2023 News

October 27, 2023


Tenno Sho (Autumn) (G1) - Comments from runners' connections
Admire Hadar
Admire Hadar

Admire Hadar (horse, 5)

Ryuji Okubo, trainer
“His performance in the Mainichi Okan did give the impression that he was returning from a layoff. That said, when they turned for home, he broke away from the pack and displayed some good footwork moving up the outside. He showed us some very good racing in a number of places. I don’t think his overall balance will have changed much with that race under his belt, but he is very much lighter on his feet. Jockey Akira Sugawara rode his fast work last week and because there isn’t much time between races, I had him take it easy. Because he had had a prep, this time he has definitely improved. Still, the level of competition is much higher. If he can give us his best performance, I’ll be eager to see how well he can do.”

Danon Beluga
Danon Beluga

Danon Beluga (colt, 4)

Noriyuki Hori, trainer
“It was hard before and after the Sapporo Kinen to get a reading on his condition. I planned on bringing him back to the training center at the end of September, which was really hot and slowed training a bit, but I still aimed him here. To be honest, his fast work two weeks ago seemed slow, but from last week he started to look stronger. I don’t think he’s quite up to his overall best though. On Wednesday, Joao Moreira rode work. He’d also ridden the final fast work before Dubai and before the Sapporo Kinen, so we were able to talk things over with a bit more insight and make comparisons. Danon Beluga is a talented horse and can easily accelerate and he has given us some very fast lap times. He’s not on his toes as much as he could be at his best and his breathing could be better, but he’s improving. If it’s lack of work that’s making him less than his sharpest, then pushing him harder is fine, but if it’s due to his runs at Sapporo and Dubai, and that he’s still recovering, it makes it harder to decide whether to push him or not. We didn’t get after him too much in today’s work and he wrapped it up nicely. He has a lot of talent, but still has some problems with balance. I think his results up to now were mostly because things didn’t come together well for him in the races. He’s top-class in his age group and I think he can do well against older horses as well, but it’s there I don’t see the results. I think he can do better if he can show off his ability.”

Kyoto Kinen (G2)
Do Deuce

Do Deuce (colt, 4)

Yasuo Tomomichi, trainer
“His fast work was on the hill course this week. His time was fast, but we didn’t overdo it. I think he’s in excellent shape. Jockey Yutaka Take rode him last week, and the horse was switched on mentallythis week the same. After work, he was bothering the other horses, that’s how full of energy he was. His breathing was good too. I’d been pretty confident about his footwork before the Kyoto Kinen in February, but it had been his first race since returning from his Arc bid, and I’d had my doubts about his mental state especially and how well he’d do. However, he gave us a strong showing. Being a Grade 1 this time, I’ve gotten him in what I think is even better shape. I don’t think his weight will be up, but he does look to have put on more muscle and seems more powerful. The number of runners is small, but they are very strong. I think this year’s Tenno Sho (Autumn) is a showcase of Japan’s current very best horses. We were first in the Derby last year with Equinox in second, but after that (the two starts in France), I think Do Deuce wasn’t able to access everything he had. I really want to see him do well this time. I did see Equinox win at Dubai and he is indeed strong. Do Deuce has always been good racing to the left. He won the Derby and I know he is suited to Tokyo. I’m looking forward to seeing what kind of race he’ll give us. I’ll leave the race strategy up to the jockey. “

Kokura Kinen (G3)

Echt (horse, 6)

Toshiki Murakami, assistant trainer
“Last out in the Sankei Sho All Comers, the field was definitely a strong one, but he ended up racing from much further back than I had expected. Getting into position and running at his pace was good, but his position made for a difficult race. He came out of the race well and we kept him at the training center because we had also been considering a trip to the United States. Everything has gone as usual. Compared to his races run to the right, he hasn’t done as well with those to the left but I think if he can get a position that will allow him to draw on all his strength. He’ll be able to show us some good moments at least.”

Takarazuka Kinen (G1)

Equinox (colt, 4)

Tetsuya Kimura, trainer
“Christophe Lemaire rode work last week and it was the usual work we do a week out. Things were very routine. As we had done before the Takarazuka Kinen, we asked the jockey to get a reading on the horse’s condition and give me feedback if there was anything he was concerned about. Then I could incorporate that into the remaining training. This week, the training was quite orthodox. In some ways the main concern was making sure everything went as usual amid all the attention. The training was to model itself after the actual race, to have him remain patient under way and be responsive to the rider’s signals. When given the go sign, he was to run solidly to the finish, which is very basic, but important thing. That was the same kind of workout he had last week as well. I don’t think there’s any problem with him.”

Yu Ota, assistant trainer
“The ground in the Takarazuka Kinen was difficult and I think it must have made for rough going for the horse. To have won amid that made me realize once again just how strong he is. He had some time off after that and returned to the training center on Sept. 28. Two weeks out, he had a long workout in which he could really stretch out and we checked both leads. Last week, Lemaire rode him, gave him a solid workout, where he got the pace up and got a good time. It felt like the final important workout before the race. The jockey was satisfied with it. There’s been no trouble and every day the horse’s muscle tone is looking better. I think 2,000 meters at Tokyo will be a much easier race for him than the Takarazuka Kinen.”

Asahi Hai St. Lite Kinen (Japanese St. Leger Trial) (G2)
Gaia Force

Gaia Force (colt, 4)

Haruki Sugiyama, trainer
“Turning for home in his last start, the Sankei Sho All Comers, he was bumped from the inside just when he was changing leads. And due to that, he didn’t get a smooth trip. The ground also didn’t suit him, but I do think he tried hard. We got him recovered from that race by last week. He was worried about the ground in last week’s fast work, so we worked him for the first time over the woodchip flat course. Jockey Atsuya Nishimura said he felt the horse’s movement was better than it was on the uphill course, and I think that work over the course will stand him well in the race. I do hope the pace is strong in the race and that he gets a fast track. I think the course is good for him. Most of all, I want him to leave the gate smoothly.”

Nakayama Kinen (G2)
Hishi Iguazu

Hishi Iguazu (horse, 7)

Noriyuki Hori, trainer
“The thinking behind racing him in the Sapporo Kinen was because I wanted to check his recovery from the spring, stable him in Hakodate where it was cooler and give him a sharpener before heading into his autumn campaign. He’s not particularly good over difficult ground, which was I think a big factor in his result (fifth place). Earlier in his career, he had some difficulty with his balance caused from running on heavy ground and that had taken a long time to recover from. But now, he’s much easier to get ready for a race. I did go a bit more easily on him after the Sapporo Kinen, but when you do that, he has a tendency to go soft too quickly. So, getting it just right has been my biggest concern. We pushed him a bit harder in this week’s workout and I’d say he’s at about 80 percent compared to his best times. I think he’ll improve with that workout. Now, at 7 years old, his mental and physical states are well balanced and he’s able to handle more work than he could last year. I’m hoping he can bring out his best and the ability he was born with.”

Osaka Hai (G1)
Jack d’Or

Jack d’Or (horse, 5)

Kenichi Fujioka, trainer
“The rain made for a very difficult track in the Sapporo Kinen. Luckily, he came out of the race without damage and later returned from the farm in good shape. After getting back to Ritto, his preparation has gone well too. Jockey Yusuke Fujioka rode on Oct. 18 and, with the race only a week away, I had him push the horse hard. He moved well considering the heavy ground and his time was as expected. Overall, he has improved since his last race and I’d say that he’s in the best condition he’s been in recently. He finished fourth here last year and if he can travel at his own pace and get a forward position, I just want him to do his best from there. It’s a strong lineup, but if this horse can run his own race, I think he has a chance.”

Tenno Sho (Spring) (G1)
Justin Palace

Justin Palace (colt, 4)

Haruki Sugiyama, trainer
“Before his last race, the Takarazuka Kinen, he’d had longer races in the spring, 3,000 meters and 3,200 meters. I had wondered how he’d fare, but he did very well. He kept up with the flow and made a good effort in the final stage. It showed me how much he has matured and stronger he is now. I’m always worried about how he’ll do in the gate, but the jockeys have been really great about getting the timing right for him and the horse doesn’t get upset like he’ll do in gate practice at the training center. That said, I’m not expecting him to be all that quiet in the gate this time either. His responses in work have been better and he’s able to run solidly to the end in his workouts. Two weeks ago, he was a bit sluggish, but last week, I gave him passing marks. I’d told jockey Takeshi Yokoyama that the horse was feeling good but he was so raring to go. After the workout, he said his arms were hurting. But still, when the horse got the go sign, his response was excellent. His final workout before traveling east has always been on the uphill course and that’s what he got this week. It’ll be his first time over the Tokyo 2,000 meters, but I think it’ll suit him. He does have the tendency to back off a bit in the final turn, but the long straight should help. I’m really looking forward to the race. I’m well aware that it will be a very difficult race to win, but of course it’s because I think he has a chance that I’m racing him here. Takeshi and I will be busy discussing our strategy.”

North Bridge
North Bridge

North Bridge (horse, 5)

Takeshi Okumura, trainer
“I don’t know if it was due to a lack of competitiveness or because he was unable to respond at the crucial moment, but he wasn’t himself in the Sankei Sho All Comers last out. He was a bit too quiet before the race and I think the time between races (almost six months) was the main reason for that. He has since improved a lot, is more on his toes and I think the fact that he’d gone somewhat off his feed heading into that race was another factor. This time things are different. He’s past the growing stage and is able to maintain his condition more easily. He’s not so temperamental now and has matured into an adult. He has won Grade 2 and Grade 3 races and even though the others are strong, I don’t think he needs to shy away from a Grade 1. I had first thought of racing him the Copa Republica Argentina, but decided to take on the challenge of this race.”

Sapporo Kinen (G2)

Prognosis (horse, 5)

Mitsumasa Nakauchida, trainer
“He won the Sapporo Kinen strongly and I could see that he had matured considerably. The ground that day wasn’t the best, but still he ran well. I think he has gotten stronger both mentally and physically. Even from before the Sapporo Kinen, I’d been thinking of sending him here. Last week, I had Yuga Kawada ride trackwork and the horse was more switched on than I’d thought he would. So this week, an assistant breezed him and we focused on keeping the horse relaxed and well balanced. There were no big changes from last week. The staff rides him every day, so he was relaxed and his footwork was good. He’s in really good shape. As expected, the lineup is a very strong one, with horses that have proven their ability, so we’ll just have to see how well Prognosis can do up against them. He has no problem racing to the left, and he’s raced over 2,000 meters a number of times so the distance and course are not concerns. I’d like to have a fast track for him, but that’s not to say he can’t handle heavier going. He won handily last start and his prep has gone well, so I think he’ll be able to race to his best here.”


Sources: Keiba Book, Netkeiba, Radio Nikkei

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