentally and physically. Two races ago, he drew wide in the Sprinters Stakes and was forced to race from outside. Even so, he was able to run solidly in the final stage. I’d say there’s virtually no difference between now and then. He has won over a sloppy track at Chukyo before, so it’d be good if he got a track that required more power even than the current torn-up turf calls for.”

Hankyu Hai (G3)

Resistencia (filly, 4)

Takeshi Matsushita, trainer
“In her last start, she was returning from time off and, of course, it was quite different from the time before that, when she was returning from a fracture. This time she was able to run at her own rhythm and she dominated the race from start to finish, wire to wire. It was a very strong 1,400 meters and I’m very glad she got such good results. It’s a tight rotation so I kept her at the training center and everything has gone well. Jockey Yutaka Take rode her last week. Her time was fast, yet she still had a lot left over at the finish. Her movement was very nice. This week I’m focusing on the finish alone and I think that’s sufficient. She looked really good up the hill under an assistant and I’m not concerned with the jockey change. Suguru Hamanaka is, after all, a Derby jockey. It’ll be her first time over six furlongs and the lineup is strong. But with the kind of speed she has, I think she’ll be more than able to handle it. But, because there are other fast horses, I’m not going to insist that she takes the lead. I want her to run her own race.”

Right on Cue
Right on Cue

Right on Cue (horse, 6)

Mitsugu Kon, trainer
“In his most recent race, the Silk Road Stakes, he showed his strength and even though he was still a bit soft, it was a good race. After that the improvement was quite dramatic. He peaked very quickly and his muscling is very different compared to this last race. I think the track was a bit heavy on March 17 because his time wasn’t as fast as it looked like it would be. When this horse gets serious he is really something. We focused on the finish and he’s looking just fine. There are no problems with his movement whatsoever. Unlike other years, with no Kyoto meet, there are more races at Chukyo. I figure the turf will be quite torn up. It was raining last week too. But, as you can see from his past results, he’s well-suited to a track that demands power and the way it’s going the track is just suiting him more and more.”

Seiun Kosei
Seiun Kosei

Seiun Kosei (horse, 8)

Hiroyuki Uehara, trainer
“In the Centaur Stakes, his race before last, it was a terribly hot muggy day and he kind of lost it and ran like crazy from the gate. He was exhausted after that race so I allowed quite some time until his next and most recent start, the Silk Road Stakes, which was to be a prep. Considering that, I’d say he really did a good job and there were moments when my heart was in my mouth. Since then all has gone well and he clocked an easy 64.8 seconds over five furlongs last week. He’s in good shape and likes the weather now. He’s 8 years old but I think he’ll be able to perform as he always has. The competition is stiff but if he can race from a good position and the going and other things come together well, I think he can do well.”

Sound Chiara
Sound Chiara

Sound Chiara (mare, 6)

Akio Adachi, trainer
“Last fall, she had two starts after coming off a layoff that just weren’t up to snuff. But, with each race she improved and in the Hanshin Cup she was able to travel midfield and gave us some nice racing over the last furlong. I think in her last race she finally showed us she was recovering. We then sent her to the farm and it did her good to get some refreshment. The stiffness went out of her gait and she’s been looking good since returning to the training center. The jockey (Kohei Matsuyama) rode her for two weeks straight and gave her some good, hard work. This week a breeze should be enough to get her fine-tuned. It’ll be her first race over six furlongs but I think what’s most important is that she goes to the gate in great shape.”


Travesura (horse, 6)

Atsushi Nishioka, assistant trainer
“He was in good shape for the Silk Road Stakes but with his outside draw he couldn’t get any cover and ran very unbalanced. It was a tough race for him. The jockey (Katsuma Sameshima) rode work last week and the horse moved very nicely. The sheen on his coat is good and so is his muscle tone. He can give it all he has. Earlier, when the jockey was riding him, he did well back from a long layoff. Looking at the way he changes leads, I’d say racing to the left actually suits him more than to the right. The one question is whether he’ll settle well. Ideally, he’d get an inside gate and get some cover. But even with an outside gate, the pace of a Grade 1 should be strong, which I think will make things easier for him.”


Sources: Keiba Book, Radio Nikkei, Netkeiba, Sports Nippon

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