2022 News

March 25, 2022


Takamatsunomiya Kinen (G1) - Comments from runners' connections
Daimei Fuji (horse, 8)

Naoyuki Morita, trainer
“In the Ocean Stakes, the others were quickly away and he ended up racing from behind. In the homestraight, he really held his ground well and gave it his best. In his training since then, he hasn’t turned in any especially fast times, but with only two full weeks in between races, there’s no need for that. It will be enough if he gets a good workout this week. He is 8 years old but he’s good and strong. With it being a Grade 1 and the strong opponents, things won’t be easy, but he has had a lot of outside draws. I think if he gets a draw more to the inside, he could have a ground-saving trip and do better. Considering his age, however, this is likely to be his last big race. I hope he’ll do his best.”

Hankyu Hai (G3)

Diatonic (horse, 7)

Takayuki Yasuda, trainer
“Last out in the Hankyu Hai, just after things got tight in the straight on the rail, perfect timing allowed him to squeeze through and clinch the win. If he didn’t have the strength, he’d never have been able to do that. This will be his third start since returning from a fracture and I think he’ll finally be able to show us his best again. When he was younger, the damage was greater and we couldn’t race him often. He was a bit stiff after his last race, but recovered quickly and his preparation has gone well. He worked alone up the hill course on March 16 and clocked 11.7 seconds over the final furlong. The jockey (Yasunari Iwata) said that he is even better than he was for his last race. I would say he’s now fully mature. This is his best distance. The only thing left is for him to start well.”

Keihan Hai (G3)
Eighteen Girl

Eighteen Girl (mare, 6)

Yuji Iida, trainer
“Considering the rotation, I decided to race her in the Hankyu Hai. With the distance, the pace was slow and it just didn’t suit her. Last week after warming up in the trotting circle, we took her to the woodchip flat course. We had her wait, then go all out over the last 100 meters. I wanted to see how her responses were after changing leads. Her time was good and it was a solid run. It was good she had ample time between races. Things have gone as planned. Compared to before, she is tuning in to her rider better. She is becoming like a real open-class sprinter. She hasn’t had great results racing to the left, but this time she’s feeling good and has a nice sheen to her coat. All we need beside that is for the track to be a bit slow.”

CBC Sho (G3)
First Force

First Force (horse, 6)

Shoichi Shimokawa, assistant trainer
“He couldn’t get a clear run in the Ocean Stakes but was caught in traffic, which made for a difficult race. He still had something left in the tank for the finish and he got his breath right back after the race. He worked up the hill course on March 16, but since he’d just raced, it was only a light workout. Nothing much changed after the race and things are proceeding normally. He has power, so I’m not worried about it being the last day of the meet. It is no good if he’s blocked in, so ideally, he’ll take the lead or travel on the outside in second or third position. He doesn’t have great early speed, so key will be how smoothly he can move up. In any case, I hope things come together well for him.”

Yukan Fuji Sho Ocean Stakes (G3)

Gendarme (horse, 7)

Yuki Iwasaki, assistant trainer
“Last start in the Ocean Stakes, he was still restless in the gate, but his timing was good at the break. Coming into the stretch, he looked like he was going to make it. Being able to win from a forward position like that was a big accomplishment. There was no damage and he was back in work from Thursday of the following week, with things going well. He has also had gate practice. There isn’t much time between races, so I think with his fast work last weekend and this week, it’ll be enough. He is 7 years old now but looking at how he won last out, it looks like he still has it. He hasn’t gotten great results racing to the left, but in trackwork at least he doesn’t seem to favor either direction. I am hoping that even with it being the left-handed Chukyo track, he can make the most of the good shape he’s in and win himself a Grade 1.”

Hanshin Cup (G2)
Grenadier Guards

Grenadier Guards (colt, 4)

Taku Fukunaga, assistant trainer
“The Hanshin Cup last out was his first win in about a year, but he traveled well and gained ground in the finish. It was a strong win. After that, he went to the farm and returned to the training center on March 1 in good shape. He weighed 482kg, looked good physically, was calm mentally, and looks like he’s back to his best. He did well with a furlong less last start. Since it’ll be another furlong shorter this time, how he fares with the distance will be key. Jockey Yuichi Fukunaga has ridden him in morning work two weeks in a row and has a good reading on him. His footwork has been good. He has settled and his times are sufficient. Speed-wise, I think he’s very competitive. If he can settle well in the race, these conditions should be a plus for him and he’ll definitely show us some excellent footwork.”

Kir Lord
Kir Lord

Kir Lord (gelding, 7)

Yasuhito Tamura, trainer
“He usually starts very well, but he was a bit slower at the break in the Ocean Stakes and it made keeping up with the others a bit difficult. Still, he didn’t fade in the end but held his ground. Considering that he went to the outside, it wasn’t by any means a bad race. He worked up the hill course on March 17, and since it was the first workout after his last race, the aim was just to limber him up. He showed no signs of serious fatigue and there were, in a good way, no changes. Things are coming along without a hitch. The competition is stiff, but he has done well at these conditions and the 1,200 meters to the left suits him. I would like to expect him to run a good race.”

Kurino Gaudi
Kurino Gaudi

Kurino Gaudi (horse, 6)

Norio Fujisawa, trainer
“Last out in the Hankyu Hai, he was running nicely, in tune with the jockey. It looked to me like he would have something left for the final stage, but he didn’t meet the expectations when the jockey asked for more. I guess coming off a layoff was more of a factor than I had expected. He came out of the race just fine and is full of energy. Jockey Yasunari Iwata has ridden the horse in trackwork as he usually does. He says the last race greatly improved the horse, so I think he’ll go to the gate in better shape than he was for the last race. He got a strong workout again this week. As for the Chukyo 1,200 meters, he did win over that two years ago and I think that it may be his best trip. With the shape he’s in now, if he can run his own race, I think he’ll definitely have something for the finish.”

Keeneland Cup (G3)
Lei Halia

Lei Halia (filly, 4)

Toshiaki Tajima, trainer
“I didn’t like the way she lost in the Keihan Hai and I don’t really know the reason she lost. I suppose having horses on both sides was a factor. When she’d won before she hadn’t been under much pressure from the others. I had planned to race her in the Ocean Stakes, but there were concerns about the suitability so we decided to go straight here without a prep. She weighed 470kg last week before fast work. She has gained quite a bit of weight, but doesn’t appear to be heavy on her feet. We have the trip to the track and she’ll improve before raceday. She has won a graded stakes race and I don’t think the Chukyo course will present any problems. The competition will be stiff, but I think the jockey held back a bit too much last out. This time I’d like to see a more assertive race, with no overthinking things, and possibly have her lead.”

Kyoto Himba Stakes (G3)
Lotus Land

Lotus Land (mare, 5)

Yasuyuki Tsujino, trainer
“She was coming off a layoff for the Kyoto Himba Stakes and her weight was up 18kg. I think half of it was fat, but it rained right before the race and that made the surface more to her liking. She was able to go with the flow in second position and draw on her strength. It was a strong race, especially considering she was carrying 56kg. With that race, her balance improved and that has made preparations easier. She had a good hard workout on March 17 and the jockey (Mirai Iwata) said she was lighter on her feet than she’d been prior to her last race. All has gone well. This will be her first 1,200 meters and key will be how well she can handle the pace change. She is a good starter so I’d like her to get a decent position and have something saved for the final stage.”

Silk Road Stakes (G3)
Meikei Yell

Meikei Yell (filly, 4)

Hidenori Take, trainer
“She was calm before the gate in the Silk Road Stakes, broke well and was able to remain patient at the initial dash. Despite it being a tough run from a forward position, she was able to get ahead. She had three weeks off after that. Before the last race and going into this one, she’s been eating well and that has helped maintain her weight. Last race, we had some equipment on her that helped. We changed the bit, had draw reins and eye pacifiers on and everything together seemed to do the trick. It was apparent from her results, that she’s stronger than before. I plan to race her with the same equipment on this time and I have the feeling she understands a lot more now. She is also much calmer. With the kind of race she ran last time, I think she’ll be able to do well this time too.”

Naran Huleg
Naran Huleg

Naran Huleg (horse, 6)

Yoshitada Munakata, trainer
“He wasn’t able to earn enough from the Silk Road Stakes, so I entered him in the Ocean Stakes. He ran his race and did just enough. After that, he was a bit tired, but recovered and was back in training on the hill course on March 17. He is full of energy. He had one hard workout after that, and this week just a breeze. With little time between races, this should be fine. His weight at the barn hovers at around 510kg. Since he’s not losing weight with the trip to the track, I think, even at Chukyo, he’ll be able to race at about the same weight he was for the Ocean Stakes (498kg). The turf 1,200 meters to the left is his best trip. We will just have to see how well he can do up against a Grade 1 competition. We are finally able to race him in a Grade 1 and I’m hoping he’ll do his best.”

Sankei Sho Centaur Stakes (G2)

Resistencia (mare, 5)

Takeshi Matsushita, trainer
“Even with the accident in the Hong Kong Sprint, she really gave it her all. She went to the farm after that to refresh, and has put the weight back on that she’d lost. On March 9, she worked up the hill course with another horse and clocked 51 seconds flat over four-furlong. As we have been racing her over 1,200 meters, compared to earlier, her acceleration has greatly been improved. On March 16, jockey Takeshi Yokoyama rode her up the hill course, pushed her hard and clocked 50.1 seconds. He said she was well balanced and he could see no quirks or bad habits. I think he got a good reading on her with that workout. The instructions for her work this week was to take the hill in 52 seconds something and give her a bit of encouragement in the finish. The rider did just that and she looked very powerful. She has always looked good in trackwork and this week she looked no different. Everything has gone well and her breathing is good too. She will be in great shape for the race.”

Right on Cue
Right on Cue

Right on Cue (horse, 7)

Mitsugu Kon, trainer
“On March 16, he worked up the hill course and clocked 49.6 seconds over four-furlong, but I think he could have done a little more. He looked like he still had more in him. Last year, he had bled and not wanting that to happen again, I’m doing my best to get him ready without having him overdo it. He is returning from time off, but he’s not the type that generally improves with a race. He is better going straight in. It would be good if he got the same heavy ground as he had last year. This year, it’s the last day of the meet and the ground should be a bit torn up. It will be good if the winning time is at around 1 minute 8 seconds.”


Salios (horse, 5)

Noriyuki Hori, trainer
“He came back to the training center on Feb. 26. There were problems with his right hoof, but we’ve helped that with a three-quarter shoe and he was able to work as planned on March 10. Overall, he looked heavy on his feet and his breathing wasn’t good. He weighed 564kg after work that day. Not wanting to overdo it, we’ve upped the pace gradually and he has improved. His right thigh is his weak point, so we’d been giving that special attention, and his return to the training center was a bit delayed. Last week, we had him in three-quarter blinkers and he worked together with two other horses. The blinkers seemed to help and he got up to full speed. Though he was breathing hard after that workout, the function of his heart and lungs should be improved with this training. Since it’s a sprint, I’m not too worried about getting him too lean.”

Shine Garnet
Shine Garnet

Shine Garnet (mare, 5)

Toru Kurita, trainer
“Her workout on March 16 was good and she looked very supple. Recently, she’s been working well in hand and she’s able to do everything we ask of her. I think she has matured a lot. I had wanted her to race here before but I’d been worried about not having enough earnings to make it in. Luckily, she just made it and got the last berth. She won the Falcon Stakes over Chukyo 1,400 meters as a 3-year-old. The raceday is the last day of the meet, but she should be fine with the surface and the warmer weather. I think we can go to the gate Sunday with our expectations up.”

Sunrise Honest
Sunrise Honest

Sunrise Honest (horse, 5)

Hiroshi Kawachi, trainer
“In the Hankyu Hai, he gained ground up the inside right on the rail and I think the only difference between him and the two over the line ahead was likely the difference in ground he covered getting into position. For a while, he looked like he was going to move into the lead in the finish but his footwork dulled over the final furlong. The race before that had been a 1,200 meters race and he’d gained ground to the end, so I figured a shorter race suited him and decided to try him here. Heading into his last race, his work a week out had been too fast, though we did go easy on him race week. This time he clocked 50.9 seconds over four-furlong on March 17, which is a good time. His constitution is stronger now and he’s more powerful. It is a good lineup but I think he has a chance.”


Travesura (horse, 7)

Yasuyuki Takahashi, trainer
“Last out in the Hankyu Hai, he drew an inside gate and the ground was fast on the inside so naturally I thought the jockey would go for an inside run, which he did. The horse got into a tight spot but pulled away with some very good acceleration and gained ground nicely. He was in good shape then, but that race sharpened him even more. His muscles have come out more and he’s back at his best. Everything has gone well. The jockey rode him last week and his time was good. He even still had something left over. I think he’ll head to the gate in good shape. Recently, his balance has improved and he’s gotten better racing to the right, but everything is still much smoother running to the left. With the shape he’s in, and the lineup, I’m looking forward to the race.”


Sources: Keiba Book, Netkeiba

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