Tokyo

Race 3 2000m Maiden

4 I Blanco – Has been threatening to break through and win a race or two for some time. This preparation he’s produced the two best runs of his career in my opinion, as he is one of the best last 600m section in both of those events coming from differing positions in the run. He is one who will appreciate the anticipated speed in the race, as you can sit just of them in the run and given clear air from the top of the long Tokyo straight he should be able to be in the finish somewhere, if he can reproduce his last two ratings.

8 Trois Charm – Has shown the needs to be on good going to perform at his best. The two failures in his career so far have been on supremely wet tracks and he just does not put in on whatsoever. Last start after an eight week let up he was a quite good through the line after sitting on speed over the 1800m here at Tokyo. He should roll across and lead from the gate and look to dictate the pace. If he can run a slowish early fraction he will be supremely hard to get past.

11 Shonan Harimau – Switched back to the turf going last start and was quite good off a sedate early split and ran home in the third fastest (33.8) last 600m of the race. From the gate Miura has to make a choice quickly if he rolls forward or drags him back to get in. As there looks to be a few horses who do want to roll forward in this event. Stays at the 2000m here which is of no concerns, given he eas strong to the line last start.

15 Hearts Symphony – Has a sticky gate to draw with here and it makes the map little bit confusing for her, given her last performance putting herself bang on speed and getting run down late. She will have to work a touch early to get across into a good spot and the 2000m start is a touch awkward at Tokyo. If she is able to overcome that without doing too much work, which I don’t think she will be able to do given the horses that look to go forward in this event. But if its sedate enough early she will be hard to catch.

Betting Strategy

LAY (WIN) – Hearts Symphony 2 units

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Race 8 1800m Turf

2 Kitai – is the likely later he’s given the step up in distance today with Take aboard. Has been running slowly over sprinting trips this season. But if you go back to last season she ran over 1800m at NAK and was just overhauled late. If Take gets his own way in front she is going to be super hard to run down as she takes her time to build up. But once she does she keeps that grinding pace going.

3 Donna Attraente – Resumed from a four month break with a very strong win over the course and distance. She was put bang on speed that day, would be very comfortable with in herself and afford on for a very strong win. What I did like to see was that prep to prep she has been putting on weight, which shows that she is finally furnishing as a horse. In the small field here she should just be able to sit off the leaders and pick them off whenever she likes in the straight.

4 Jo Book Kommen – Has been in solid enough form as of late. Even though she hasn’t one for just on 12 months. She has been racing in better grade than this, the drop back should suit her and give her a chance to break back into the winners circle. I like that she’s very tractable and able to be put into any racing pattern that Tosaki wants. Given there looks to be no speed, she should track the fav every step of the way and she has a solid turn of foot.

5 Queens Sun – Looks to be a touch of unders for mine, given Damien Lane takes the ride here. He hasn’t one for near on two years. But has been in a solid enough form this preparation, last night running home in a very slick 33.3 seconds for his last 600 m. His sectionals are consistently very quick, but he usually leaves himself with too much work to do. Which is why the step up to the 1800 m does look to be suitable given he has been running out of time over 1600 m which amazingly he has run on In all 36 starts.

Betting Strategy

BACK (WIN) – Donna Attraente 3 units

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Race 9 Tanzawa Stakes 2100m Dirt

1 Satono Deed – Shocked the market a touch with first up over the course and distance. That would come off of three horrible defeats last season. Where he was never cited at all. I’m going to trust that he’s over all the issues that he clearly had, Given his form prior to last season was quite strong. He should be further improved from the first up run and I expect a similar effort here.

4 Baskerville – Bolted in last start in a similar great race to this. Steps up to the distance for the first time on the dirt but had been seen over staying trips on the turf the past.

All three wins have come on the dirt surface, he is a very tactable Godolphin colt you should put himself being on speed here from the good gate. Lemaire just has to have him in clear going from the top of the straight.

6 Lift To Heaven – Got way too far back first up over the course and distance and closed off with a really brilliant sectional (36.1 L600) given the distance that the race was run over and the added component of being first up. That came off a three month break, you should be much better for that effort and given the better gate that he is drawn here today he should be able to settle a bit closer in the run. Do you little deeper into his formants very solid as he really went through his grades towards the end of last season. The break looks to have done him some good and he should be further improved into this with added race fitness.

8 Vision Of Love – Comes out of the same race as Lift To Heaven and couldn’t match the finishing effort that day. He was also first up from a break as well. The closing effort was somewhat similar, but he hit the one well enough to show that he had come back well and is in for a good preparation here. It’s best if it’s not his group have been over this day distances. It wouldn’t surprise me to see him get over further later in the preparation. He doesn’t seem to run at his best Tokyo which is a touch of a concern, as his best performances have come at Nakayama. But he did win over the mile here in 2018.

Betting Strategy

BACK (WIN) – Baskerville 2 units

BACK (WIN) – Satono Deed 1 units

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Race 11 – G1 Japanese Oaks 2400m

1 Des Ailes – has been faultless in her two starts coming into this race and beings the DF of not having run in the 1000 Guineas. On debut she did what was needed to do, to get the job done and then last start when Lane jumped aboard he settled her back, arguably with this in mind and he rounded them up with a scintillating 32.5 last 600m sectional, but that is deadest supersonic time and she ran ~8 lengths quicker then her debut. Everything about her has screamed Oaks filly and she comes into this with a great gate and run on the map. I was in her corner after she won last start and I see no reason to jump off.

4 Daring Tact – Is unbeaten in all three starts to date. And was fantastic ploughing through the wet going to win the thousand guineas in the lead up to this race back in April.

The way she ran through the line was fantastic, it was from a near unwinnable position. She the best last 600 of the race by about three lengths.

She steps beyond 1600 m for the first time which is a touch of a concern, but her breeding suggest that she should get the trip. I think she is a very good horse, but on Saturday market forecast, she is odds-on. And I think that is way too short in such a deep race and I have to take her on at that price.

6 Ria Amelia – Looks to have been completely forgiven by the market here, she looked to use the thousand guineas as a lead up run in essence. I don’t think she handled the going all too well either and this step up in trip shouldn’t be a worry for her. We need to remember that she started odds on in the Juvenile fillies in December and comes back to the scene of her best run to date when she won a G3 last prep. I’m giving her one last chance here given she’s such big odds.

18 Sanctuarie – Was deep in the market in the thousand guineas and I need to respect the SP. She may have not handled the extremely wet going that day. She steps to the 2400 m for the first time, but as her breeding suggest in the way she has run her race is it should be no issue at all. Lemaire sticks aboard too which only enhances her chances in the oaks given he has won 2 of the last 3. There was a lot of buzz about her and her ratings coming into the last start and we would be foolish to knock her off a wet track run.

Betting Strategy

BACK (WIN) – Des Ailes 2.5 units

LAY (WIN) – Daring Tact 1 units

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Tokyo Race 5 3yo 1 Win Class 2000m

1- Laurelist didn’t run out the 2400m fresh and could have been underdone the way he finished off. The first two runs in prep number 1 were very good over the 1800m and 2000. Back to the 2000m second up with the added fitness he will be thereabouts.

3 – Great Author charged right over the top of them late to win right on the line on debut here at Tokyo on Anzac Day. I don’t know what he beat, but he did it in good style and ran ~3 lengths quicker over the last 600m than any other horse in the race. Natural improvement and up in distance here, I expect him to be super competitive.

4 – Vorspiel was a very good winner on debut at Nakayama back in December. Fresh he looked to be a touch disappointing. But he did run the best last 6/4/200m of the race so he couldn’t have done much more from the position he was in. He gets to the bogger Tokyo track and should be much, much fitter for this event and Lemaire sticks solid.

6 – Colombe d’Or has been improving with each and every start and broke through for a good win on the wet going last start. That was back in September and he has had a good break since and if there is to be a winner outside the top two, this colt could be it.

Betting Strategy

BACK (WIN) – Great Author 2 units

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Tokyo Race 8 4yo and Up 2 Win Class 1600m

1 – Satono Force has found wet going in both runs back this time in and has not at all appreciated the going for mine. He had never encountered it before this prep, so we can safely say he doesn’t handle it. Back on the good going and the Tokyo mile where he is a winner in the past. This will be a solid form race to follow for mine and I am a fan of this horse.

7 – Messina resumed with a solid run over the 1800m at Hanshin, which isn’t a tough test given it’s a chute run to the home turn and he finished off well with some solid sections late. Two runs at the Tokyo mile for two placings and when you go in depth to his form. His best runs are when he sits just worse than midfield, is able to relax and finish over the top with clear air. He will be much fitter for the run and in the finish somewhere.

8 – Guevara started 1.4 last start and did a mountain of work in the run to just miss despite running the best L600m of the race. That run was second up after a year off after a good win fresh in a pretty weak event where again he did a lot of work in the run. Is there a chance that he could be a touch flat off those two runs? Or is he bombproof and the small field stops him from doing all of that work yet again.

9 – Lord Premium hasn’t won since 2017 which is not at all ideal. But he is the type of horse who could bob up in this type of race as I think he had been quite good this preparation. Over the Tokyo mile he has never been further back than 3 lengths from the winner and given the way he reacted last start to leading, they may do so again in the small field.

Betting Strategy

LAY (WIN) – Guevara 2 units

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Tokyo Race 11 G1 Victoria Mile 1600m

1 Loves Only You was the winner of the oaks last year and only had one run in the autumn, where she was third to Lucky Lilac who has since won another G1. Great form. She has had one start at the mile for the one win at Kyoto and I love that she comes into this fresh (even though she was in Dubai before it was called off), as she has a wicked turn of foot, as she has run best last 600m sections in 4 of the 5 runs. Gets a soft run from the inside gate and looks a great chance.

5 Primo Scene is a very handy mare and looks to add immense value to her broodmare stance with a win / placing in this event. In this race last year she was beaten on the line. She has only finished out of the top 3 once in all of her attempts at the Tokyo mile. She gets D Lane which only enhances her chances and everything she has done this prep has been aimed at this event.

12 Almond Eye is arguably Japan’s best horse, you just need to look at her record to see that. 3yo Triple Crown winner, Dubai Duty Free, Tenno Sho and Japan Cup winner. The only blimp on her record was last start in the Arima Kinen (2500m) where she endured a tough run and pulled up with a throat issue. Prior to that she belted them in record time in the Tenno Sho. She was meant to run fresh in Dubai, but Covid19 put a stop to that. Her work in the lead up to this has been impressive and she looks set to go. Last start at the Tokyo Mile, she was a tragedy beaten in the Yasuda Kinen and she now drops back to female grade for the first time in nearly 2 years. If she is right, she wins.

18 Sound Chiara has been up since December and has been working her way well through the grades for a crack at a G1 event, but has been dealt a harsh blow in the barrier draw. Her race style means she will roll across here and may have to do more work than usual to find that spot. She is a horse who can sprint off a good speed, but she may well be left a sitting shot late for the “big guns”

Betting Strategy

BACK (WIN) – Almond Eye 5 units

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Tokyo Race 12 BS ELEVEN SHO 1400m

3 – San Jose Tesoro in his last 5 runs has either won or being within a length of the winner and comes across to the dirt for the first time in an interesting move. But looks to have the breeding credentials to handle it. His form is quite strong on the turf, but as I said dirt for the first time is a concern. But the master, Yutaka Take sticks after the last two runs. Off his run style he should put himself on pace. But dirt for the first time could throw that out the window. The answer is a pineapple.

7 – Grand Sauveur looked to be a touch underdone for mine after being second up and 6 weeks between runs after a fantastic fresh run, which saw him start favourite there. Take note that Lane jumps off here too, to stick with Little Monster. Prior to that, his form was quite good and he ran and won over the 1400m on this day last year in what was a good race. He should be much fitter into this and will be hard in the market.

9 – Little Monster was a brilliant winner on speed last start when racing away from them in solid time. That came from a 6 week let up and the dirt is really tough on horses as it gets you race fit really quick and if you aren’t fit enough, you’ll be found wanting late. 11 runs at Tokyo have yielded 3 wins and 5 placings. With a great record at the 1400m. Lane sticks aboard here and she looks really hard to beat here.

14 – Southern Vigorous looks to put himself bang on speed here from the gate and his last few runs here and does look to get run of the race stuff. The issue for mine is that he hasn’t won since he came across to the JRA circuit despite running many a good race in his time here from the NAR level. The 1400 from his career looks to be just perfect for mine and if they can go just that touch slower on speed he could kick away and be too strong late.

Betting Strategy

BACK (WIN) – Little Monster 3 units

BACK (WIN) – San Jose Tesoro 1.5 units

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Tokyo Race 5 – 1400m

4 – Frangivento is 1/1 over the T&D and I loved the resuming effort when making a long wide run at Nakayama and running some very solid sectionals late, despite being up 18kg on previous race weight.

Strong SP profile having only being 4.8 at the longest in 5 starts so far. Much fitter second-up off the break and a good draw for Demuro, where she can sit just behind the leaders here and be hard to beat.

7 – Mauvette is a brilliantly bred filly who brings the strongest SP profile into this race and was very good when first-up from about 4 months off, where she ran the third quickest L600 of the race and looked to blow out late.

She gets Lemaire again, who hasn’t been aboard since the debut and we have seen that she can rip a late sectional. If you dig into her form, you find that it stacks up with horses in the NHK Mile cup later today.

9 – Red Raiden hit the line quite well in a much better race than this last start. He has been running on a lot of wet ground which is somewhat rare in Japan, but looks to find good going here and has a win and a third from the two runs. Lane gets aboard here and will probably need to get on his bike here, given 1400 looks as short as he wants it.

10 – Gulab changed from dirt to the turf last start and was a very good winner there in maiden grade. I have to look past the four dirt runs and only look to the 1/1 effort on the turf, where her L6/4/200 was the best of the race. On an upward spiral, she finds a good race with Take aboard.

Betting Strategy

BACK (WIN) – Mauvette for 2 units

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Tokyo Race 11 – G1 NHK Mile Cup

Great race for the 3yos here and the boys clash against the girls in the only age-restricted G1 mile for the 3yos all year. Winners of this race include King Kamehameha, Mikki Isle and Admire Mars to name a few. So it takes a good horse to win this.

2 – Taisei Vision has won the 3 from 5 runs with runner up positions in the other two, one of them in the Futurity Stakes behind Salios and we all know how that form has stacked up since with his run in the 2000 Guineas.

Fresh he was a brilliant winner in the Arlington which is one of the main leadups for this. The one run at Tokyo before he was a brilliant winner over the 1400 at start 3. Ripping home in 33.5. from gate 2 on the map he can settle that touch closer, as he has gotten back worse than midfield due to bad gates and he should be able to storm over the top of them.

3 – Resistencia looked all over a winner in the Oka Sho last start (which rated really well year on year according to the handicappers), despite not handling the ground as well as the winner did and left a sitting shot after doing all the work in the lead.

Yet again she finds herself bang on speed and gets Lemaire on board. I can’t help but love her, as she does it at both ends of her races and runs her opponents into the ground. It is a tough mile at Tokyo, so she will be on fumes late. She does go anti-clockwise for the first time too. But does look utterly bombproof.

6 – Gilded Mirror has form around both Taisei Vision and Satono Impresa and is worthy of a mention given her performances against both horses. She has been beaten by both horses on wet ground and meets them on clean going for the first time.

When she has been on the good going she has been brilliant in both efforts and has run time. She is going to be massive odds (~25/1) compared to the rest and is worthy of something small on her here.

14 – Luftstrom is the unbeaten colt taking everyone’s attention coming into this given he is trained by Hori and D Lane takes the ride. He has only been on the scene since mid-January but keeps on improving with every start and deals with whatever Hori has thrown at him.

All three wins have been at the quirky Nakayama track where he has been able to balance up and let rip with barnstorming finishes (best L600 in all three runs) he now finds the open expanses of Tokyo plus D Lane, who probably tries to slot in worse than midfield and allow him to wind up and try to get over the top of them. In time he will be a lovely 10f horse.

17 – Satono Impresa was done no favours with the barrier draw here and it’s up to Take to wind back the clock and show us he is still the man over there in Japan. The horse has been nothing short of fantastic in all three runs, winning them all and on wet tracks too.

He finds clean ground for the first time and could well be anything. I loved the acceleration late last start over the 1800m and drops back to the mile here where he is already 2/2. As I said, the gate is the biggest knock. But given now he gets onto firm going, he could well explode. Or prove to be a brilliant wet tracker. That’s the gamble.

Betting Strategy

BACK (WIN) – Taisei Vision for 3 units

BACK (WIN) – Luftstom for 2 units

BACK (WIN) – Gilded Mirror for 0.75 units

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Tokyo Race 12 – TACHIKAWA TOKUBETSU (Dirt Track)

1 – Endo Tsuda was pulled up out of the race last start, so we have to just put a big red pen through it and hope it was a one-off aberration. The run prior to that at this track was brilliant. She got way out of her ground before charging through the line late in what did look the run of a coming winner off a visual and a data side of things. From gate 1 she will be able to hold a closer position in the run here and just needs to get off the fence at some stage to be there with them.

6 – Sei Valiant gets too far out of his ground and that has stopped him from winning more races. It is the old adage of no speed, no talent. I would love to see Yokoyama give him a dig in the ribs early on and take up a spot. Given the sectionals he has been able to rattle off as of late in this level of race, it could be race over for him after 100m or so. He has never finished worse than fourth in 6 attempts at the track and distance.

7 – Shadow Session didn’t appreciate the wet going last start for mine and was coming into that off an eight-week break, he has never been beaten this far in his life so we can forgive him. But he is up in grade off that effort, given he should be a touch fitter. 4 starts on dirt for a win and a placing in lower grades, he put himself bang on speed there, but has gotten back as he has stepped up in grade and that gives us a chance here. Early markets on Saturday night have him as favourite and I can’t come into him at that price. Lemaire probably adds to his chances of being overbet locally too.

13 – Shinko Machan looks the likely leader here and will have to do a touch of work early to get across, but should get a sedate middle sectional from there on. He should be much fitter being second-up off a long break and I love horses who push forward fresh and puncture late as they will be so much fitter second-up and could well sneak under the radar of the market. As punters love falling into the flashing light run. If he gets it easy enough, he will be hard to run down.

Betting Strategy

LAY (WIN) – Shadow Session for 2 Units

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Niigata Race 11 – G3 2000m THE NIIGATA DAISHOTEN

Last year won by Caulfield Cup winner, Mer De Glace.

2 – Air Windsor has started odds on a remarkable 9 times in his 17 run career and let’s be honest. He has let punters down winning at only three of those efforts. Yet to start longer than 9.3 he is a horse that the market always hones in on and they have found him early on again.

He consistently runs really good races and just finds one better, they ran him over the 2400 last start and he didn’t run it out. So back to 2000m looks much more suitable as he is yet to miss a placing over the distance. The long straight of Niigata where they can fly gives him his chance to win.

3 – Gibeon has been sparingly raced in the last 2 seasons due to a variety of reasons, but if we go back two years ago to the day he was a runner up in the NHK Mile cup getting beaten on the line. His last 4 runs have all be in a strong and has form around Saturnalia, Danon Kingley and Mer Der Glace to name a few. This looks to have been the target run for the prep and if he wins this we may see him in the Takarazuka Kinen come June.

7 – Bravas makes the jump up into Group racing for the first time here and does bring some immense upside to the table. 4 wins from the 9 starts and has been in the quickest L600 / 400 / 200 in 8 of the 9 appearances. Showing that he is able to do it at both ends. From the gate, I’m expecting him to follow DG across and sit on his hammer all the way.

If he gets the proper drag into the race, he will be hard to hold out. I think this is the perfect race for him. Could we see him in Melbourne come spring given the ownership group has already won a Caulfield Cup!

8 – Daiwa Cagney is a perfect G3 horse in Japan for mine, just not up to the level of the big boys when it comes to the G1 & G2, but can very easily get away with a race like this one his day. He is the leader in this race and go back three starts where he was beaten 3 lengths in a Japan Cup!

One run at this track in the past for a massive flop, but we can forgive as it was a clear career worst. It took Saturnalia to run him down last start and Gibeon was right there with him. If left alone in front, good luck catching him.

Betting Strategy

BACK (WIN) – Bravas for 3 Units

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Kyoto R4 – Maiden 2000m

3 – Why Why See is a horse with limited ability, but this isn’t the strongest of maidens. He improved run to run last start. This race does drop away quickly and if he keeps that upward spiral, despite not smashing the clock in either run. He can fill a hole for place punters.

4 – Ikat is a beautifully bred Deep Impact filly and I loved what she did on debut running through the line well in a “new horse” and does look to be well placed in a maiden. But the winner from that race has been awful in two runs since which does concern me a touch. But it was wet going so we can have another look at her here.

8 – Win Sunflower finds Lemaire here and he has the uncanny knack of being able to lift these horses to new heights. The best of runs was two starts back when he was able to lead and was rundown late. From the wider gate, I expect Lemaire to take up that leading role again and look to kick off the turn. She can sustain a long run, so outstaying them is her best hope.

10 – Strict Code pulled up with an issue last start, so lets forgive that and go a little bit deeper. All of her runs have been at this track, so she knows her way around Kyoto by now. For me, her two best runs have been when they have gone quite slow and she can sprint late. So, a staying test will not help her. They need to ride her dead cold and charge over them with a short sharp dash.

Betting Strategy

BACK (WIN) – IKAT for 1 Unit

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Kyoto R11 – G1 Tenno Sho 3200

For the last, what decade or so? The winner usually gets thrown into Melbourne Cup favouritism. But it’s the ones that finish close without winning that we look out for as a Victorian Spring is concerned as the winner will usually be weighted out of the Cup and focus on the Japan Cup instead. 14 will greet the starting gates here over the 3200m at Kyoto.

5 – Mikki Swallow steps up to the 3200m for the first time in his career in a move which is suitable at this stage. Loved the way he sat off them at Nak and rushed through the line from well back for a big win over the 2500 beating horses like Etario and Mozu Bello. The small knock for mine is yet to be placed at G1 level, but he has run into Almond Eye and Suave Richard in a few of those. At his one run past 2500, he was enormous in the St Ledger behind Kiseki making a long wide run and only getting beaten 3 or so lengths. Don’t discount him.

7 – You Can Smile absolutely loves getting out beyond the 3000m in five of those runs, he has run the fastest 600m sectional on four occasions. He was below his best in this race last year, but had flogged them in the 3400m Diamond and belted them last start in the 3000m Grand Prize, sitting off them and running the fastest L600 as mentioned. Third in a St Ledger (Running 33.9 L600 over 3000m!), Fourth to Almond Eye in a Tenno Sho (Autumn) and a credible fifth on wet going in a Japan Cup when starting second fav. No shock to see him fight it out.

8 – Kiseki was well beaten by You Can Smile in the Grand Prize when starting 1.6. He hasn’t won for near on three years and its starting to become an issue given his SP profile, punters and myself are getting quite sick of him. But at his only other run past 3000m he was a winner of a St Ledger. Did he use the fresh run as a lead up for this, given it was a G2? Risky as he may well have forgotten to win. But he is a very good stayer and I would kick myself if I never mentioned him and he won this.

14 – Fierement is your logical favourite here given he was the winner of this race last year and was a credible fourth in the Arc last season. He has had two runs past 3000m for a win in the St Ledger and the Tenno Sho (Spring) last year. He is first up into this, but last year was off a 3 month lead in and he beat Glory Vase who won the HK Vase later in the season. Plus given the way the Japanese train their horses and we have seen them win Caulfield Cups and such fresh over the last few years, I see no reason not to trust him and have him on top.

Betting Strategy

BACK (WIN) – Fierement for 4 Units

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Tokyo R10 Banshun Stakes 1400m

5 – Regina d’Oro comes back to 1400 for the first time in over 18 months in a move which should suit for mine, I don’t believe that she runs out a strong mile as she has been getting quite close and just not seeing it out (I blame my money personally). She can rattle off a sectional also and the last time she ran over 1400m here, she hit the line in 32.4. No one in this race can run that sort of time.

7 – Sweep Celeritas has a very good record and could force herself into a race like the Victoria Mile with a victory here. Her two runs back this time in look to have been building to this, as she has been steadily dropping body weight alluding to added fitness as well as running faster times. Two starts over the Tokyo 1400m for a win and a third, which for mine was arguably a better performance given she got a mile back and rattled home in 33.1 to just miss. That’s my only concern, if she gets too far back in the small field. But it is impossible not to like her.

10 – Believer gets back to 1400 after two years of 1200m events and it is the right time to step up to the 1400m. she has been really running through the line well, just getting too far back for mine. With the jump to the 1400m and the gate, she can roll across and sit just on midfield for mine and look to be much closer when they are turning for home. Two runs at the T&D have been for third place efforts.

11 – Museum Hill was fantastic flashing through the line at big odds last start at Chukyo and that form should hold up in a similar event here. She hasn’t won for just on two years, but if you go deep into her form, she has run in some deep races and has never been beaten further than 4 lengths. She gets to a winnable race here, from 11 and given the last start tactics, which worked brilliantly she probably drops out the back and has last shot.

Betting Strategy

BACK (WIN) – Regina D’Oro for 1 Units

BACK (WIN) – Museum Hill for 1 Units

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R11 Sweetpea Stakes (Listed) 1800m

An oaks lead up for the fillies here and the exciting Des Ailes resumes here, D Lane aboard in what looks to be a good solid lead up for the oaks if we are looking foe some “DF” outside of the 1600m race a few weeks ago. Note, Lane here rather than Kyoto for the G1!

4 – Christie was strong on pace last start at Nakayama in a better race than this and was only run down late. While I don’t think she is as talented as the fav. She is bombproof and will put herself bang on speed from gate 4. She has a strong SP profile and by now a jockey like Fukanaga would be looking elsewhere if she was no good. If the fav is beatable she could be it.

7 – Des Allies made a complete mess of the start on debut and gave her backers a touch of a fright, before showing immense class to win untouched in essence. That was 6 weeks ago and she stays at the 1800m here. She is bred to be a star with her mother a French Oaks winner in 2014 and you couldn’t help but love what she did when Take asked her to move through the gears. Lane takes the steer here. Natural improvement is all that we need here and provided she doesn’t bungle the start again, she will be hard to beat on the open expanses of Tokyo.

8 – Oh My Darling looked to have a hit out in preparation for later races when she resumed on 28/3. Got a minute back and really ran through the line well. That came after a foruth in a solid G3 event in January and she does look to be Oaks bound. Her mother was a group winner in France as a 3yo also.

15 – Akano Nijuichi ran brilliant time when winning on debut, finishing off with a 32.9 last 600m sectional on debut. It as some run. Given that they had to throw her in the deep end at start two in a group race and she just got way out of her ground over the mile, where she was beaten two lengths. But ran home in 33.6. She couldn’t win mathematically that day. 1800m suits, but she may have to get back again from the gate. I love how between runs she had put on 10kg of bodyweight, she is seemingly furnishing into a strong filly.

Betting Strategy

BACK (WIN) – Des Allies for 4 Units

Link to market

Kyoto R1 – 1200m Maiden

1 – Hiro Shige Pepper has been in the past two, running the best last 600m sectional in both races. Take had the steer for the first time last start and came from horrid position to get close to the winner. I think from the inside gate, Take can have him just a touch closer in the run and with luck around the turn he can be in the finish.

3 – Kongo Reiwa gets no weight in this race after the claim and looks the likely leader given her pattern as of late, she just has the habit of going a little too hard early in her races and that takes away from her finish. If she can conserve more energy in the run, she can kick off the turn and hold them off.

5 – Performante was superb on debut flashing right through the line with a  run that said back me next start. But next start he stepped to 1400m and pulled up with an issue. If we can forgive that and go off the debut run, he looks the one to beat here. In early betting the market is giving him no respect and I want him on my side.

6 – Marble Lady does bring what looks to be an unattractive form guide to this race, but is a trust worthy horse who will put itself in the race just behind the speed and give her all. Both runs over the 1200m this time in have been quite good and she has run in some solid maidens.

Betting Strategy

BACK (WIN) – Performante for 1 Unit

Link to market


Kyoto R4 – 1200m Maiden

1 – Zetsuei a well bred Australian colt has been quite good in both starts on wet going, despite not looking to handle it he ran the best last 600m sectionals in each race. He has had 8 weeks since that last run and looks to be well placed here, on what isn’t the biggest weekend in Japan, so they are able to get away with a win before taking on some bigger races.

5 – Elevato definitely isn’t bred to be a sprinter being by Kizuna, but after an awful run on debut they dropped him back in trip to the sprinting caper and it worked. With two very solid runs, coming from behind the speed. Loved the acceleration first up through the line. You also might want to forgive his debut run as it was behind G1 winner Resistencia.

14 – Curtain Call started fav on debut and was just beaten, before a weird change to the dirt where she was just plain awful in both runs on that surface. Technically she is third up here, so she should be fully fit. But I am forgetting the dirt runs completely and going off that dirt run. If she can find that form again, she is in this race. As it drops away quickly here.

Betting Strategy

BACK (WIN) – Zetsuei for 2 Units

Link to market


Kyoto R9 – 2200m Hirasan Tokubetsu

1 – Weiser has been looking for the step up in distance and steps up beyond the 2000m for the first time here to the 2200m. Being by Novellist the step up in trip here isn’t a concern, he gets a great run on the map just in behind the speed here. Take tends to own these races from low draws too.

7 – Chopin was strong through the line last start in a very similar sort of race. The way the race was run, he was never going to win. So to get as close as he did was quite commendable. His last win was a long time ago but did come over 12f at this track. So we know that the 2200m here at Kyoto isn’t an issue at all. He has had 18 runs over 2000m and only missed the top four twice!

12 – Danon Valiant ran out of ground first up after a 4 month break, despite running the best last 600m of the race, on rain affected going. The step to 2200m and the wide open spaces of Kyoto are to his advantage here. In all runs, he has run the top two fastest last 600m sectionals of his race. So he can reel off a sectional and make a long run. From 12, he will let the race unfold in front of him, before improving into the race from the 1000 and he should be the strongest late.

13- Divine Force was beaten less than two lengths in a St Ledger last season and that form usually holds up in these lower class races. Last start he made a long run from a fairway out and was just beaten late. He looks to be the strongest stayer in his races and can reel off good sectionals on top of a good pace. For mine this looks a two horse race and a great betting opportunity.

Betting Strategy

BACK (WIN) – Danon Valiant for 2 Units

BACK (WIN) – Divine Force for 2 Units

Link to market


Kyoto R11 – 1600m G2

1 – Indy Champ is Japan’s champion miler and comes into this race second up from a spell with an eye to the Yasuda Kinen in 5 weeks time. He was beaten in this race last year by Danon Premium before wining the Yasuda Kinen (beating Almond Eye) and the last time at the course and distance he won the Mile Championship beating Danon Premium. Fresh up he needed the run, being up 16kg bodyweight on his last start and he hit the line well to just miss. He has a good second up record and provided they are here to win before the Yasuda Kinen, he should prove hard to beat.

7 – Vin De Garde has put together a pretty decent record before stepping up to open age Group racing last start, where he came from a near impossible position to be just a length away from the winner. If you go through his form, it is quite strong and has Group 1 winners through it. This is the type of race he can get away with and he is a winner at the T&D.

10 – Val d’Isere won his first two, before getting thrown in the deep end at start three and four, where he was more than respectable in an NHK Mile cup which was won by Admire Mars (3 x G1 winner and HK Mile Winner) resuming  in a much weaker race than this he charged over the top of them here at Kyoto where he was up 16kg in body weight too. With natural improvement and race fitness, he can be super competitive.

11 – Red Veyron was a little disappointing for mine behind Primo Scene last start. But in fairness he got back to a position he usually isn’t in and ran home in third race fastest 33.5 to get as close as he did in a race I thought he could have easily won. In all 13 starts he has run the top 3 last 600m sectionals. Second up in the past he has bolted in, from the gate he can roll across and sit on the speed in a race which looks devoid of it.

Betting Strategy

BACK (WIN) – Indy Champ for 3 Units

BACK (WIN) – Val d’Isere for 1 Units

Link to market

Nakayama R1 – Maiden 1200m (Dirt) 3yo Fillies

1 – Schone Melodie was solid enough in her first attempt on the dirt after a two solid enough runs on the turf. The change came after a spell, so I would take it that she has been going well enough in trackwork and Take sticks aboard after the fresh run. From gate 1, he should have her just in behind the speed here, enough dirt form through the family lines to suggest he can run well again here.

5 – Narak has been much improved this preparation after some average runs In her first prep. She has put herself bang on speed in recent runs, and that looks to be the way forward for her here. She can run a good last 600 and that puts her into the race here.

7 – Coral Tiara is overdue to breakthrough and just missed at Hanshin last start after not having the most luck in transit. In all 5 of his runs, she has run in the top 3 last 600m of the race and brings a strong SP profile. From gate 7, she maps to tuck in behind the speed and if the toppie gets stuck in on the fence she could be off and gone.

11- Yasaka Puffy has been good in two of three starts this preparation and didn’t have any luck in the other. Fresh when a big price off, of two uninspiring dirt runs she hit the line well with a 2nd best last 600m of the race in 38.2 and last start hit the line in 37.9 to just miss, in a very even race she is another chance here but needs luck from the gate.

Betting Strategy

BACK (WIN) – Coral Tiara for 1 Unit


Nakayama R10 1200m Listed Race (Dirt)

3 – T O Genius should appreciate the expected wet dirt track that he finds here. Last time on rain-affected going, he ran a race-best 34.5 L600 which is low flying on the dirt, albeit in a losing effort, about 2 lengths quicker than the next best horse. From gate 3, he should settle up that touch closer in the run which has been the issue in the last few starts. A good record on the Nakayama dirt is the cheery on top.

9 – Mikki Wild gets D Lane and being by Lord Kanaloa always intrigues given what a gun stallion he is. Last start was seen in the G1 February stakes, where it was an aberration. Complete and utter forgive job. Prior to that he had struck some good form which had warranted the throw at the stumps. Fresh is seemingly best for this horse as he does sprint well, yet this is his first go over the 1200m on dirt.

14 – Shuji is in his right grade here, he is just below those top dirt horses that we see in Japan. He also loves the Nakayama racecourse, in 9 runs at the course, he has only finished worse than 4th just the one time. The one concern for mine is the gate, as he will have to drag back, unless they attempt to lead, and last time they did that he finished a minute back. So for mine he goes back, and could be in an unwinnable position.

16 – Vanilla Ice put herself bang on speed upon resumption and should take a lot of benefit from that run, as it was over 1400m on heavy going and looks to be well set up for this event here. Given she does love to roll forward and I think 1200m suits her much better than the 1400 as she is usually left wanting in the last 100 or so. The gate can be offset quite quickly with Mirco aboard, who does ride the dirt front runners well. Her last win, was this time last year in a similar event if you’re looking for a knock.

Betting Strategy

BACK (WIN) – T O Genius for 2.5 Units

BACK (WIN) – Vanilla Ice for 0.5 Units


Nakayama R11 – G1 Satsuki Sho 2000m 3YOs

1 – Contrail, I’ll start by saying this. I think this colt is Japan’s next big thing and it won’t shock me at all to see him sweep the Triple Crown this calendar year, that’s how good I think he can be. But Salios who is also in this looks to be a star in the making, what a race!

But, this Deep Impact colt was a last start G1 winner in the Hopeful, back on December it was as arrogant a win as you will see. The win prior broke a race record at Tokyo that had plenty of tongues wagging, he reeled off a 33.1 L600 at start 2 over 1800m as a 2yo!!! His trackwork in the lead into this, from what I’ve seen online, has been fantastic, he looks to have furnished and put on some weight since last season. The prospect of a wet and choppy track, is my only slight concern (reflected in betting suggestion), I cannot wait to see him.

5 – Satono Flag won’t be worried if the rain stays around given his last start win on a heavy track over the T&D, running 2:02.1 for the tough uphill 2000m at Nak, which is something to pay attention too. He is the one that has race fitness on his side, and if it does indeed turn into a slog, being a last start G2 winner and having the experience at Nakayama which is a quirky track. I cannot discount him with Lemaire jumping on.

7 – Salios is the other G1 winner from the 2yo season coming into this race, have won the Futurity over 1600m in December with Ryan Moore aboard, who that day as quoted as saying, he is a lovely colt and once he has furnished, he will make an exceptional racehorse. His mum was a German Oaks winner, so 2000m and the Derby next start won’t be an issue. D Lane gets aboad here and did ride him on debut, so he has had a feel for the horse in the past.

This is another great colt, who could be anything and has been moving quite well in his work leading in, he weighed 548kg mid-week!. Think back to Pierro / Dundeel / All Too Hard, that’s the type of colts I think we are seeing here. He will be behind Contrail in the run, he just needs to find clear air to give himself every chance of running him down, being by Hearts Cry the wet and choppy track shouldn’t be too much of an issue.

11 – Crystal Black, by the son of a derby winner Kizuna (Deep Impact) burst onto the scene in January winning a G3 on rain affected going here at Nakayama, after a strong debut win in December, rain affected going shouldn’t be too much of an issue given Kizuna won on a heavy track in France before running 4th in an Arc. From the gate though, he may find it a touch tricky as he will have to get back and give the two gun colts a start, but he is a player.

13 – Darlington Hall is one who wants it to get much wetter being by New Approach out of a Pivotal mare, was quite strong in winning his leadup at Tokyo in February. Now I don’t think he is as good as the others I have mentioned. But he is from the Godolphin yard, and looks to be the mudlark of the field in case the rain does indeed set in.

Small mention to #2 L’Excellence, who is inbeaten and was a wet track winner on debut. His half brother runs in the last who is 3/5 and hated the wet going in October, so it could be a case of he was better then them on the day, given his class, but didn’t handle it

Given the wet going, we need to spread the money around and hope for a result here, on dry going I would be backing up the truck on Contrail here, but it is an unknown for him and Salios, but breeding suggests they should be ok, and this is what I love about Japan, they cannot scratch because of wet going, hello to Team Hawkes.

Betting Strategy

BACK (WIN) – Contrail for 2 Units

BACK (WIN) – Satono Flag for 1 Unit

BACK (WIN) – Salios for 1 Unit


Nakayama R12 – Shunkyo Stakes 1600m

3 – Vollkommen charged through the wet going over the course and distance last start for a dominant win. He logically does put himself on top here, despite the step up in grade it was a win full of merit. From gate 3, Lemaire just slots him in behind the speed and will look to do exactly what he did, strong turn of foot in wet going to put them away.

4 – Red Scion drops back from the 2000m to the mile for the first time since his debut run, in a move that I think could well pay off here. He brings a strong profile having missed a place only once in the 8 starts, and each time he is asked to step up, he seemingly does I am loath to be against him in any capacity, given he has shown to handle wet going before.

6 – Excellent Fille brings a great record into this and is one of the best bred horses going around today, being by Frankel. He has only been beaten twice in five starts. But the worst run of the career was on wet going, which he comes up with here and this is the 10th race on the turf in the 2 days, so the chopped up / wet going is a big risk. Let’s take him on here!

11 – Nishino Katsunari being by Rulership will love the wet going and proved that last start when he won quite well in a lower grade, but just like Vollkommen that is offset with the preferred going here. All three wins have come over the 1600 and one of those was over the T&D where he had to do a lot of work in the run.

Betting Strategy

BACK (WIN) – Vollkommen for 2 Units

LAY (WIN) – Excellent Fille for 2 Units

Hanshin R1 – Maiden 1800m – Dirt

2 – Perle d’Or has been quite consistent in all runs and just keeps bumping into that one, that is a touch better and the market is sick of her after being $5 and under at her past 4. The softer draw today allows her to take up a much better position in the run, which for mine was the difference for her last start between winning and losing.

8 – Lasting Love was horrific on debut, but that was on the turf and the connections have opted to send her straight across to the turf. The booking of Hamanaka has me intrigued and there is traces of dirt form in her breeding page, no shock to see her jump out of the ground.

10 – Sunday Jupiter looks the likely fav off, of the early markets and for mine has been quite disappointing and had every chance at its past two. Brings a really strong SP profile, but does map awkwardly and given the booking of Take, there could be some over betting here in what is in a weak race.

12 – Dantsu Elise gets into this race with no weight and rattled home last start on the rain affected dirt going. From 12 with no weight I expect them to roll forward and try to run them into the ground, as she has been able to sustain 800m runs in both starts on the dirt. For mine the two dirt starts have been quite encouraging. She is no world beater, but does have more than enough ability to win a few races.

Betting Strategy

LAY – Sunday Jupiter  for 2 Units


Hanshin R4 – Maiden 2000m

2- Narita Ares just ran out of ground last start here at the T&D when beaten as an odds on fav. He has improved with each run this preparation after being a late SCR back in the middle of Feb. from the good gate Fukunaga will have her just behind the speed and look to pounce late.

3 – Werewolf has been quite good in both runs and improved start to start, despite the margin last start. First go right handed way of going is of no concern to me, as you very rarely see a horse go off and hang around a turn here. His dad was a Tenno Sho winner and the trip will be no concern.

6 – Nowhere Land is a brilliantly bred colt who finds himself in not the strongest of maidens on debut. Owned by the ever powerful Sunday Racing with C. Lemaire on board on debut, we just need to see this horse parade well and look the goods and I’ll take the punt, that he is better than them and on the way to the Derby.

10 – Stoke d’Abernon is another well bred colt who is a half brother to the smart Sounds Of Earth who is a multiple G1 performer in the past, and as said doesn’t find the strongest of races on debut and all he needs to do is have above average ability to go close to winning this with Y. Take on board it gets another tick as he could be Derby bound too.

Betting Strategy

BACK (WIN) – Nowhere Land for 1 Unit

BACK (WIN) – Stoke d’Abernon for 1 Unit


Hanshin R9 – Listed 2000m 3yo Fillies

3 – Wrighta comes out of a good race last start when placing second behind Daring Tact (who we will talk about later in the G1) she was no match for the winner there, but did find the line well enough and did thrash the rest. The step to 2000m after that is logical as her mum ran 3rd in an American Oaks and will run well.

5 – Lily Pure Heart took a lot out of the debut run and has been quite faultless ever since. In races such as these I always look to the horses with the most upside which she looks to have here. The win last start over 2400m was dominant. She has Oaks filly written all over her, given her mum was a Prix de l’Opéra winner in France in 2010. Deep Impact x Galileo mare has been a very strong cross here in Japan and in Ireland.

8 – Izu Jo no Kiseki got a minute back last start over a mile and rattled home to just miss the placings there, if I am respecting that race in the G1 later this afternoon, I have to respect the run here despite the SP and she has some staying ability with the jump to 2000 no issue.

Betting Strategy

BACK (WIN) – Lily Pure Heart for 5 Units


Hanshin 11 – G1 1600m 3yo Fillies

4 – Sanctuaire, comes through some different form last preparation and was very good when winning upon resumption. She was only beaten once and that was by Ria Amelia (who was 1.8 in the Fillies G1 last season) so the form is strong and I am trusting it. She wasn’t thrown in the deep end after the G3 placing last start and looked to work quite well coming into this, with a freshly quarantined Lemaire on board.

5 – Matlese Diosa won the lead up to this on March 7, with a well timed run to get over the top of Resistencia, she wasn’t respected in the market after a G1 second last preparation after running some fast times leading in. She keeps on improving, but being by Kizuna she could be looking for the 2000m now.

8 – Ria Ameila, was dragged back to last at the end of last preparation in the G1 Juvenille Filles (over this T&D) when starting 1.8. it was a horrible tactical ride that day by Kawada as the on pacers dominated and despite a 3rd best last 600m of the race, she didn’t get within earshot. I have to trust the SP from that run, despite the disrespect in early markets she should be closer to fav and has been kept fresh for this as she is out of an Oaks winner in the USA. From the nicer gate she can take a spot just behind the speed and I need to be with her.

9 – Daring Tact comes into this out of a listed race last start and won with consummate ease to get her record to 2/2. 8 weeks between runs (she was 12 weeks between runs from debut) after the win, her upside looks endless. But second fav according to markets on Saturday afternoon, maybe unders given the credentials of the others?

17 – Resistencia is our early fav here and was the dominant all the way winner of the Juvenille Filles last season, before getting beaten as an odds on fav in the G3 leadup by MD. She rolled along in front and knocked up, as I’ve said before, once these fillies have won their G1. They do tend to use the leadups as almost a barrier trial to get rock hard fit, for bigger and better races such as this. From 17 she will roll across again, and if she repeats her performance from December. They won’t catch her.

Betting Strategy

BACK (WIN) – Ria Amelia for 2 Units

BACK (WIN) – Resistencia for 1.5 units

Race 1

2) Rhone Glacier looks to be your likely favourite here after being run down on the line in her past two efforts. She is third up into this off two 1700m runs. I think she has had her chances to be win and according to early markets, looks well found.

10) Sound Rebecca is the big query here. Two horrid starts on turf last season, now has switched to the dirt and comes to the 1800m fresh. The damsire was a G1 February stakes winner and her mother placed on dirt. Fukunaga sticks after riding her in both turf races.

14) Ametrine is a supremely bred filly and comes to the dirt after two runs on turf, the last of which was a fresh run on 22/3. There is some dirt bloodlines in the family which helps here. Short run to the first turn, so Iwata will need to be on his game here.

15) Meisho Torahime was quickly put on the dirt after a terrible debut run. At its first run on dirt it took time to adjust to the going and found the line quite well, then ran out of time at the T&D. hopefully from 15 they chance their arm and roll across, as I don’t want her being too far back.

Betting Strategy

LAY – Rhone Glacier for 2 units


Race 9

8) Tomboy looks the likely leader here in a race that seems devoid of pace and should get all favours. Both wins have been over the T&D, and could well catch them napping if she nicks off, off the turn and could run a race at odds.

10) Voluspar comes into this off a freshen up where she was nailed on the line twice in as many starts in January. Her best runs have been the right-handed way of going and gets that here, despite never having run at Hanshin before. She has the ability to run a wicked late sectional and will run well.

11) Nangoku Ai Net, gets a great jockey change coming into this with Kawada jumping aboard and that could be all the difference here. She is tactically adept, but for mine her best runs are when she rolls forward. If she does do that here (Kawada at his best on pace) from the 600 she can ramp it up and hold them off late.

12) Cath Palug, just needs a touch of luck to go her way and she should go close to winning this. She has been in the top 2 of the market in 13 of her last 14 runs and the market may be getting sick of her now. Her record at Hanshin is quite good, and she consistently rattles off really strong late figures. If Fukunaga can have her a touch closer she will be hard to hold out.

Betting Strategy

BACK (WIN) – Cath Palug for 1 unit

BACK (WIN) – Tomboy for 0.5 units


Race 11 – G1 Osaka Hai

3) Blast Onepiece has come back from an Arc campaign well, by winning fresh on Australia Day on his preferred soft going (unbeaten on soft, flogged on a heavy in the Arc). It was good to see him come back, as in the past some Japanese horses, just do not handle that trip across to France.

He was good enough to win an Arima Kinen at 3 (Rey De Oro, Cheval Grand behind him) before not getting the best steer in this race last year behind Al Ain and then was flogged on a bog in the Arc. He has the best ratings performance according to the JRA Handicappers of any horse and must be respected.

5) Lucky Lilac won the QEII Cup second-up last time in before going to Hong Kong and running second in the Vase, but did beat Diedre home, who has the scalp of Lys Gracieux last year. First up at Nakayama she was off the bit a long way home and looked gone, yet ran right through the line to run second to Danon Kingley.

Twice in the past she has won Group 1 races second up, plus a second to Almond Eye. Her trackwork through the week I thought was quite good and these well-performed mares do tend to use lead ups to G1 races as a big fitness hit out, so I expect sharp improvement.

8) Danon Kingley won as he liked fresh off a sweet ride, sitting just behind the pace and extending away well. He brings in fantastic 3yo form from last year, as he ran into Saturnalia in the 2000 guineas and was just behind them in the Derby. He just wasn’t brilliant enough for them in the mile championship and really looks to have strengthened up from prep to prep.

This is his acid test to stand up and say he can mix it with the big kids. He has stayed here, while owned in the same interests Danon Premium is in Sydney.

12) Chrono Genesis has been a well thought of mare all of her career and has an SP over Lucky Lilac in the QEII last season. She won as she liked fresh on wet going and has been given plenty of time to get over that. The potential for rain around Hanshin on Saturday night gives here more of a chance, if she can get her toe in she absolutely loves it 3/3 on rain affected going.

Broke through at G1 level in the Shuka Sho last season, before the aforementioned QEII, off that she shouldn’t beat Lucky Lilac home. If it rains, it changes everything.

Betting Strategy

BACK (WIN) – Lucky Lilac for 2 units

BACK (WIN) – Danon Kingley for 1 unit

Takamatsunomiya Kinen G1 – Chukyo 29th March 2020

Today sees the running of the Grade 1 Takamatsunomiya Kinen over 1200m from the Chukyo racecourse in what will be the first time a top-level JRA race has been held with no spectators.

Regardless, this shapes up to be an intriguing version of the Takamatsunomiya with differing formlines converging here on what will be an electrifying race.

Here is a rundown of a handful of runners that I believe to be the main chances.


2. A Will a Way

T: Tomokazu Takano

J: Kohei Matsuyama

Her run in the G3 Silk Road Stakes last month was ultra-impressive storming home from a long way back to win and record a final three-furlong time of 33.7 seconds. In recent times the Silk Road Stakes has been a good lead up for the Takamatsunomiya with three winners of the last four runnings having come through the Silk Road. If Will A Way can replicate her most recent run she will be highly competitive here and at the $19 quote I am seeing at some agencies she is worth a small wager.


3. Diatonic

T: Takayuki Yasuda

J: Yuichi Kitamura

One of two Takayuki Yasuda-trained runners engaged here, Diatonic is certainly a consistent runner with a 6-3-2 record from 14 starts. His latest run in the G3 Hankyu Cup was sound where he ran 3rd after being demoted from 2nd in a protest. He has a fitness edge on some of these but he has yet to contest a 1200m race and I just don’t think he has the turn of foot that some of his rivals possess. Happy to risk.


6. Danon Smash

T: Takayuki Yasuda

J: Yuga Kawada

Danon Smash had a prosperous 2019 winning both the G3 Silk Road Stakes and the G3 Keenland Cup before ending the year with a solid performance in the G1 Hong Kong Sprint at Sha Tin where he was doing his best work late.

His first run for 2020 was in the G3 Fuji Ocean Stakes where after jumping slightly awkwardly he recovered well to slide up the rail and get a dream run behind the leader throughout. In the straight, he peeled out and put paid to rivals with his impressive turn of foot. He ran 4th in this race last year and will no doubt be competitive again. My only concern is his sporadic habit of jumping a little tardy; however, on form, he has to be respected.


8. Gran Alegria

T: Kazuo Fujisawa

J: Kenichi Ikezoe

After winning the G1 Ako Sho and contesting the G1 NHK Mile Cup, Gran Alegria’s most recent run was in the G2 Hanshin Cup in December where she sat on the fence midfield and enjoyed a cozy run throughout.

She crept forward hugging the fence on turning and when she saw clear running in the straight it was all over in the blink of an eye, gapping her rivals. She did this while recording a final furlong time of 33.5 seconds in what was an utterly dominant display.

One of the concerns I have is that she has yet to contest a race under 1400m with five of her six career starts at the mile. Further to this, she also loses the services of exclusive rider Christophe Lemaire with Kenichi Ikezoe taking the saddle.

It will also take quite the training performance to have her win first up in a grade one sprint but I think the Fujisawa stable can pull it off and her class will prevail here. I’m happy to be with her.


9. Tower Of London

T: Kazuo Fujisawa

J: Yuichi Fukunaga

A genuine G1 sprinter, the Godolphin owned Tower Of London had an impressive 2019 with three wins from six starts and capped the year off with a strong win in the G1 Sprinters Stakes at Nakayama.

He kicked off 2020 first up in the G3 Fuji Ocean Stakes where he sat a couple of pairs back on the fence, enjoying a fairly soft run throughout. However, he got into slightly restricted racing room in the straight before getting a clear passage and hitting the line ok.

He wasn’t wound up first up and will no doubt strip fitter with a much-improved run here, but the price seems a tad lean at this stage.


10. I Love Tailor

T: Hiroshi Kawachi

J: Yutaka Take

I Love Tailor has finished in the money in all 7 starts with an impressive 5 wins and 2 seconds, and her latest outing in the Yodo Tankyori Stakes at Kyoto over 1200 metres was very impressive. She sat three and four wide throughout only briefly getting cover in what was a very strong win. Having said that, she probably doesn’t have the class edge of some others here and will have to overcome the wide draw.


14. Mozu Ascot

T: Yoshito Yahagi

J: Mirco Demuro

Mozu Ascot has had a flawless start to 2020 first winning the G3 Negishi Stakes on the dirt at Tokyo over 1400m where he sat three-wide with cover midfield tracking into the race. He was forced to take the turn wide but stuck to the task for a good win.

Following that win he stayed on the Tokyo dirt track to contest the G1 February Stakes over a mile where he had a rather soft midfield rails run, peeled out in the straight and put paid to his rivals.

Hard to knock winning form but to drop back from the mile on the dirt to a top-class sprint race on the turf is a big ask, particularly when he has yet to contest a race under 1400m. For that reason I’m happy to be against him here.


Selections

  • Gran Alegria
  • Danon Smash
  • Tower Of London
  • A Will A Way

Betting Strategy

BACK (WIN) – Gran Alegria for 3 units

BACK (WIN) – A Will A Way for 1 unit

With all the uncertainty in the world at the moment horse racing continues to be a beacon of hope for sports fans around the globe and Japan is one of the few countries where racing rolls on.

Today sees the inaugural running of the Grade 2 Nikkei Sho over 2500m from Nakayama. We’ve gone through the field and penned our thoughts on a few of the main hopes. Plus our recommended betting strategies to use on The Exchange.


1. Satono Chronicle

T: Yasutoshi Ikee

J: Takuya Ono

He had some excuses last start in the American Jockey Club Cup G2 in January when he was slightly checked by an easing runner on the turn just as he was really starting to build momentum and work into the race. Considering he was first up there for almost a year and half, his run had plenty of merit. Plus his trainer, Yasutoshi Ikee, is running at a 17.9% win strike rate for 2020.

He will no doubt improve on that run; however, we couldn’t quite fit him into my top four.


4. Red Leon

T: Katsuhiko Sumii

J: Yusuke Fujioka

A lightly raced runner that comes out of the Nikkei New Year Cup G2 where he enjoyed a fairly leisurely run on the fence throughout. However, in a crucial stage in the straight he was noticeably impeded for a run and when he eventually saw clear running he found the line quite nicely. He faces a tougher task here but from a good draw and with his jockey Fujioka boasting a 15% win strike rate for 2020, we’re happy to have something on him.


8. Etario

T: Yasuo Tomomichi

J: Yasunari Iwata

We last saw him in the Arima Memorial G1 in December where he was nothing short of plain, however, that was probably to be expected considering his gut-busting run prior in the Japan Cup G1 where he was forced to sit three wide no cover throughout only tiring in the final stages. He steps back to a G2 here and has proven he can handle the track and trip running 2nd in this race last year. He generally performs well fresh, and with his trainer Yasuo Tomomichi leading the JRA trainers ranking this year (boasting an impressive 25% win strike rate), Etario rates as my top pick to go one better this year.


10. Mozu Bello

T: Morita Naoyuki

J: Kenichi Ikezoe

His run in the Nikkei New Year Cup G2 was quite soft, and this combined with a 10/10 ride where Kenichi Ikezoe was able to work off the rails meant he was able to be presented into the race at an ideal time. That being said, the manner in which he put his rivals away in the straight commands respect. He faces a tougher assignment here but Mozu Bello is certainly in the mix.


14. Mikki Swallow

T: Takanori Kikuzawa

J: Norihiro Yokoyama

Coming off a strong run in the American Jockey Club Cup G2 in January where he had a relatively soft trip and was working strongly into the race before being forced wide on turning to avoid an easing runner. Although it was only a minor interference, the change in path wasn’t ideal but he stuck to the task running on well regardless. The only slight query I have is whether he can run out a strong 2500m from the wide draw, and if he is well found in the market, which I assume he will be, I am happy to risk him.


Betting Strategy

BACK (WIN) – Etario for 2.5 units

BACK (WIN) – Red Leon for 1 unit


current results

Total Units Staked: 97.25

Total Units Returned: 82.39

ROI: -15.28%


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