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May 10, 2024


Victoria Mile (G1) - Comments from runners' connections
Laurel R.C. Sho Nakayama Himba Stakes (G3)
Conch Shell

Conch Shell (filly, 4)

Michiro Oshida, assistant trainer
“She ran a strong race two starts ago in the Hatsune Stakes at Tokyo in February. She traveled in second position and pulled away to win. Last race, she led, put more ground between her and the others, making it hard to be overtaken. Even so, they were catching up in the end but she held her lead. After spending a bit of time at the farm, she returned to the training center on April 24. She was well-recovered. Last week, she worked over the woodchip course with another horse. She caught and passed him and looked good. She has won over 1,600 meters before, although it was a conditions race. She has won at Tokyo as well, but this time, there are other horses that have a mean late kick. I’d like to see her take the lead, so she won’t get into trouble under way. If she can run her own race, I’m eager to see how well she can hold her ground.”

Doe Eyes
Doe Eyes

Doe Eyes (filly, 4)

Yasushi Shono, trainer
“In the Hanshin Himba Stakes, she wasn’t able to get the position she usually does, as she was sitting back a bit in the gate. That said, the speed she displayed in order to finish where she did (fifth place) means she actually gained something from the experience. After some time off, she returned to the training center on April 23 and everything has been going fine. The jockey (Katsuma Sameshima) will be riding a race for the first time with her, so he rode work last week to get a reading on her. We have the trip to the track, but I think shipping her right before the race will be fine. In the Oaks last year she was worked up before the race since the gate was right in front of the stands. However, after the Shuka Sho, I decided to make this race our main target and I’ve been training her specifically for the mile. I think she’ll give us a good race and I’m hoping the long stretch at Tokyo will work in her favor.”

Feel Sympathy
Feel Sympathy

Feel Sympathy (mare, 5)

Shigeyuki Kojima, trainer
“Going into the Fukushima Himba Stakes, I thought she really had a chance at landing her first graded stakes win. So, I didn’t just work her on Wednesdays but also clocked her up the hill course on the weekend. I’d wanted her to have an inside gate, but even with the No. 11 draw, she had a ground-saving smooth trip. There was an accident in the latter stage and I’d thought for a moment that she had won. She really did her best. There wasn’t much time between races, so last week she only breezed. Everything has gone smoothly. She’s already 5 years old, but I think she can still improve. She’s good over 1,800 meters, but her best trip seems to be 1,600 meters. It’s a G1 this time, but I’m hoping she can show us some good racing.”

Turquoise Stakes (G3)
Fierce Pride

Fierce Pride (mare, 6)

Sakae Kunieda, trainer
“The pace dropped partway through the Nakayama Himba Stakes, so she made her move early, and another possible reason for her poor result may have been headwind she was racing against. Also, the distance (1,800 meters) may have been too far for her. Still, her result (ninth place) was really something I hadn’t anticipated. She went to the farm and preparations started for this race as the target. She returned to Miho at the beginning of April and her work has gone smoothly. I had her chase down another horse on May 1. She caught and passed her. She moved well and is in good shape even returning from time off. She had a rather weak constitution so her debut was delayed (2020, December of her 2-year-old year) and she only really started to mature last year. So, I think even though she’s 6 years old now she’s still getting better. The Tokyo 1,600 meters should suit her and I think she has a chance.”


Harper (filly, 4)

Yasuo Tomomichi, trainer
“She went into the Osaka Hai in good shape and tried hard. The speed over the final stage was crucial and it did make things difficult competing alongside top-level males. After time at the farm, she returned to prepare for here and she’s gotten regular trackwork. On May 1, she trained over the woodchip course with two other horses. We put them ahead of her and had her chase them. She wasn’t able to catch them, but the ground was bad so it’s not a concern. The jockey (Kenichi Ikezoe) has ridden for two weeks now and he has given her hard workouts. I think her fast work has been really good. Tokyo, with its long stretch, should mean even a 1,600-meter race can work for her. She runs her heart out every time. Up to now, she has always done well in mixed G1 races, so I’m looking forward to this one as well.”

Fairy Stakes (G3)
Kita Wing

Kita Wing (filly, 4)

Shigeyuki Kojima, trainer
“Her results recently have been really unexpected, but looking at them, I thought with a one-turn mile we might see some change, so I tried her out in the Tanigawadake Stakes. Since she traveled on the outside, she wasn’t able to gain enough ground (finished in eighth). So, looking at that, I think the best strategy would be to wait for the right moment and move to the inside. That way she could probably finish closer to the front. There were no major repercussions from that race and I don’t think there’s a problem with only one full week between races. Again, it’s a one-turn mile, so she should just run her regular race. She’s good at waiting for a space to open, even a narrow one. I’m hoping she’ll get a ground-saving run and we’ll see how long she’ll be able to keep going at a good speed.”


Lilac (mare, 5)

Ikuo Aizawa, trainer
“Her 10th place in the Hanshin Himba Stakes was due largely to her returning from time off, and having lost a lot of weight. I don’t think those are the only factors, but she didn’t give us her usual race. She didn’t try too hard in the final stage, so the finishing order is of no concern. She went to the farm for a bit, where they checked her over and kept a good watch on her for about a week, then she came back to the training center. After that, I slowly got her ready. She’s been eating well and I think she has filled out somewhat and should be 440-some kg. On May 1, the jockey (Keita Tosaki) rode and just emphasized the final stage. I’m not giving her too much work this time, but that workout she ran on the outside and it was a good bit of work. Looking at her performance in the Fuchu Himba Stakes, I’d say that even if it comes down to a speed match in the final stage, she should be able to hold her own. I have my hopes up again.”

Sankeisports Hai Hanshin Himba Stakes (G2)
Masked Diva

Masked Diva (filly, 4)

Yasuyuki Tsujino, trainer
“In the Hanshin Himba Stakes, she broke very well and was able to gain momentum right away. She traveled in a good position and her breathing was good. She won by a good margin too. She went to the farm afterward for about 10 days.There seemed to be almost no damage and no fatigue. She returned to the training center and we clocked her up the hill course two weeks out. She improved dramatically after that. We were then able to give her a really hard workout the next week, one that was both a hard strength workout and a hard cardiovascular workout. Her movement was better than I’d anticipated. The workout itself and her time were both satisfactory. From the start of this year, she has continued to mature. She’s well filled out, looking sharp and I think she’s very near to her peak condition. Being a G1, the pace and the way the race unfolds is going to make for some tight running. I don’t have any particular requests since she can display a very competitive final kick even if the overall pace is high. That said, I think it would be ideal if the race were to be just like her last one. It all comes down to whether she can break sharply.”

Shion Stakes (Shuka Sho Trial) (G2)

Moryana (filly, 4)

Yoshinori Muto, trainer
“We didn’t have enough earnings to get a berth in the Osaka Hai, so I aimed her at the Hanshin Himba Stakes instead. The pace was pretty slow and didn’t suit her. It was the first time since her debut that she covered the final three furlongs in 32-some seconds. It was pretty tough on her. As we did before her last race, we wanted to be careful to not let her get worked up, so we kept her at the training center. These past couple weeks, she has worked well with the rider. She was pretty laid back in her previous race and it looks like she has improved. Her muscling is good and I have no complaints about her condition. Key with her is always keeping her in tune with the rider. For the three times she has raced at Tokyo, things went smoothly. Looking at her work to the left over the last two weeks, I’d say a lefthanded track suits her, so that’s a plus. If we can use that to our advantage and keep her within striking distance, I think we’ll have something to look forward to even in a G1.”

Mile Championship (G1)

Namur (mare, 5)

Tomokazu Takano, trainer
“Finishing second in the Dubai Turf was frustrating, but the race itself reminded me of her high potential and sense of presence. Her performance left no room for complaint whatsoever. I could feel from early on that this horse had a lot to offer, and everything has happened as I’d anticipated ¬- the way she gains strength, the good condition when she goes into a race, thinking that if she would run at her own rhythm, she would be highly competitive in a G1. After returning from Dubai and going through quarantine at the farm, I saw that she has changed a lot compared to how she was after Hong Kong last year, and I realized I could aim her at the Victoria Mile. After returning to Japan and going through quarantine, she really had only the shortest number of days permitted (10) to train at the training center. However, with the help of the farm staff I was able to take the baton, and hopefully I’ve added the finishing touches. I think she’ll go to the gate in good shape.”

Rouge Lignage (mare, 5)

Yoshitada Munakata, trainer
“After some time off at the farm, I’ve prepared her for this race. I did, however, figure in the possibility that she wouldn’t be able to get a berth in the race, so I had also registered her for the Niigata Daishoten that was held last week. I got a fast time from her on April 24 and with that I had her work with another horse. When they line up, this one takes the bit well and her last furlong wasn’t bad at all. She weighed 456kg after that workout. I think she’s just about ready and this week I just breezed her. In her last start, she got bumped just after leaving the gate so that kind of messed with her balance. She’s not suited to a tight track and she only gets her engine revved over the last half, so a wide-open course is better for her. After that it’s seeing how well she measures up.”

Sankeisports Hai Hanshin Himba Stakes (G2)
Sound Vivace

Sound Vivace (mare, 5)

Juntaro Taira, assistant trainer
“She was traveling in a good position in the Tokyo Shimbun Hai, but ran out of gas early. The same thing happened in the Turquoise Stakes, but back then she was coming off a long layoff. We still don’t know what the reason was for last time. She went to the farm afterward to refresh and has been getting regular work since she returned. Last week, the jockey (Kohei Matsuyama) rode her fast work and gave her a pretty hard workout. She’s moving better than she was in the winter and has definitely improved. She did well here last year (fifth place), so the course won’t pose any problem. She is calmer going out onto the track now and she has won over a rain-affected track. Ideally though, the ground will be fast. She measures up as far as ability is concerned, but I don’t know how well she’ll do in her present state of mind.”

Stunning Rose
Stunning Rose

Stunning Rose (mare, 5)

Tomokazu Takano, trainer
“Given the lineup in the Osaka Hai, I thought taking the lead was an option but I’d left it to the jockey (Atsuya Nishimura) to decide. He did lead and the pace was a good one, but she was able to keep something in reserve. The strategy wasn’t a bad one. The result was eighth place, but she made a good effort in the stretch. She was returning from time off and was competing against males. It wasn’t a big loss and I do think she showed her ability. Last week, the jockey rode work and the emphasis was on the last furlong. With her last race as a sharpener, she showed improvement and is looking good physically and mentally. She should show ample improvement. I can’t say a mile suits her best, but I think she will do well at the wide-open Tokyo venue and this time it’s up against fillies and mares only. If she carries herself well-balanced and runs at her own rhythm, she should do fine.”

Ten Happy Rose
Ten Happy Rose

Ten Happy Rose (mare, 6)

Juntaro Taira, assistant trainer
“For a moment in the Hanshin Himba Stakes, I thought she just might be able to make it, but then she lost momentum over the last furlong. The jockey thinks she was fine with a mile and that the results were nothing too tragic. We’ve been preparing her with this race as our target. Two starts ago, she definitely looked like she was coming off a layoff. For her most recent race and coming into this one, however, I definitely have seen improvement. This time of year, the sheen on her coat is good and that surely means she’s in good condition. Last week, her fast work was over the woodchip course. She looked good and she’s been getting lots of work showing no fatigue. She’s fine racing to the right, but she has gotten good results with a long stretch like at Tokyo and Niigata. The change in venues should be good. The question is where will she make her move. If the frontrunners can’t hold their ground, it’ll be good for her.”


Umbrail (filly, 4)

Tetsuya Kimura, trainer
“In preparation for her last start, the Hanshin Himba Stakes, I took her to Ritto and trained there. To be honest, she hadn’t given me the impression that she was in that great of condition. Though her weight was down 10kg, she didn’t look to have improved as much as I hoped. But it was her second race after returning from a long spell and she had improved. After that, she had a bit of time off at the farm and then returned to the training center, where she’s been getting regular work. She’s much tougher than she used to be and I think she’s OK with the tight rotation. The problem is she tends to lose attention easily and she has a difficult temperament. She worked over distance last week and her footwork was good. We focused on upping the pace. She is full of energy, but she doesn’t seem serious about racing. I’m working on it though and studying how to remedy that.”


Sources: Keiba Book, Gallop, Radio Nikkei

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