Sunday, April 29, 2007

Samson wins Tenno Sho in photo-finish

The 2007 race of the Tenno Sho Spring was won in exciting photo-finish Sunday afternoon at Kyoto Racecourse by Meisho Samson. He beat Erimo Excel by a nose with Tokai Trick another neck away third. Mamoru Ishibashi guided the 4-year-old colt to the 3,200-meter marathon race in 3 minutes 14.10 seconds on firm ground.

Outside 300 meters to go, Veteran jockey Mamoru Ishibashi forced Meisho Samson to take the lead, and the rest still bunched up close. In the next 200 meters, he looked to open up, but Tokai Trick on the rail and Erimo Excel on his outside closed with him to challenge. From that point, excitement began as the three went into a head-to-head battle to the line. After a photo inspection, Meisho Samson put his nose in front at the post.

Trained by S.Takahashi and owned by Y.Matsumoto, Meisho Samson is a 4-year-old son of Opera House out of the Dancing Brave mare My Vivien.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Field set for 2007 Tenno Sho Spring

A field of 16 is set for the 135th Tenno Sho Spring, held at Kyoto Racecourse on Sunday, April 29.
The field for the 3,200-meter traditional race is:

1/Matsurida Gogh/4c/N.Yokoyama
2/Fast Tateyama/8h/K.Take
3/Yumeno Shirushi/5h/Y.Yoshida
4/Admire Monarch/6h/I.Murata
5/Admire Title/5h/H.Shii
6/Meisho Samson/4c/M.Ishibashi
7/Tokai Elite/7h/M.Kawada
8/Eye Popper/7h/K.Ando
9/Win Glanz/7h/S.Akiyama
10/Tosho Knight/6h/T.Bushizawa
11/My Sole Sound/8h/K.Tsunoda
12/Tokai Trick/5h/K.Ikezoe
13/Dark Massage/4c/T.Sato
14/Never Bouchon/4c/H.Kitamura
15/Delta Blues/6h/Y.Iwata
16/Erimo Expire/4c/Y.Fukunaga
All starters carry 58kgs.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Major preps for Tenno Sho Spring

03/18 Hanshin Daishoten at Hanshin
Eye Popper beat favorite Dream Passport by a neck, winning the Hanshin Daishoten in 3 minutes 8.30 seconds for the 3,000-meter trip on the Hanshin main course.
Before making the final turn into the stretch for the second time, Dream Passport went into the front with Eye Popper trailing just behind. The two battled gamely to the line until Eye Popper prevailed. Third-placed Tokai Trick and fourth-placed Delta Blues made a final effort to get home just behind the first two.

03/24 Nikkei Sho at Nakayama
The Nikkei Sho took place Saturday afternoon at Nakayama. It was the half-length victory for third favorite Never Bouchon, who produced a great turn of foot in the closing stage. Second favorite Tosho Knight took second, a neck before favorite Matsurida Gogh.

04/01 Sankei Osaka Hai at Hanshin
Meisho Samson, winner of a couple of classic races last year, got off to a good start for his 4-year-old campaign when he won the Sankei Okasa Hai by a half-length from Shadow Gate with Meisho Ote finishing another neck behind for third. Mamoru Ishibashi was the winning jockey to travel the 2,000 meters in 2 minutes 1.40 seconds on the Hanshin main turf course.

Monday, April 23, 2007

2007 Tenno Sho Spring

The Tenno Sho Spring(G1) will take place this Sunday at Kyoto Racecourse. 20 runners have been nominated for the 3,200-meer traditional event. It will be a wide-open contest. A maximum field of 18 is expected to set for it.

Brief history
The Tenno Sho(Emperor's Cup) is a biannual race, taking place in Spring at Kyoto and Autumn at Tokyo. The Tenno Sho Spring(so called in 1948 for the first time) was inaugurated in 1938 at Hanshin over 2,700 meters. In 1939, the race was run over 3,200 meters for the first time. War caused the race to be suspended in 1945 and 1946. The door was opened for a limited number of foreign-breds in 2000. The traditional Spring edition is the biggest and most important race for routers.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Winning quote for Satsuki Sho

Quote from Katsuharu Tanaka who was aboard the Satsuki Sho(Japanese 2000 Guineas) winner Victory;

I did not intend to take up the running. There was the decreasing pace at the first turn, and that automatically brought us to the front. The pace my horse made may have been a bit strong, but it turned out to be a good pace to him. I just tried not to disturb his mood. We got behind in the stretch at a moment, but he gamely fought it back.

Tanaka rode the first g1 winner in 15 years since the 1992 Yasuda Kinen's win, finally snapping his losing streak at JRA g1 events in 140th mount.

[ Other brief news ]

Japan will send three horses to the 2007 Singapore Airlines International Cup at Kranji on May 20. Cosmo Bulk, Shadow Gate and Swift Current have been nominated for the international g1 event.

Dubai Duty Free winner Admire Moon moved to Hong Kong and is scheduled to run in the Hong Kong International Cup.

Depending on the outcome of her next action in the Japanese Oaks, Oka Sho(Japanese 1000 Guineas) winner Daiwa Scarlet may be heading to Hollywood Park for taking on the July 7 American Oaks.

Australian invader Karasi gained his third straight victory in the Nakayama Grand Jump when he won the Japanese richest and biggest jump race at Nakayama on Saturday, April 14.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Big Victory in Satsuki Sho

Victory came home a photo-finish winner of the 2007 Satsuki Sho(Japanese 2000 Guineas) this afternoon at Nakayama Racecourse. Aggressively and perfectly ridden by Katsuharu Tanaka, seventh favorite Victory won it in 1 minute 59.90 seconds at the Nakayama turf course over 2,000 meters. Second place, a nose behind, was long shot Sun Zeppelin with second favorite Fusaichi Ho O another nose back third. Another 1 1/2-length further back, race favorite Admire Aura finished fourth in the field of 18 colts.

Tanaka, who rode Victory for the first time, let him go into the front while making the turn into the backstretch, then never gave up the position for the big victory in the first 3-year-old classic of the year. Before a narrow victory, the winner, however, had to deny challenges from Sun Zeppelin and Fusaichi Ho O.Tanaka said after the race, "I am very pleased with this victory. I thought we got caught. He is a temperamantal colt, so I tried not to disturb his mood. I expect him to have a good run in the Derby."

Victory, in H.Kondo's colors, has now three wins in 4 starts. The first prize improved his career earnings to 171.8+ million yen. Hidetaka Otonashi trains him at Ritto. Northern Farm in Hayakita, Hokkaido is the breeder of Victory, a bay colt by Brian's Time out of the Tony Bin mare Grace Admire.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Admire Aura favored for Satsuki Sho

Admire Aura has been installed, as of Saturday, as the early favorite for the Satsuki Sho(Japanese 2000 Guineas) at odds of 3.1. Fusaichi
Ho O was the second favroite at 4.1. The 8.2 third favorite was Dream Journey followed by Coconut Punch 8.8. The rest of the field was
10.0 or higher.

Friday, April 13, 2007

2007 Satsuki Sho preview

Admire Aura could get lots of support and will be favored as Sanday's Satsuki Sho(Japanese 2000 Guineas) by public bettors. The colt is sure to have a good momentum coming off a couple of grade victories. His latest winning effort of the Yayoi Sho at the same course and distance was outstanding. Reproduction of that effort could give him a big run.
The main opposition to Admire Aura could be Fusaichi Ho O, who won all of his 4 starts including three graded races. Out of action for more than 2 months could be a negative material, but there is a good chance that he remains undefeated if he runs his race.
Other leading contenders include: Coconut Punch who got second in the Yayoi Sho on his only second start; juvenile champion Dream Journey capable of making a big late run; Spring Stakes winner Flying Apple who looks to have a versatile running style; impressive Wakaba Stakes hero Victory

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Stage set for Satsuki Sho

The stage is set for the 2007 Satsuki Sho(Japanese 2000 Guineas), held at Nakayama on Sunday. 18 3-year-old colts will go for the first leg of the Triple Crown races.
The contestants with post positions and riders for the 2,000-meter turf event is:

1/Fusaichi Ho O/K.Ando
2/Laurel Guerreiro/S.Fujita
3/Meiner Segal/H.Goto
4/Black Schanze/H.Uemura
5/Ferrari Pisa(USA)/Y.Iwata
6/Dream Journey/M.Ebina
7/Sunrise Max/K.Ikezoe
8/Namura Mars/Y.Fujioka
9/Sun Zeppelin/M.Matsuoka
10/Meisho Regalo/Y.Fukunaga
11/New Beginning/H.Shii
12/Asakusa Kings/K.Take
14/A Shin P C(USA)/Y.Shibata
15/Admire Aura/Y.Take
16/Flying Apple(USA)/N.Yokoyama
18/Coconut Punch/Y.Yoshida
All starters carry 57kgs. The post time will be at 3:40 p.m. JST.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Road to 2007 Satsuki Sho(Japanese 2000 Guineas)

Feb04/07 Kyodo News Service Hai
Feb11/07 Kisaragi Sho
Feb24/07 Arlington Cup
Mar04/07 Yayoi Sho
Mar17/07 Wakaba Stakes
Mar18/07 Spring Stakes
Mar24/07 Mainichi Hai

Kyoto News Service Hai at Tokyo
Fusaichi Ho O made the big step toward the first classic, the Satsuki Sho, when he won the Kyodo News Service Hai(jpn-g3).
Having held off in mid-field by Katsumi Ando early on, favorite Fusaichi Ho O took command in the stretch to get home in 1 minute 47.7 seconds for the 1,800-meter trip. However, before a neck victory, he had to deny challenging Direct Catch. Third, another half-length behind, was Flying Apple(USA) with New Beginning fourth in the field of nine 3-year-old colts.

Kisaragi Sho at Kyoto
Third favorite Asakusa Kings led all the way to take the Kisaragi Sho(jpn-g3). He won it by a 1 3/4-length from second favorite Namura Mars with another head away Samurai Tigers(USA) third. Heavy favorite Ocean Apes finished fourth in the field of eight 3-year-old colts. The winning time for the 1,800-meter distance was 1 minute 48.8 seconds. Koshiro Take, who replaced injured Hirofumi Shii, was the winning rider.

Arlington Cup at Hanshin
Tosen Captain posted an Arlington Cup(jpn-g3) victory. This gave the Jungle Pocket colt a flawless record in 3 starts. Hirofumi Shii rode the winner, completing the 1,600-meter distance in 1 minute 33.90 seconds on firm ground. The great excitement began soon after second favorite Tosen Captain and Laurel Guerreiro broke away from the rest. In the last 200 meters, the two encountered a ding-dong battle for the lead. The thrilling finish ended when Tosen Captain put his neck in front at the post. Four lengths back Meiner Rainier took third in the field of sixteen 3-year-olds.

Yayoi Sho at Nakayama
Admire Aura made a big step toward the Satsuki Sho(Japanese 2000 Guineas) in winning the Yayoi Sho(jpn-g2) Sunday at Nakayama. Yutaka Take was aboard the winning colt to complete the 2,000-meter trip in 2 minutes 0.50 seconds on firm ground. The jockey won the race in three consecutive years and has now ridden the sixth Yayoi Sho winner in the last 12 years. Admire Aura paid 170 yen for win as favorite.
Sixth favorite Coconut Punch performed a good form in his only second start, finishing a neck behind the winner in second. Another 1 3/4-length back, second favorite Dream Journey took third place in the field of 16.

Wakaba Stakes at Hanshin
Victory stalked the pace set by Gold Kirishima, and then took over while leaving the backstretch en route to winning the Wakaba Stakes. Second, a neck behind, was Sunrise Max with Nataraja third. Victory, a half brother of multiple grade winner Lincoln, completed the 2,000-meter trip in 2 minutes 1.20 seconds under Yasunari Iwata.Victory and Sunrise Max were qualified for an entry of the Satsuki Sho without selection process.

Spring Stakes at Nakayama
Race favorite Flying Apple rallied on the final stretch to take the Fuji TV Sho Spring Stakes(jpn-g2) on the Nakayama main course. He won it by a 3/4-length from third favorite Meiner Segal in 1 minute 49 seconds. Third was sixth favorite A Shin P C, a 1/2-length behind the runner-up.

Mainichi Hai at Hanshin
The 1,800-meter Mainichi Hai was won in great fashion by Namura Mars. The colt produced a sparkling run in the last 200 meters, getting up home in 1 minute 48 seconds. Second, a 1 1/4-length behind, was Hiraboku Royak with New Beginning another 1 1/4-length back third.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

2007 Satsuki Sho

Sunday, April 15 sees the Satsuki Sho(Japanese 2000 Guineas) at Nakayama Racecourse. A total of 21 colts have been nominated for the first leg of the Triple Crown Races for 3-year-old.

Top prospects for the 2007 Satsuki Sho
Admire Aura(by Agens Tachyon)
Asakura Kings(by White Muzzle)
Coconut Punch(by Manhattan Cafe)
Dream Journey(by Stay Gold)
Flying Apple(USA)(by Rahy)
Fusaichi Ho O(by Jungle Pocket)
Namura Mars(by Chief Bearhart)

Victory(by Brian’s Time)

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Daiwa Major wins Oka Sho

It was on her day that Daiwa Scarlet got going well in the last 200 meters in winning the 2007 race of the Oka Sho(Japanese 1000 Guineas) Sunday afternoon at Hanshin Racecourse.
Katsumi Ando rode the Oka Sho winner in two consecutive years,

Around 200 meters from home, third favorite Daiwa Scarlet pulled her way to the front with heavy favorite Vodka trailing just behind. Just like the Tulip Sho, the two were well clear of the rest, but this time the two finished in reverse order. To the finish line, Daiwa Scarlet got going the stronger. Vodka was never able to get into the shadow of her. A 1 1/2-length separated the two. Ando said, “I knew Vodka just behind us, but my horse strode well to the finish.”

Third, a 3 1/2-lengh behind, was Katamachi Botan with Robe Decollette(USA) fourth and Excuse fifth in the field of 18.
Second favorite Aston Machan still got into contention at around 200 meters out, but was fading out to finish a disappointing seventh.

Owned by K.Oshiro and trained by K.Matsuda, Daiwa Scarlet has now won three in 5 starts. The first prize 117+ million yen brought her career earnings to 172.7+ million yen. Shadai Farm in Chitose, Hokkaido is the breeder of the chestnut filly by Agnes Tachyon out of the Northern Taste mare Scarlet Bouquet. Daiwa Scarlet is a half sister to recent Dubai Duty Free third Daiwa Major(by Sunday Silence).

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Vodka favored for Oka Sho

After closing Saturday betting round, Vodka has been installed as the heavy favorite for the 2007 Oka Sho(Japanese 1000 Guineas) at odds of 1.5. Second favorite was Aston Machan at 5.3 followed by Daiwa Scarlet at 6.5 The rest of the field was 25.0 or higher.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Oka Sho draws

The 2007 Oka Sho(Japanese 1000 Guineas) has been drawn. 18 three-year-old fillies will go for the first filly classic at Hanshin on Sunday.

1/Shonan Talent/Y.Shibata
2/Apollo Tiara/M.Katsuura
3/Katamachi Botan/S.Fujita
5/Rain Dance/K.Take
6/Robe Decollete(USA)/Y.Fukunaga
8/Pink Cameo/M.Ebina
9/Amano Cherry Run/K.Ikezoe
10/Hagino Lucere/Y.Iwata
11/Nishino Charmy/Y.Fujioka
12/Kanoya Zakura/H.Uemura
13/Floral Curve/Y.Shibayama
15/Aston Machan/Y.Take
16/Very Very Nice/S.Akiyama
17/Emmy’s Smile/H.Uchida
18/Daiwa Scarlet/K.Ando

Distance: 1,600 meters
Weight: 55kgs
Post time: 3:40p.m.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Road to 2007 Oka Sho(Japanese 1000 Guineas)

February 17, Queen Cup at Tokyo
Excuse made a big appeal for the Oka Sho(Japanese 1000 Guineas) when she was victorious in the Daily Hai Queen Cup(jpn-g3) under Hiroshi Kitamura. In the 1,600-meter turf on grass, she beat favorite Katamachi Botan by a 1 1/2-length with Hello Speed another 3/4-length further away third in the field of sixteen 3-year-old fillies.

March 3, Tulip Sho at Hanshin
The showdown of two talented fillies, Vodka and Daiwa Scarlet, in the Tulip Sho(jpn-g3) resulted in line with expectations. Having drawn clearly from the rest, the two were headed for the finish line in the stretch. At the end, Vodka brought the opposition into submission by a powerful stride. A neck separated the two. Third, a 6-length behind, was Rain Dance in the field of 16.

March 10, Anemone Stakes at Nakayama
It is for the first time in 12 years that a NAR filly will contend the Oka Sho(Japanese 1000 Guineas) when Emmy’s Smile gained the Anemone Stakes victory. The filly won the 1,600 meters in 1 minute 35.80 seconds on the Nakayama main course.

March 11, Fillies' Revue at Hanshin
Aston Machan had no trouble landing the Fillies' Revue(jpn-g2). Half-way in the stretch, Yutaka Take took the heavy favorite to move into front, and just galloped to the finish line for the 1,400-meter race in 1 minute 21.80 seconds. It was a 2 1/2-length behind that Amano Cherry Run finished second with Hagino Lucere another 1 1/4-length further back third.

March 17, Flower Cup at Nakayama

Shonan Talent produced a splendid run at front end to win the Flower Cup(jpn-g3). Yoshitomi Shibata steered the winning filly to stop the clock in 1 minute 49.60 seconds for the 1,800-meter turf distance.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

2007 Oka Sho

The 67th running of the Oka Sho(Japanese 1000 Guineas) will run at Hanshin over 1,600 meters on Sunday, April 8. 31 three-year-old fillies have been nominated for the first filly classic.

Top prospects for Oka Sho:

Horse/career record/Pedigree
Aston Machan/6-4-2-0/Admire Cozzene – Rustling Copse(by Woodman)
Daiwa Scarlet/4-2-2-0/Agnes Tachyon – Scarlet Bouquet(by Northern Taste)
Emmy's Smile/7-3-2-2/Agnes Tachyon – Hemisphere(by White Muzzle)
Excuse/7-3-1-2/Boston Harbor – Christiecat(by Majestic Light)
Shonan Talent/6-3-2-0/Agnes Tachyon – Xianlang(by Great Commotion)
Vodka/5-4-1-0/Tanino Gimlet – Tanino Sister(by Rousillon)

Top ratings for Oka Sho nominees
Among the Oka Sho nominees, Vodka has been assigned at the top weight of 108 pounds, and Daiwa Scarlet followed at 107. Aston Machan was at 105 followed by Excuse 104 and Shonan Talent 102.
(source: JRA)

Brief history
The first run was in 1939 at Nakayama over 1,800 meters. Following the absences in 1945 and 1946 due to war, the race resumed in 1947, running over 1,600 meters at Kyoto for the first time. In the same year, the Oka Sho was first used as the race name. For the first time, Hanshin hosted the race in 1950. The Oka Sho, the first filly classic of the year, is equivalent to the English 1000 Guineas. Oka and Sho mean cherry blossom and prize in English respectively.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Admire Moon heads for Hong Kong

Admire Moon, who has recently won the Dubai Duty Free(G1) for Japan, will be heading for Hong Kong to race the Audemars Piguet Queen Elizabeth II Cup(G1) to be run April 29 at Sha Tin. If he runs there, it will be his second appearance on the Hong Kong course. Last December saw Admire Moon to finish a short-head second to Pride in the Cathay Pacific Hong Kong Cup(G1).

Meisho Samson takes Osaka

2006 Japanese Derby winner Meisho Samson got off to a good start for his 4-year-old campaign when he won the Sankei Okasa Hai by a half-length from Shadow Gate with Meisho Ote finishing another neck behind for third. Mamoru Ishibashi was the winning jockey to travel the 2,000 meters in 2 minutes 1.40 seconds on the Hanshin main turf course.

Making the final turn into the stretch, Meisho Samson was in the heel of Shadow Gate. The pair fought out to the finish in the stretch until Meisho Samson went up in the final strides. As the odds-on favorite, Meisho Samson paid 190 yen for win.

Meisho Samson, a son of Opera House and the Dancing Brave mare My Vivien, has now won 7 in 16 starts with more than 569 million yen in career earnings for owner Y.Matsumoto. Koki Hayashi in Urakawa, Hokkaido is the breeder of the bay colt. The Osaka Hai was Meisho Samson's first race under new trainer S.Takahashi.

Picaresque Coat gains first grade success

Picaresque Coat gained his first grade success as he triumphed the Lord Derby Challenge Trophy under the hand of Shinichiro Akiyama. He won the 1,600-meter turf race in 1 minute 33.10 seconds. Second, a 1 3/4-length behind the winner, was ninth favorite Koiuta with eleventh favorite Meiner Hearty another half-length away third.

Race favorite Dance in the More broke poorly and never got into contention, finishing seventh in the field of 15. Picaresque Coat returned 1,570 yen for win as seventh favorite.

Picaresque Coat, a 5-year-old son of Jade Robbery and the Kolymsky mare Fujino Taka Komachi, has raced in the name of Kaneko Makoto Holdings Co. The horse was sold for 36.5 million yen at the 2003 Hidaka Selection Sale.