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Japan Cup (G1) - Preview
25 Nov 2017 | Japan Racing Association 

The 37th running of the Y648M, Grade 1 Japan Cup (2,400m) at Tokyo on Sunday - Comments from Japanese runners' connections


Cheval Grand (horse, 5)
Yasuo Tomomichi, trainer
“Last out in the Kyoto Daishoten, things got a little tight just out of the gate and he wound up running from behind. But he ran solidly in the finish and gained good ground. I was satisfied with it as a good autumn prep. We kept him at the training center and he has gotten a lot of work. I think we had him mostly ready by last week. (Jockey) Mirco Demuro rode him on Nov. 16 on the woodchip course with another horse. And after the goal, I had the jockey keep after him. He never goes that fast in work but I think his movement was good. Hugh Bowman rode this week to test the horse’s responses and though his time wasn’t great he was nicely balanced. He’ll go to the gate in good shape. He has the world’s No. 1 jockey and he’s a clever horse, so I think they’re suited for each other. The rotation this year was the one I wanted. Last year, he was still tired from his spring campaign, so I entered him in the Copa Republica Argentina and went to here from there, but the rotation this year is the one I originally wanted. I think he’s in better shape this year. I’ll leave the race up to Bowman, but usually this horse, being a good starter, would get a good position and race from there. If he can go with the flow well, I think he’ll get the results. There are three Japanese Derby winners in the field and I think it’s a really strong lineup. But I think he can do a good job amid them all. Before every Grade 1, I say the same thing, but I really would like to get him a big win. Last year he was third here and needed just a little more and the same in the spring.”

Hugh Bowman, jockey
“I was satisfied with his work this week. The way he moves and his balance, everything is sufficient. I’ve seen that he has stamina and that 2,400 meters is the best for him. He has what it takes to win. I’ve been given a chance to get some results in Japan and I want to make the most of the opportunity.”


Decipher (horse, 8)
Ryota Kojima, assistant trainer
“He has no problem at all with a heavy track and he looked good in the preliminaries last out. But his timing was off at the break and he missed it. Still, he did his best until the end. He was also nominated for the Mile Championship but we came here, which was the original plan. Last week, he worked up the hill course with a focus on the finish just to check his responses. He’s limber and fresh and looking good. I had some worries about him earlier but he has recovered. Looking at his run in the All Comers, I think he can handle the distance.”

Yuichi Shibayama, jockey
“In his last start he ran well even though the track was in bad shape and he wasn’t tired afterward. He’s not that fast up the hill course but his movement and the way he uses his body aren’t bad. This week, he was almost keen in the beginning going up the hill and he looked like he did in his best times. He has gotten a bit sluggish and loses focus over the last furlong. The main thing is not to get him upset. He has ability and I’d like to have him out on his own where he can run in a good frame of mind.”


Kitasan Black (horse, 5)
Hisashi Shimizu, trainer
“His run in the Tenno Sho (Autumn) was spectacular. I really have to take my hat off to him. With what happened at the break, I kind of figured he’d flubbed it but in no time at all he was moving up through the field and got to where he did by the final turn. He got an amazing ride too. He has gotten a lot stronger and he can race over any going, any distance. He had no injuries or problems anywhere and we put him into light training right away. He had the usual fatigue from racing, but no more than usual. We gave him a hard workout last week and the time was sufficient. And the rider said, ‘Everything’s fine.’ I’m really grateful to have been able to work with a horse like this. Of course, I think this year’s Japanese Derby winner is strong and I’m now in a position where I can accept the challenge. Still, I don’t think about the competition much. I just get the horse ready and look forward to raceday.”



Kitasan Black, picture Japan Racing Association


Last Impact (horse, 7)
Yasuyuki Tsujino, assistant trainer
“Last out, the jockey sent him to the front from the break and I think he was able to run at his own rhythm. He finished sixth but held his ground well. It was a good race for the first time in a while. We gave him a bit of time off and then brought him back to the training center with this race as our target. He has gotten ample work and all has gone well. He’s on his toes and looks to be in good condition. The year before last he finished second by a neck in this race and so I’d say he’s suited to the Tokyo 2,400m.”


Makahiki (colt, 4)
Yasuo Tomomichi, trainer
“The going was so bad last race that he had a hard time staying balanced, so the jockey kept a check on him and hoped to go all out in the finish. He gained a lot of ground in the stretch. It was fortunate that he didn’t suffer any injuries in that race and things have gone well as we’ve readied him for this race. On Nov. 15, he worked alone. He got a good overall time and his later lap times were good too. I think he’s in better shape now than he was after the Mainichi Okan. Tokyo is his best course and he won’t have any problem up to 2,400 meters. If it’s a fast track I don’t think he’ll embarrass us.”


One and Only (horse, 6)
Shinsuki Hashiguchi, trainer“
He went in to the Tenno Sho (Autumn) in good shape but the bad going did him in. He had already given up by the time it came to make his move. He didn’t run at all and I think you’d have to disregard those results. He came out of the race well and is full of energy. Some 11 days after the race we clocked him in work. The jockey rode work last week and gave him a good solid workout. He’s kept his condition. He has run in this race three times already and done his best. The Tokyo 2,400m is this horse’s best race. He needs a fast track but I’m hoping the good run he got in the Mainichi Okan can stand him well here.”


Rainbow Line (colt, 4)
Keiichi Asami, assistant trainer
“He ran well over the sloppy track last out. He traveled well amid the pace of the 2,000-meter race and he showed how mature he’s become. He had a real good rest over the summer and he’s in better shape now than he was before taking time off. And I think that was reflected in this last race. Because his last start was his first in a while we had brought him back to the training center early. This time, however, we’ve given him the usual routine of a bit of time off and then brought him back last week. With the one race behind him he’ll surely have improved. He ran well this last time and he did a good job in last year’s Japan Cup too so I’d say he’s suited to Tokyo. He has matured and the pace of the 2,400m is easier than the 2,000m. It’d be good if the track had a bit of spring to it.”


Rey de Oro (colt, 3)
Daisuke Tsumagari, assistant trainer
“For the Kobe Shimbun Hai, he had the trip to Kansai and it was hot and I thought that would be a factor. He also lost more weight than we had anticipated. But, he was calmer than usual in the pre-parade ring and, unlike usually, he broke well and got a good position and traveled well. I think that’s proof that he has matured mentally. He came out of the race well, without much damage, and he was soon back in training at the farm. Everything has gone well since he got back to the training center too. He has filled out and he is really good at switching on and off. It’ll be his first time competing against older horses and I’m looking forward to seeing how well his abilities will serve him this time out.”


Satono Crown (horse, 5)
Kazutomo Mori, assistant trainer
“He’s normally good over slow tracks but the going in the Tenno Sho (Autumn) was hard even for him. But even with the track as heavy as it was, in the final stages he was able to gain on the eventual winner with every stride. He really demonstrated his ability. We trained him up the hill course from the weekend following the race and he was tired and a bit worked up but he was over the fatigue by last week. It was a tough race and we’ve given him a lot of attention. He has recovered well. On Nov. 14 he weighed in at 510kg. I think the Tokyo 2,400m shows his ability at its best. He can get results on a heavy track but he can also win with his late kick on a fast track.”


Sciacchetra (colt, 4)
Yasuyuki Tsujino, assistant trainer
“With the track in such unusual shape last out, it was an especially difficult race. He couldn’t get traction in the stretch and wasn’t able to race all out. He finished 15th but I think those results can be disregarded. Since he hadn’t really raced, he came out of it well and recovered right away. The jockey rode fast work last week and pushed him past the finish as well. His responses were good. He has good muscle tone and I think he’ll have improved from last start. He has won the 2,500-meter Nikkei Sho, so I think the extra distance this time will be a plus.”


Soul Stirring (filly, 3)
Daisuke Tsumagari, assistant trainer
“In the Tenno Sho (Autumn), she had the sloppy track and was bumped by another horse going into the straight, but she didn’t shrink back from it. She ran solidly to the end. I think it was a strong race even with sixth place. I was impressed once again by how well she uses her body. Fortunately, she came out of the race well and it didn’t take long before she was back in regular training. On Nov. 15, we trained her working in a file with other horses and she gave us a good, solid workout. This will be her third start this season but she hasn’t lost weight, in fact, she has filled out. It shows what good shape she’s in. The competition will be stiffer this time but this will be the third time she has competed against older horses. She’s only a 3-year-old but she is made of excellent stuff and I have my expectations up.”


Sounds of Earth (horse, 6)
Kenichi Fujioka, trainer
“I really don’t know what went wrong in the Kyoto Daishoten. But the heat that day may have been a factor. He was in shape and his weight was not a problem. With those results, the jockey said he didn’t feel the horse was eager to win. I gave things further thought and maybe he wasn’t quite ready and not at his best. I’ve changed things around a bit and am careful he doesn’t stiffen up. He got a solid workout last week and both his movement and his time were better. He’s got to be in good shape. The winner last year had a really good ride, but this guy did well too to make second. He definitely has power.”


Yamakatsu Ace (horse, 5)
Kaneo Ikezoe, trainer
“He was in good shape for the Tenno Sho (Autumn) and I had my hopes up, but with the way the track was, well, what can you expect. Into the third and fourth turn, there were horses moving out and he had a hard time holding his position. He didn’t get to stretch out. On raceday, he had lost more weight than he does after fast work and more than I had expected him to, even though he was eating fine. Once back at the training center, his weight was back up to 520kg. He recovered quickly from the race and is fresh and I’d say he’s in good shape. Since he just raced, on Nov. 22 I had the jockey breeze him and only push him a bit in the end. His movement was good. He tends to race at around 2,000 meters, but as you can see from the Arima Kinen (Grand Prix), depending on the ride he gets, I think he can handle 2,400 meters. He should get different results over a fast track.”

 
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