2022 News

November 18, 2022


Mile Championship (G1) - Comments from runners' connections
Air Lolonois (horse, 5)

Kazuhide Sasada, trainer
“The plan for the fall had been to go from the Port Island Stakes to the Fuji Stakes, but he got kicked in the chest by another horse and had to sit the Port Island out, so we started him back in the Fuji Stakes. He went up the inside in the straight and I think he’d have done better on the outside. The Top 4 finishers had had outside draws and had all run on the outside. He had a solid workout up the hill course on Nov. 9. He is the type that improves with a race and he has. He had the fastest time over the final three furlongs in the Yasuda Kinen and his overall time was only 0.2 seconds off the winner’s. He has demonstrated that he is competitive at the top level and the Hanshin mile suits him. I hope he’ll have a good trip.”

Besten Dank (horse, 10)

Akio Adachi, trainer
“He was back from the farm for the Swan Stakes, but he was in good condition. The race, being 1,400 meters, wasn’t to his liking, but he still tried hard. He worked on the hill course last week and clocked about 54 seconds over the four furlongs. At his age, there’s no big changes but he’s in good shape and he moved well. It is a mile this time and usually this venue suits him, so I’d like him to take the lead and run at his own pace.”

NHK Mile Cup (G1)
Danon Scorpion

Danon Scorpion (colt, 3)

Takayuki Yasuda, trainer
“In the Fuji Stakes, he raced within easy reach of the front and was marked by two top runners. Even though he lost, it was a very good race. We have got the preliminary races for the autumn over and he’s strong and well in hand heading into the main event. After his last start, we kept him at the training center. He clocked 51 seconds over the four furlongs up the hill course Nov. 10, and looked good. He is not that much bigger compared to the spring, but mentally, he has greatly matured. Usually, he’s very composed and quiet, with a strong sense of presence, and now able to concentrate better. He has improved from his last race and this week, breezed up the hill course. He won the Arlington Cup over the Hanshin mile. He has no problem with racing both to the left and the right, and a long stretch can help bring out his best. The lineup is full of strong older horses, but I’m hoping for good results.”

Danon the Kid (colt, 4)

Takayuki Yasuda, trainer
“He is very sensitive and, in the Mainichi Okan, he over-reacted to some noise and broke through the front of the gate before the start. He was reloaded on the outside, but I don’t think that affected the race. It was his first race in a while, but he changed leads smoothly in the stretch and accelerated nicely. I was reminded of just how strong he is. Afterward, he went to the farm for a bit. He passed his gate test again two weeks ago, and last week worked alone over the course. The jockey (Yuichi Kitamura) then said he still felt a bit heavy. He did let off some steam with his last race. He is coming along well. His training has been largely over the woodchip flat course because he switches on too much up the hill. This week’s final workout was on the hill though. He hasn’t won since the Hopeful Stakes, but he has what it takes to win a Grade 1. He was third here last year and I have my hopes up.”

Keisei Hai Autumn Handicap (G3)

Falconia (horse, 5)

Tomokazu Takano, trainer
“I was very eager to get results in the Keisei Autumn Handicap last out and he really ran well. After he was urged on from the start, he was under the pressure and jostling on the outside, but he was able to keep his cool. It was good that he was able to spare his strength under way, which made a difference. After that, he went to the farm for some rest. We had had a plan to go from the Fuji Stakes to here, but we skipped that race and waited until here. He is in really good shape. His footwork in morning work is much more dynamic now, and his strides are bigger and powerful. I don’t know how he’ll do up against such strong competition, but being in good shape paired with the latent talent of his bloodline, I’m hoping he’ll do well.”

Happy Hour (horse, 6)

Yoshiaki Sugiyama, trainer
“At his age, I didn’t know how much improvement could be expected going into the Mainichi Okan, but he had kept his condition. He was relaxed, and he’s more consistent now at the break. He did keep one horse behind him, but the field was strong. He had a bit of time off after that and has gotten regular work since coming back. All has gone without a hitch. He does have speed, but the others are very strong this time. I am interested in seeing just how well he can do amid them.”

Ho O Amazon (colt, 4)

Takahide Ando, assistant trainer
“For the Swan Stakes, his weight hadn’t gone up that much but he had filled out from the spring. He went from the gate to the inside and, being surrounded by others, may not have been good. As of two weeks ago, he was well recovered from any fatigue he still had, and from there, started to show improvement. Racing out in front like last year may have been ideal, but on the other hand, I don’t see him being bothered by other horses during morning work. In an earlier race, he had lugged in and that may have given the rider that impression. I don’t really know but, in any case, I’m sure whatever he learned will stand him well in the race. I hope he’ll do his best.”

Justin Cafe
Justin Cafe

Justin Cafe (colt, 4)

Shogo Yasuda, trainer
“The Mainichi Okan last out was his first race since the spring and he made use of the things he had learned up to then. Instead of shifting immediately into top gear as he did when he was younger, he can now pick up the pace gradually and that is going to stand him well in the future. He came back to the training center from the farm on Nov. 1. Unlike what had been the usual routine of keeping him at the training center for two races, I think having him fresh and headstrong translates better to a good performance in the race. Last week on Friday, I had him work patiently behind another horse and use his body with a higher point of balance. There will be a lot of good horses in the gate, and I’m eager to see, and that means, including in the interest of next year, how well he’ll do in his present condition.”

Kyoto Himba Stakes (G3)
Lotus Land

Lotus Land (mare, 5)

Yasuyuki Tsujino, trainer
“In her last start in the Swan Stakes, she didn’t take the bit from start to finish, which I think was due to it being her first race after a spell. I think another factor was that she was concerned about the hard track and didn’t want to race all out. She got her wind back immediately after the race so I had the impression she hadn’t run too hard. Last week, to stimulate her physically, I had her work over the course side by side with another horse. It was a solid workout. With her last race, her skin seems thinner. The plan is to keep her on her game mentally up until race day. I think 1,600 meters is within her range of capability. It would be good if it rained a bit and the ground was soft as it was for the Kyoto Himba Stakes. I am hoping she’ll give it all she has.”

Nikkan Sports Sho Shinzan Kinen (G3)
Matenro Orion

Matenro Orion (colt, 3)

Masaki Kon, assistant trainer
“The Swan Stakes was his prep after a layoff and he was competing against older horses. He did run well in the final stage and I think it will stand him well this time. He worked up the hill course on Nov. 13. Though he always runs well in daily trackwork, his maneuverability, speed and responses were all good. His strongpoint is his sharp turn of foot. To bring out his power with that, he’s being prepared with the idea of keeping his strides big. Mentally, he’s mature now and he improves with a race. The outer course over the mile is a plus. I don’t know how he’ll fare in this field, but it’ll be good if he goes to the gate in a calm state of mind.”

Mainichi Hai (G3)
Piece of Eight

Piece of Eight (colt, 3)

Yutaka Okumura, trainer
“In the Fuji Stakes, since he’d drawn the far outside gate and wouldn’t be able to get much cover, he held back. We had been worried about how well he’d stay in tune with the rider but that wasn’t a problem. If he’d been able to get some cover, things would have been better. After that, he went to the farm for a bit, and when everything was confirmed OK, we decided to send him here. There are only three full weeks between races, so we are focused on having him hold his condition. Last week on Nov. 10, we worked over the woodchip flat course with the focus on the final three furlongs. From his movement, he looked to be showing improvement. He has had a number of starts up against older horses and I think he’s stronger for it. He has won a graded-stakes race at Hanshin. He is still only three years old and has a lot of growing to, but if he can access what he has now, it’ll be good.”

Mainichi Okan (G2)

Salios (horse, 5)

Kazutomo Mori, assistant trainer
“The Mile Championship has always been the main goal of his fall campaign. After the Mainichi Okan, he took a bit long to recover, but we evaluated his condition and decided to go ahead with the plan. He has been getting work up the hill course and everything has gone smoothly. This week, jockey Ryan Moore rode for the first time in quite a while. The horse moved in a nice rhythm for the first half and accelerated in the finish. The time was a little fast, but he ran on the inside. He clocked as planned over the last two furlongs. The jockey said the horse was physically and mentally perfect. He hasn’t gotten great results in his two times here, but this is the perfect stage for him and he’s won a Grade 1 here before, so I think it suits him. We will have him in the usual cross noseband that he wears in training, but there are no plans to put him in cheek pieces or blinkers. He tends to lose a bit of weight during the trip to the track so we plan to ship on Friday.”

Schnell Meister
Schnell Meister

Schnell Meister (colt, 4)

Takahisa Tezuka, trainer
“Last week, he showed me some of his best footwork yet. This week, we have the trip to the track, so I had him work alongside another horse and he looked good. With the difference in distance between his last start and here, last week I gave him a longer workout to help him mentally prepare for a longer trip. He worked alone and his overall time was good. He has had one more week between races than he had last year. He stiffens up easily, but this year is more supple, which should be a plus. He has changed physically a lot over the years and I’ve tried all sorts of distances to find what suits him best, and I believe the mile is it. He is always done well over the mile, but he’s been up against one or two other very strong horses in previous races. This year, with no one standout, I think it’ll go well if things come together for him.”

Fuji Stakes (G2)

Serifos (colt, 3)

Taku Fukunaga, assistant trainer
“He came out of his last race with no damage and he stayed at the training center. Last race, he was reluctant to get near the gate, so we gave him gate practice on Wednesday of last week. He was fine. That same day we worked over the woodchip course and everything went as planned. He is fresh, is eating well and was about 500kg last week, so there are no big changes. He has gotten good results at Hanshin and I don’t think he’s unsuited to the course. There are a lot of strong horses in the lineup and those who lost to him last race are going to have improved, so it won’t be an easy race. I hope he’ll give it his best.”

Damian Lane, jockey
“I was really happy to be asked to ride. He is a talented horse and I’m looking forward to it. He seems very consistent and he runs his heart out. His run in the Fuji Stakes looked very good. I was satisfied and happy with the work I rode this week (Nov. 16). He was the same as I’ve seen him in his videos and he felt good.”

Victoria Mile (G1)

Sodashi (filly, 4)

Naosuke Sugai, trainer
“Last week and this week, we pushed her pretty hard in her workouts. The colder weather really brings out her best and you can see the improvement. With her last start, she was able to let off some steam and has now been calm and settled. It has been easy getting her ready for here. In her final fast work this week, we put a horse in front of her and had her catch and pass that horse just before the finish. My instructions were to not worry about her time, and just get a reading on how she felt. She felt good. She has never lost over the Hanshin mile, but the competition is strong and she’ll need to borrow from the others. Having the weight allowance for fillies & mares is a plus. She has gotten much rounder since the summer but she’s not fat. She is more powerful.

Hayato Yoshida, jockey
“Her times are consistent. She will go to the race with no concerns from us. The lineup is strong and I don’t know how she’ll do, but I believe in her strength. We have won over the Hanshin mile before and I am going in with confidence. But the ground has changed since then. So, I’ll be getting a good reading on it from Saturday."

Yomiuri Milers Cup (G2)
Soul Rush

Soul Rush (colt, 4)

Yuki Iwasaki, assistant trainer
“In the Fuji Stakes (2nd by a neck) he did take the lead at one point and I do think it was a perfect trip. The winner just must have had a bit faster turn of foot. This horse was the only one that went in and split the ranks of the 3-year-olds carrying less weight. I think that’s worth a mention. He came out of the race well and he’s been getting regular work. On Nov. 10, jockey Kohei Matsuyama rode him for fast work and he had a good impression of him. The horse looks to be on the up and up. He is taking the bit better now, which has made him easier to ride. Since we’ve had him in blinkers, he isn’t being difficult as well. In the Yasuda Kinen, he wasn’t able to get a clear run and just didn’t have any luck. I have my hopes up this time.”

Sekiya Kinen (G3)
Win Carnelian

Win Carnelian (horse, 5)

Yuichi Shikato, trainer
“In the Sekiya Kinen, I thought he was even stronger than what his finishing order (first place) would indicate. He had had a lot of time off due to laminitis and because he hadn’t raced in a while, I think it was a tough race for him. His hooves are good now and he’s been improving in leaps and bounds. He returned to the training center soon after his last start and his weight was up about 10kg. He has gotten two hard workouts a week and has gotten leaner with each workout. On Wednesday this week, he worked strongly to the end working another horse. I see a lot of improvement from last week alone. He does have a bit of a problem with the gate, but we’ve schooled him. If he can break well, he can handle any kind of race. He is still difficult in the gate, but the jockey is prepared for that. He has the momentum of a three-way winning streak, so I’m looking forward to seeing how well he can do.”


Sources: Keiba Book, Netkeiba, Radio Nikkei

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