Homan Ho



JRA Blackbook: Belle earns admirers in Niigata Newcomer

A daughter of Suave Richard ran right up to her strong pedigree with a debut victory at Niigata, while a Kizuna filly dominated from the front at Kokura.

Admire Belle (R5 Niigata, 2YO Newcomer, 1800m, 20 August)

Trainer Yukihiro Kato looks to have a contender for this season’s two-year-old stakes races in the form of filly Admire Belle, who impressed when stepping out for the first time in a Niigata Newcomer on Sunday. 

Admire Belle is by Japan Cup winner Suave Richard out of Irish-bred mare Belle Allure, making her a half-sister to the 2017 G1 Victoria Mile winner Admire Lead, herself a daughter of Stay Gold.

Beginning slowly for jockey Yuji Hishida, Admire Belle was ridden quietly before being swung widest in the home straight, where she sustained a long run to score by a nose. 

Hishida forecast both a big future and further improvement for the filly.

“She accelerated very well in the straight,” he said after the race. “I think there is still more to come from her.”

The effort of runner-up Best Me Ever – a Silk Racing-owned filly by No Nay Never – was also full of merit, and she is also worth following over a trip. Admire Belle perhaps peaked slightly on her run after striking the front, and may be best suited targeted to a mile at this stage of her career.

Conch Shell (R10 Kokura, Shiranui Tokubetsu, Class 2 Win, 1800m, 19 August)

Conch Shell was best away in an 1800m Class 2 at Kokura on Saturday and never gave her rivals a look in from there, the 1.3 favourite dominating from the front to bolt in by five lengths.

The Kizuna three-year-old gave jockey Ryusei Sakai an armchair ride as she reprised her relatively new tactical role as frontrunner, having also won by five lengths at her previous start over the Chukyo mile on July 15 when leading all the way.

Accelerating strongly for Sakai at the top of the straight, Conch Shell looks to be emerging as a force between a mile and 10 furlongs after going winless in the eight starts following a successful debut back in July 2022.

“She improved after the previous race,” said Sakai. “She stayed well and relaxed in the trip and she ran well in the straight.”




    Subscribe now & get exclusive weekly content from Asian Racing Report direct to your inbox

      Expert ratings, tips & analysis for Hong Kong racing