JRA Blackbook: King’s Sword flashes home at Hanshin
King's Sword showed he's not out of place at Group level with a slicing late close at Hanshin, while a son of Maurice relished a switch to dirt in an effortless return to racing at Fukushima.
King’s Sword 3rd of 15 (R11 Hanshin, G3 The Antares Stakes, Dirt, 1800m, 16 April)
Two wins on the trot saw King’s Sword tackle Group 3 company for the first time at Hanshin on Sunday and an encouraging third in the Antares Stakes suggests the son of Sinister Minister is not out of place in higher grade.
The consecutive wins both came over 1800 metres on the Hanshin dirt and that was again the assignment for Ryo Terashima’s four-year-old, who was sent out a 6.6 chance.
Despite jumping well King’s Sword could not go the early pace and eventually settled in the final four along the inside for Yasunari Iwata. He finished off better than anything however for third behind Promised Warrior, his 36.9s for the final three furlongs the fastest of the race.
“Drawing the outside gate affected his performance,” said Iwata.
“If we drew inside he would have performed better. He is an easy horse to ride and he is capable of winning Group races in future.”
King’s Sword’s dam has already produced several handy dirt performers, including the G3 Procyon Stakes winner King’s Guard – a full brother to King’s Sword – and this colt can be one to follow in middle distance stakes races on the dirt.
Dear Successor (R6 Fukushima, 3YO Maiden, Dirt, 1700m, 16 April)
A switch to dirt paid paid immediate dividends for trainer Mikio Matsunaga as his colt Dear Successor romped home in a Fukushima maiden on Sunday.
Finishing unplaced at his two career runs on the turf in his two-year-old year, Dear Successor returned to the races 14 kilograms heavier than at his last outing at Hanshin over 1600 metres, and appeared significantly improved physically.
Resuming at 1700 metres, the son of Maurice jumped well and controlled proceedings from the front thereafter, shaking off a brief challenge at the top of the straight to win hard up against the rail for jockey Genki Maruyama, largely untouched and by seven lengths.
“He is a capable horse,” said Maruyama.
“It is the first time he raced on dirt and he was confused. However, he performed well and displayed his stamina in the straight. I am looking forward to his future.”