JRA Blackbook: another staying star for Kitasan Black?

A pair of well-bred three-year-olds signal future stardom following contrasting victories on the weekend, but both will need time.

Christophe Lemaire steers Skilfing to a dominant win at Tokyo. (Photo by @s1nihs)

Homan Ho



Skilfing (R9 Tokyo, Yurikamome Sho, Class 1 Win, 3yo, 2400m, Turf, February 5)

Champion jockey Christophe Lemaire knows a talented son of Kitasan Black when he sits on one and he believes that Skilfing could be a staying star. 

Lemaire rode Kitasan Black’s best known son Equinox to dual Group 1 success on his way to Horse of the Year honours last year, and will be aboard when the now-four-year-old contests the Sheema Classic next month. 

On Sunday he was singing the praises of Skilfing after Tetsuya Kimura’s emerging talent ground his way to a Class 1 victory, showing a long sprint that has him looking like a Kikuka Sho contender. 

“He jumped quite slow,” Lemaire told reporters. “He accelerated for a prolonged distance and he has sufficient stamina. As an offspring of Kitasan Black, he can still grow.” 

Hrimfaxi (R11 Chukyo, Kisaragi Sho, Group 3, 3yo, 2000m, Turf, February 5)

Naosuka Sugai has another Classic contender on his hands after the well-bred colt Hrimfaxi gutted out a Group 3 victory on Sunday but jockey Yuga Kawada identified some key areas for improvement. 

Hrimfaxi is a half-brother to 2019 G1 Nassau Stakes winner Deirdre, by Rulership, and is now on pace to take his part in the big three-year-old races after a third straight win.


Yuga Kawada and Hrimfaxi just hold off Bauyrzhan Murzabayev on Open Fire. (Photo by JRA)

Kawada said Hrimfaxi would need to improve his racing manners if he is to compete against the best of his age group, particularly when it comes time for the Tokyo Yushun. 

“It was difficult for me to hold when there was a horse coming from outside after jumping out from the gate,” Kawada said. “It will be one thing he has to improve. However, he has a potential horse to win a Group 1 race. It is great that he can win a Group race today and head to Classic races this year.” 

The origin of the horse’s distinctive name Hrimfaxi comes from Norse mythology, and means ‘frost mane’. Hrimfaxi is the horse of Nott, the Norse personification of ‘Night’.




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