Friday, September 30, 2005

Top Ratings for Sprinters

SILENT WITNESS has rated at the top weight of 120 pounds, followed by ADMIRE MAX and CAPE OF GOOD HOPE sharing at 115. CALSTONE LIGHT O has gained 111. The weight of 110 pounds has been assigned to KEENELAND SWAN(USA) and PRECIOUS CAFE. GALLANT ARROW gained 108 pounds. GOLDEN CAST and SHE IS TOSHO had respective 107. (source: JRA)

Local hopes for Sprinters

DURANDAL, winner of the Sprinters Stakes two seasons ago, makes the first start since winning the Mile Championship(g1) last November. Out of action for 10 months could be a slight setback, but he has the ability to rally on the final stretch.
ADMIRE MAX winning the Takamatsunomiya Kinen(g1) earlier this season seeks the second g1 sprint success of the year with red-hot Yutaka Take controling him. Reigning champion CALSTONE LIGHT O could make a big run under the given conditions. The Centaur Stakes winner GOLDEN CAST and SHE IS TOSHO, winner of last two starts including the g3 Hakodate Sprint, will be in the hunt. Dual grade winner PRECIOUS CAFE tries to bounce back from the undesired outcomes in his recent starts.

Strong entries from Hong Kong

Hong Kong entries, CAPE OF GOOD HOPE(GB) and SILENT WITNESS(AUS), for the Sprinters Stakes look very strong and could play a major role.

CAPE OF GOOD HOPE has enjoyed the best career season this term with a pair of group one victories. The Golden Sprint Challenge winner came here with an impressive victory in the Golden Jubilee Stakes, one of the six-leg GSC series, at York on June 8. This will be the second Sprinters run for the world traveler to amend a third last year. Could produce a much better run than last year and would not make light of him here.

SILENT WITNESS, snapping the 17 consecutive victories in the Champions Mile on two starts back, will be on the reappearnce in Japan turf following a close third last June in the Yasuda Kinen. Cutting back to 1,200 meters, one of his favorite distances, would be appreciated for the Hong Kong hero to get back on the winning trail. Could not be ruled out here.

Field Set for Sprinters Stakes

16 runners are ready to run for the Sprinters Stakes at Nakayama on Sunday, October 2, 2005. The post positions with jockeys and weights(kgs) for the 1,200-meter test are as follows:

1 Golden Cast, FKomaki, 57
2 T M Churasan, STajima, 53
3 Rikiai Taikan, KTake, 57
4 Durandal, KIkezoe, 57
5 Cape of Good Hope(GB), BPrebble, 57
6 She is Tosho, KAndo, 55
7 Silky Lagoon, KTanaka, 55
8 Precious Cafe, MEbina, 57
9 Calstone Light O, NOnishi, 57
10 Keeneland Swan(USA), HShii, 57
11 Golden Rodrigo, KAkagi, 57
12 Admire Max, YTake, 57
13 Silent Witness(AUS), FCoetzee, 57
14 Maruka Kiseki, YFukunaga, 57
15 Tamamo Hot Play, RWada, 57
16 Gallant Arrow, NYokoyama, 57

The post time will be at 3:40pm JST.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Sprinters S Trend

Shocks are occasional. Favorites have won four times and placed second three times in the last 10 years. During the same period, Daitaku Yamato(in 2000) is the longest priced winner(paid 25,750 yen as the 16th pick), followed by Meiner Love(paid 3,760 yen as the 7th pick). Believe(in 2002) and Flower Park(in1996) are the winning females in the last 10 runnings. The last 10 winners are 6-year-olds or younger.

Nakayama Racecourse

Course description: The turf course is a right-handed oval of 1,667 meters. There is a slightly uphill on the 310-meter homestretch from the last 200 meters to about 60 meters from the finish line. The outer course is run on a partly separate backstretch course which gives the main course a 1,840-meter circuit. Inside the turf course is a oval dirt track of 1,493 meters.

Sprinters S Brief History

The Sprinters Stakes was inaugurated in 1967 and has been since establised as one of the most prominent sprint events. The introduction of grade system in 1984 gave the Sprinters a grade three status. The race was upgraded to grade two in 1986, and then was rewarded to grade one status in 1990. As part of the modification on JRA program in 2000, for the first time the Sprinters took place in late-September or early-October. It has been running as an international race since 1994. The Sprinters Stakes is the last leg of inaugural Global Sprint Challenge series.

Sprinters S Nomination

The Sprinters Stakes, the opener for JRA G1 series in 2005 Fall calendar, takes place at Nakayama on October 2nd. A total of 18 runners including the two Hong Kong-based horses have been nominated for the last leg of the Global Sprint Challenge series.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Red Hot Take

Yutaka Take rode one of the 5 winners on the day when he won the Kobe Shimbun Hai aboard the sensational 3-year-old colt DEEP IMPACT. The 36-year-old jockey registered 12 wins from 17 mounts on Saturday and Sunday, which is the new record for the most winning rides in a 2-day session.

Easy Win For DP In Kobe

A prelude to DEEP IMPACT's quest for the Triple Crown win was highly successful with an easy victory Sunday afternoon in the Kobe Shimbun Hai(g2) at Hanshin. DEEP IMPACT, the heavy favorite at final odds of 1.1(or 1-10), won the 2,000-meter grade two by a 2 1/2-length from SIX SENSE. ROSENKREUZ finished another 3/4-length further back to get third. Yutaka Take was aboard the winner to complete the trip in 1 minute 58.4 seconds on firm ground.

Take held off DEEP IMPACT in the second to last. On far front, STORMY CAFE led a parade of thirteen 3-year-old colts, covering the opening 1,000 meters in 59.1 seconds. Take was on the move when exiting the backstretch, and advanced on the outside with the runners bunching up on his inside. Take said, "He picked up the speed as I gave him a go-sign at the far turn." Right before the field entered the stretch, DEEP IMPACT established a contending position, outside of SIX SENSE. STORMY CAFE was a length in front.

As STORMY CAFE was done at the top-stretch, Take and his colt got down to business as usual, blowing past SIX SENSE effortlessly for the winning run. "He relaxed a little bit when drawing away from the rivals, so I drew a whip once, telling him that the line was still a long way to go.", said Take.

Racing for the same breeder and owner combination of HOOKIPA WAVE, DEEP IMPACT remains undefeated in 6 starts with more than 457 million yen in earnings. The Sunday Silence colt out of Wind In Her Hair, by Alzao, is trained at Ritto by Yasuo Ikee.

Now, he is pointing at the Kikuka Sho(Japanese St. Leger) to bid for the greatest achievement of the Triple Crown title.

Hookipa Wave takes All Comers

The Sankei Sho All Comers(g2) was won in exciting finish Sunday afternoon at Nakayama by HOOKIPA WAVE, who held off the late surging GRASS BOMBER and ER NOVA after hitting into the front at the head of final strech. GRASS BOMBER finished a neck behind the winner and a 1/2-length before ER NOVA in second place. Under the guidance of Hiroki Goto, the 4-year-old colt crossed the line to stop the clock in 2 minutes 16.7 seconds for the 2,200-meter trip on grass.

It was the first grade success for HOOKIPA WAVE, who has now earnings of 186 million yen with a record of 11-3-3-1 under the color of Makoto Kaneko. He is a son of Carnegie and the Mr. Prospector's mare Platinum Wave. Yoshitake Ninomiya trains him at Miho. Northern Farm in Hayakita, Hokkaido is a breeder of the dark bay colt.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Impact heavy favorite in Kobe

After closing Saturday betting round, DEEP IMPACT winning the Japanese Derby and Satsuki Sho has been installed as the extremely heavy favorite at odds of 1.0* for the Kobe Shimbun Hai. The strong front running STORMY CAFE was at 13.5(or 25-2) for the second choice followed by the Satsuki Sho third ADMIRE JAPAN at 29.6(or 143-5). The rest of the field was 30.0(or 29-1) or higher.

Note: * The amount you receive for the winning bet at odds of 1.0 is the same amount as your returned stake.

The 53rd Kobe Shimbun Hai, Grade Two
Hanshin, Race 11
Sunday, September 25, 2005
3-year-olds, 2,000 meters, turf, right-handed
All starters carry 56 kgs.
Field: 13
Post time: 3:45pm JST

Vita Rosa favored for All Comers

VITA ROSA, a dual grade winner who finished third in Niigata Kinen(g3) last time out in late-August, was installed as the favorite at odds of 2.7(or 17-10) for the All Comers, a feature race for the Nakayama Sunday meeting. GRASS BOMBER showing the good form in recent starts was the second favorite at 4.9(or 39-10) followed by the 2004 Meguro Kinen(g2) winner CHAKRA at 6.6(or 28-5).

The 51st Sankei Sho All Comers, Grade Two
Nakayama, Race 11
Sunday, September 25, 2005
3yo+, 2,200 meters, turf, right-handed
Field: 10
Post time: 3:35pm JST

Win Betting(as of Saturday)

VITA ROSA 2.7(or 17-10)
GRASS BOMBER 4.9(or 39-10)
CHAKRA 6.6(or 28-5)
COIN TOSS 6.8(or 29-5)
HOOKIPA WAVE 6.8(or 29-5)
ER NOVA 8.9(or 79-10)
Others 10.0(or 9-1) or higher price

Friday, September 23, 2005

Hong Kong entries for Sprinters

CAPE OF GOOD HOPE(GB) and SILENT WITNESS(AUS), both based on Hong Kong, arrived Japan Wednesday night to participate in the Sprinters Stakes to be run October 2 at Nakayama. They began to exercise Thursday morning at quarantine facility.

Impact is back on turf

He is back. Yes. DEEP IMPACT is back on turf after a 4-month vacation.

As the arguably the best colt of his generation in the country, DEEP IMPACT is returning to action this Sunday with an appearance in the Kobe Shimbun Hai(g2) at Hanshin. Having summered well at Sapporo Racecourse, the Sunday Silence colt kicks off his fall campaign in the Kobe.

The undefeated colt in five career starts dominated the 3-year-old division in Spring season, winning the first two jewels of the Triple Crown Races, the Satsuki Sho and Japanese Derby, by a combined 7 1/2-length. The Kobe could be an important steppingstone for the triple crown hopeful to go on to the big time "Kikuka Sho(Japanese St. Leger)". No doubt that he is one to follow.

In the field of thirteen 3-year-olds in the Kobe, the likely heavy favorite DEEP IMPACT will break from post 9 with Yutaka Take riding on him.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Kane Hekili has no trouble in DGP

The heavy favorite KANE HEKILI had no trouble in the Derby Grand Prix, notching up a 2 1/2-length victory Monday afternoon at NAR Morioka. The chestnut colt made the running while entering the final stretch and galloped for the rest of the way. "It was a perfect race.", said Yutaka Take. "He accelarated by himself at the final bend. I just sat on him."

The final time for the 2,000 meters on dirt surface was 2 minutes 3.8 seconds. SUNRISE BACCHUS came in second followed by DON COOL third. The JRA horses dominated the DGP, finishing the first five in the field of twelve 3-year-olds.

Trained at Ritto by K.Sumii, KANE HEKILI has now won 6 of his 9 races with 6-for-6 on dirt race. His next run is not decided, but the Japan Cup Dirt at Tokyo on November 26th will be his prime target.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Comeback King's Trail

Once regarded as one of the most talented colts in the leading trainer Kazuo Fujisawa's stable, KING'S TRAIL(Sunday Silence - Santa Fe Trail, by Northern Taste) had a comeback triumph in the St. Lite Kinen for 3-year-olds Sunday afternoon at Nakayama. He finished a neck before favorite FUSAICHI AUSTER(USA)(Stormin Fever - Gender War, by Green Dancer) in 2 minutes 11.8 seconds for the winning time in the 2,000 meters on the main course. Third place went to KING'S TRAIL's stablemate PISA NO PATEK(Sunday Silence - Blessing, by Maruzensky), who finished a half-length behind the runner-up. Hiroshi Kitamura took the mount on the winning colt. As the eighth choice, KING'S TRAIL paid 2,140 yen for win.

The race was the first start in 10 months due to a leg injury for KING'S TRAIL to successfully amend his lost time. The last time we saw him on the course prior to the St. Lite was last November in the Keio Hai Nisai Stakes where he finished a promising second.

Messiah makes big step

AIR MESSIAH made a big step toward the Shuka Sho as she claimed a victory in the Rose Stakes(g2) Sunday afternoon at Hanshin. The Sunday Silence filly won it by a half-length from favorite RHEIN KRAFT. Fifth choice LAILAPS, three and a half lengths behind the runner-up, got third in the field of fifteen 3-year-old fillies. Yutaka Take was aboard the winner, covering the 2,000-meter turf trip in 2 minutes 0.1 second. Second favorite AIR MESSIAH paid 240 yen for win.

In the early pace, Yuichi Fukunaga drew rein to hold RHEIN KRAFT in a second position. Meanwhile, Take took his filly at the mid-field off the rail before making a move. Finally, Fukunaga let her go leaving the backstretch. When he did so, the filly really opened up, leading the way before the final bend.

At the top-stretch, RHEIN KRAFT kept running well to leave the field far behind. But things got exciting when AIR MESSIAH quickly broke the pack to challenge. "Rhein Kraft was far in front as we turned for home, but my horse responded very well throughout the stretch.", said Take after the race. The remainder was out of the race. AIR MESSIAH's finishing kick was the best of the two front fillies. Take said, "I thought we had it in the final 100 meters." She just blew past RHEIN KRAFT near the line.
"I was not perssimistic about finishing second at all. She ran well and almost made it to the winning post.", said Fukunaga.

This was the third victory in seven starts, under the name of Lucky Field Co. Ltd., for AIR MESSIAH, whose career earnings has improved to more than 157 million yen. Out of Air Deja Vu, by Northern Taste, the filly is trained at Ritto by Yuji Ito. Shadai Farm in Chitose, Hokkaido is a breeder of her. She could be one of the major players for the upcoming Shuka Sho.

Note that the Shuka Sho is considered as the final leg of the Triple Crown Series for 3-year-old fillies.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Kane Hekili likely favored for DGP

KANE HEKILI, the Japan Dirt Derby winner who is considered the best 3-year-old on the dirt circuit in the country, is bidding to make a four-straight-win on Monday, Sep.19 when he lineups in the Derby Grand Prix at NAR Morioka. Sending out to northern Japan, the JRA colt is likely to be the favorite in the field of twelve 3-year-olds for the 2,000-meter dirt contest. The DGP is one of the NAR g1 premiere races which are open to JRA qualified runners.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Kraft goes for Rose Stakes

RHEIN KRAFT, with a couple of g1 victories under her belt, returns Sunday to the course when she faces the 14 rivals in the Rose Stakes(g2), a key prep for the g1 Shuka Sho for 3-year-old fillies at Hanshin, going over 2,000 meters on turf. The End Sweep filly took the center stage of g1 events in her latest two starts, finishing a head in front of the subsequent Oaks winner Cesario for the Oka Sho(Japanese 1000 Guineas) victory in April and then becoming the NHK Mile Cup heroine in early May. A step up to the untested distance will be a real test for RHEIN KRAFT, who has yet to taste a trip beyond 1,600 meters. RHEIN KRAFT has to prove that she can stay at the distance to go on to the 2,000-meter Shuka Sho at Kyoto.

“She is a much more grown-up filly.”, said Yuichi Fukunaga, who rode her in the final workout on September 14 at Ritto, clocking a 1,200-meter in 78.3 seconds without his hands barely moving on her neck. “She is in really good shape. We can find out whether she can manage the distance.”

Opposing RHEIN KRAFT in the Rose includes: EISHIN TENDER winning the Tulip Sho(g3) earlier this season; AIR MESSIAH, Oaks silver medalist who lacked a few stride of gaining the winning form on the grade level in the past, but the distance could be at her best with dangerous Yutaka Take returning to steer her; Queen Cup(g3) winner LAILAPS having failed to impact on the highest level so far; SANREI JASPER to make a step up in class after a pair of wins at Kokura.

Rose Stakes, grade two
Hanshin, Race 11
Sunday, September 18, 2005
3yo fillies, 2,000 meters, turf, right-handed
Weight: starters carry 54kgs
Field: 15
Post time: 3.45PM JST

Win betting(as of Saturday)
OTHERS 11-1 or higher

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The St. Lite Kine, one of the trials for the Kikuka Sho(Japanese St. Leger), looks a wide open contest.

St. Lite Kinen, grade two
Nakayama, Race 11
Sunday, September 18, 2005
3yo, 2,200 meters, turf, right-handed
Weight: all starters carry 56kgs
Field: 15
Post time: 3.35PM JST

Win betting(as of Saturday)
FUSAICHI AUSTER 3-2, to meet the grade company for the first time coming off an impressive Kokura victory last month in a non-graded stakes by beating the older company
MEINER RECOLTE 4-1, Japanese Derby fifth last outing, who never missed hitting on the board
ADMIRE FUJI 26-5, to seek the first grade success having placed fourth in the Derby
CONRAD 32-5, winner of last two starts, recently this colt took the Radio Tampa(g3) at Fukushima
TOP GUN JOE 77-10, who could have a good momentum with victory last month in a Niigata stakes against older runners
OTHERS 9-1 or higher