Homan’s JRA horses to follow – September 12
Japanese racing’s latest wild child features along with a very promising colt from the final crop of Deep Impact.
Meikei Yell (R11 Chukyo, G2 Centaur Stakes, 1200m, Sept 11)
Turning Japanese racing’s latest wild child around has been a masterful effort from trainer Hidenori Take and jockey Kenichi Ikezoe.
One look at the head gear on Meiki Yell tells you all you need to know about how difficult this filly has been to control in races, and the exhausted look on Ikezoe’s face post-race told its own story.
In the Centaur, Meikei Yell was able to sit just off the speed and tear home to set a new track record of 1.06.2s for the 1200m, finishing in an astonishing 32.9s for her final 600m.
“Although she did not jump well today, she can settle in fifth position and be controlled,” Ikezoe said. “The next target will be Group 1 title and I hope everything is fine in the preparation.”
Ikezoe was referring to the Group 1 Sprinters Stakes on October 1, a race that would seem at her mercy should she continue her improvement.
Open Fire (R5 Chukyo, 2yo Newcomer, 2000m, Sept 11)
Owner Yuji Hasegawa has yet to have a Group race runner but a big spend on Deep Impact colt Open Fire could have bought him a star.
Open Fire was the top yearling at the 2021 Select Sale, knocked down to Hasegawa for 330 million yen (AU$3.4 million), and little more than a year later trainer Takashi Saito will be dreaming of the Derby.
The way Open Fire put away his opposition in a 2000m race on Sunday at Chukyo showed some top line ability, but most of all scope to improve.
“He is still green,” winning jockey Christophe Lemaire said post-race. “It seemed like he was playing when we were in the gate and during the races. He has a strong turn of foot, and he can still improve. This is a talented horse and I am looking forward to his future.”
Bred by Northern Farm, who purchased Open Fire’s stakes-winning dam Go Maggie Go, who won the G2 Gulfstream Oaks, it would seem this colt will relish a chance at the classic distances next year.
There were a few factors against Open Fire on debut, including a slow tempo in the first half of the race, and he still had work to do with a furlong to go but he produced a potent turn-of-foot to finish (last 600m in 33.4 seconds).