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JRA Blackbook: ‘monster’ Maurice two-year-old destroys Tokyo Newcomer

A Maurice colt emerged as a potential Hopeful Stakes or Asahi Hai Futurity Stakes contender as he dwarfed his rivals at Tokyo, while a son of Deep Impact continued to benefit from a recent tactical adjustment at Hanshin.

Strauss (R5 Tokyo, Newcomer, 2YO, 1600m, 3 Jun)

Trainer Ryo Takei’s colt Strauss can measure up as a late-season Group 1 player after the two-year-old put in a visually spectacular debut at Tokyo on Saturday.

Contesting a 1600m 2YO Newcomer under the guidance of Australian jockey Damian Lane, the son of globetrotting star and shuttle stallion Maurice appeared levels above his opposition, both in terms of size and speed.  

The powerful specimen – out of 2008 G1 Mile Championship winner Blumenblatt – tipped the scales at a hefty 504kg for his debut race and looked like a heavyweight among flyweights as he dictated from the front, cruising home a nine-length winner without being asked to do too much. 

The 1.4 favourite’s winning margin was the biggest recorded in Tokyo debut races since November of 1993.

Perhaps ominously for the JRA two-year-old cohort, Lane forecast further improvement with more racing for Strauss.

“He is a horse with potential,” said Lane.

“His racing rhythm improved starting from the 800 metres. I think he will be better with more racing experience.” 

Keiai Sena (R9 Hanshin, Miki Tokubetsu, Class 2 Win, 1800m, 3 Jun)

On the same weekend that Deep Impact colt Auguste Rodin was running away with the G1 Epsom Derby, another son of the late great ‘super sire’ continued to plot his own path towards Group competition on the JRA. 

A full-brother to 2018 NHK Mile Cup winner Keiai Nautique, trainer Osamu Hirata’s four-year-old Keiai Sena has enjoyed being ridden more forward of late, his dominant victory over the Hanshin 1800 metres on Saturday making it three wins from his past four starts. 

Hunted up from a wide gate by jockey Shinichiro Akiyama, Keiai Sena was able to cross and lead comfortably before demonstrating some serious acceleration in the home straight, dropping his opposition as he registered 34.2s for his final three furlongs.

“He settled well today and won the race,” said Akiyama. “I hope he can keep healthy.” 




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