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November 26, 2021


Japan Cup (G1) - Comments from Japanese runners' connections

Aristoteles (colt, 4)

Hidetaka Otonashi, trainer

“He started the year off with the American Jockey Club Cup and it was over sloppy ground. He did win but I think the repercussions may have been considerable. Next out was the Hanshin Daishoten and the ground was heavy. For two races in a row, it was raining and I think he still had some lingering damage in the Takarazuka Kinen. After time off he returned refreshed and we started prep for his next start, which was his last out. For the first time in a while, he showed us something more characteristic. Regardless of what the numbers say, this horse looks to have matured all around. Last week he worked on the flat and since autumn begin, he’s been looking good. His partner didn’t move very well but this one did well. This week too he worked on the woodchip flat course. Last year this time of year he finished second in the Kikuka Sho (Japanese St. Leger). The field will be stronger, but the distance suits him and the left-handed track shouldn’t be a problem.”

Jan. 24, 2021
American Jockey Club Cup (G2)


Authority (colt, 4)

Yu Ota, assistant trainer

“I had been worried about the assigned weight this year in the Copa Republica Argentina. It was more than he carried last year, but he did very well getting a position, traveled well and made a powerful drive home from the top of the stretch hill. It was a very strong race. Looking at his results up to now, his performances to the right aren’t quite as good as those to the left. Changing leads, among other things, is better to the left. After his last race he had no visible damage, mentally he seemed in good shape and he was full of energy. We let him relax for about a week and then got back to our normal routine. In the end it’s about how much we ask of him. To ask for more than what he gave us last out would be putting too much of a burden on him. That said, Authority has always surpassed our expectations, so we mustn’t back off too much either. I think it’ll be OK to push him.”

Nov. 7, 2021
Copa Republica Argentina (G2)


Contrail (colt, 4)

Shigeki Miyauchi, assistant trainer

“The jockey (Yuichi Fukunaga) said it too, but in the Tenno Sho (Autumn), if he had gotten a position closer to the eventual winner, the results would have been different. Contrail had been agitated in the gate and this is the sole concern remaining. There was no trouble after the race. He came out of it well and was back into training without a hitch. He has no problems in gate practice and, in an effort to help him mentally, we even started giving him pool work. On Nov. 17 we put two horses ahead of him and he easily caught and overtook them. And he didn’t overdo it. His footwork was excellent. This will be the same venue as the Tokyo Yushun (Japanese Derby) and the same conditions. And, it will be his last race. I so much want him to win one more time.”

Sep. 27, 2020
Kobe Shimbun Hai (Japanese St. Leger Trial) (G2)


Kiseki (horse, 7)

Yasuyuki Tsujino, trainer

“After coming back to the training center from the farm before the Kyoto Daishoten, he looked pretty slack. He’s 7 years old but he looked worse than other times he’d been coming back into work. Still, his final work in the week of the race did seem to have him good shape and he did quite well, which made me realize he still has it. After that run he got lighter on his feet and visibly improved. I had considered racing him in the Copa Republica Argentina but then decided on the Japan Cup. The jockey (Ryuji Wada) has gotten a good handle on his quirks, including his issues with the gate and that is a real confidence booster. I think instead of a slow beginning, then an all-out effort in the final stage, this horse does better choosing his own time to move and competing more on stamina than a final burst of speed. The lineup is strong and I’m hoping he’ll bring his all to the race.”


Lord My Way (horse, 5)

Haruki Sugiyama, trainer

“In the Copa Republica Argentina he raced from the rear amid a slow pace and he stopped racing on his own. In the race before that, the times over the final stage were slower and he did his best there. Rather than a race that all comes down to a fast late speed, I think he’d do better in a G1 that has more pace in it. He hadn’t given it his all last time out, so there was no damage. It’s a tight rotation but I think his preparation has been sufficient. The competition will be strong but I’d like to him to take on the challenge of a G1 race. The jockey (Kosei Miura) has ridden him before and has a good reading on him. I’m hoping he can remain in the race mentally until the end.”

Lord My Way

Lord My Way

Makahiki (horse, 8)

Yasuo Tomomichi, trainer

“He’s been racing from toward the rear in recent races, but this last time out in the Kyoto Daishoten, the jockey (Kota Fujioka) intentionally sent him forward to about midfield and we saw some much more characteristic racing from him. He was in good shape so we thought we’d try a Grade 2, but I do think his position was crucial to the win. He recovered quickly from the race and we started right back in to regular work. On Nov. 18, we breezed him with another horse on the flat, with this one leading. There was no need to clock him and the work was sufficient. He’s on his game. For his age, he hasn’t had that many starts and physically, he’s still young. I’m hoping he’ll give it his all over his best course.”

Oct. 10, 2021
Kyoto Daishoten (G2)


Mozu Bello (horse, 5)

Naoyuki Morita, trainer

“He’s the type that improves with a race so I had expected him to do a bit better in the Tenno Sho (Autumn). After that we’ve been spending more time on flatwork and though it’s been very gradual, I do feel he has improved. His running form is better. He had a good hard workout on Nov. 17 working with another horse and I’m eager to see how much that will improve him. Over the weekend I had him really pick it up over the last furlong of the hill course and this week too, we pushed him pretty hard. I thought the race before last would improve him but he was brought back into work a bit late and that slowed things down. Still, he has slowly gotten better and I think he’s ready. It would be even better if it rained on raceday.”

Mozu Bello

Mozu Bello

Muito Obrigado (horse, 7)

Koichi Tsunoda, trainer

“Two races ago, he was stomping in the gate and started poorly because of that, so in the Tenno Sho (Autumn) we put blinkers on him and that helped him concentrate in the gate as well. He did fairly well going around even in a 2,000-meter Grade 1, so I don’t think it was that bad of a race. We kept him at the training center afterward and all has gone as usual. He had gate practice last Wednesday and then worked up the hill. The next day we worked with another horse on the woodchip flat course. This will be his third start since returning from time off but he’s still fresh and has maintained his condition. He’s not young so I can’t say that there will be any great improvement from his last race. But this time it is his best course, the lefthanded 2,400 meters. And these are the best conditions for him. The lineup is strong so we’ll just have to see how well he can do.”

Sanrei Pocket (horse, 6)

Yoshitada Takahashi, trainer

“Over the Tokyo 2,000 meters and amid a strong field, he gave us a good performance in the Tenno Sho (Autumn). He ran solidly and I can think you can give him good marks for that race. He’s never been good at the break, but this time he broke better than usual and was able to travel from a good position. After that race he went to the farm for a bit and was able to switch off. Since returning to the training center everything has gone according to plan. The Tenno Sho (Autumn) had been our main objective, but his coat has a good sheen to it and he has kept his condition. Last week, he worked with another horse and we pushed him pretty hard. This week, just a bit of fine-tuning will be enough. He did a good job in a Grade 1 2,000 meters and I don’t think a 2,400 meters will be any problem. I’m looking forward to a good race.”

May 9, 2021
Niigata Daishoten (G3)

Sanrei Pocket

Shadow Diva (mare, 5)

Makoto Saito, trainer

“Her position in the Fuchu Himba Stakes was further back than I had thought it would be. But her finish was just amazing. She went off to the farm for a mini break and, since she’s a bit difficult to ride when racing to the right, we figured our best choice was to take her to the Japan Cup next. She returned to the training center still in good condition. Jockey Norihiro Yokoyama rode her in fast work last week. We kept a horse in front of her as the target and checked a number of things. She showed her late speed racing from far off the front in her last race. And Yokoyama, who knew and rode her sire Heart’s Cry said, “She’s a whole lot better than I had imagined.” Everything, including her movement, checked out OK. She did decently in the Japanese Oaks over the Tokyo 2,400 meters. Now, physically and mentally she’s on an even keel and she’s maturing. I’ve done my utmost getting her ready and I’m hoping to send her to the gate at her best.”

Oct. 16, 2021
Ireland Trophy Fuchu Himba Stakes (G2)

Shadow Diva

Shahryar (colt, 3)

Nobuyuki Tashiro, assistant trainer

“He wasn’t in poor shape for the Kobe Shimbun Hai and the jockey chose to go where the ground was good but the horse just didn’t pick it in the final stage. He has a really beautiful stride, so from the results, all I can say is that suitability to the surface is what made the difference. After that he went to the farm for a bit and returned with this race as our aim. On Nov. 18 he worked over the woodchip course, we gave him a good hard workout, and it looks like his last race has sharpened him up. Everything has gone smoothly and he has put on muscle but I do think that he has more growing to do. He looked like he was rather tense in his last race but that’s the normal pattern for him. It’s no good if he’s too quiet. He won the Japanese Derby over the Tokyo 2,400 meters and it would be good if he had a fast track like he did then. He has a record win of the Mainichi Hai as well. There are a lot of strong older horses, but this year the 3-year-olds are getting good results and I think he’ll give us a good race as well. I’m looking forward to it.”

Mar. 27, 2021
Mainichi Hai (G3)


Uberleben (filly, 3)

Takahisa Tezuka, trainer

“After the Japanese Oaks, she had some inflammation in her left foreleg and due to this she went straight to the Shuka Sho without a prep. Her weight wasn’t up significantly but with the amount lost during the trip to the track, I think she may not have been at her best. On top of that, the Hanshin inner course doesn’t suit her. We kept her at the training center and she has gotten regular work. All has gone well. On Nov. 17 I put two horses out in front of her and had her close on them, but she wasn’t able to catch them. Both of them were sprinters though and she’s not a speedster, but she did run well catching up to them. I do think she’ll show improvement with her last race and she’s back with the same conditions she had when she won the Oaks. The others are strong but she has some things working in her favor too.”

May 23, 2021
Yushun Himba (Japanese Oaks) (G1)


Wagnerian (horse, 6)

Yasuo Tomomichi, trainer

“In his recent starts he hasn’t run solidly until the end, so to shake things up a bit, we gave him a shorter distance with the Fuji Stakes last out and I think that should carry over to this next race. He’s gotten regular exercise since. He didn’t seem quite himself in the afternoon of Nov. 17, so we went easy the next day instead of overdoing it. But afterward he was very alert and ate as usual, so I don’t think there’s any concern about his physical condition. We worked him over the weekend and Keita Tosaki rode this week. It’s apparent that the Tokyo 2,400 meters is his best trip. And I do think that having raced him in the 1,600 meters Fuji Stakes will do him good this time. I’m hoping we can see some characteristic racing from him at a venue he’s good at.”



Windjammer (gelding, 4)

Kazuo Fujisawa, trainer

“He moved really well in work this week over the woodchip flat working with another horse. When he was younger he didn’t do well on turf, which I think was more a mental thing than a lack of suitability. His racing was very inconsistent. I don’t know if it was a result of his being gelded or due to his age but he’s much more solid now. A lot of horses improve after being gelded. He would get too excited when around fillies and we wanted to reduce the risk of injury. He’s by Spielberg and started out on turf. From his bloodline, I think he’ll be able to handle 2,400 meters. The competition is really keen but I think taking on the challenge is worth it. I don’t know how he’ll do in his present condition but I’m eager to find out.”

Daisuke Tsumagari, assistant trainer

“I think the No. 8 gate is a good draw for him. He has only won over dirt, but he has gotten stronger since being gelded. It’ll be his first time on turf in a long time. I hope he’ll get a good ground-saving trip.”

You Can Smile (horse, 6)

Yasuo Tomomichi, trainer

“He can handle 2,000 meters, but he’s more suited to about 2,400. In the Tenno Sho (Autumn) he raced from behind and with the slow pace, well, the results were to be expected. He stayed at the training center and has gotten regular work. On Nov. 18 he worked with another horse, caught up to him but lagged a bit at the finish. He ran solidly though and it was a good workout for a week out. His work usually reflects how he’ll do in a race. With his present attitude, I think he’ll be able to show us what he has. He has always liked racing to the left and the extra distance is a plus. This year he has improved more quickly after a race than he did last year. The others are strong, but I’m expecting to see progress from him.”

You Can Smile

You Can Smile


Sources: Keiba Book, Netkeiba, Sports Hochi, Sports Nippon