Is there a champion in this year’s Mile Championship?
The JRA’s mile division has been open this year, but could a candidate emerge at Kyoto on Sunday to challenge the absent Songline for the champion miler title.
Japan’s autumn season continues apace this weekend with the G1 Mile Championship, a race that always takes some winning and which has often been a source of horses heading to Hong Kong the following month to contest the Mile or the Cup at the International Races.
Serifos won the Mile Championship last year, defeating a bunch of Sunday’s rivals, notably Schnell Meister. That success announced the Mitsu Nakauchida-trained three-year-old as a star in the making, and a repeat of that win as a four-year-old would certainly confirm his place among the world’s best milers.
The rising star
Elton Barows is the horse on the up among the 16 entered for this race, but how much higher can he rise? Like Serifos last year, the colt is a three-year-old in form. The son of Deep Brillante was a slow starter and didn’t break his maiden until his fifth start; that was in April of this year at Hanshin and he hasn’t looked back since, putting together a sequence of four wins on the bounce.
His latest win was his biggest yet, defeating a top-class field to take the G2 Mainichi Okan over 1800m. On paper, the win was impressive, given that he had the two-time Yasuda Kinen winner Songline in second and another G1 winner Schnell Meister in third; but he was in receipt of two and three kilograms, weight-for-age, from those two stars, got first run, and was begging for the line to come as he held on by a nose and a nose.