INDEPENDENT HORSE RACING NEWS

JRA Blackbook: Sol Oriens dominant in Keisei Hai, stakes Satsuki Sho claim

The Takahisa Tezuka-trained Sol Oriens emerged as a G1 Satsuki Sho chance with a Group 3 victory at Nakayama, while a "more mature" middle-distance dirt performer continued on his winning ways.

Sol Oriens takes out the G3 Keisei Hai at Nakayama. (Photo by JRA)

JRA horses to follow

Sol Oriens (R11 Nakayama, G3 The Keisei Hai (3yo), 2000m, January 15)

Sol Oriens announced himself as a serious talent by winning a Group 3 at just his second start and jockey Takeshi Yokoyama says there is plenty of upside for this classics-bound contender.

“He is still a little fat,” formed part of Yokoyama’s post-raced assessment after Sol Oriens overcame his lack of experience to notch a dominant win. “I hope he can improve physically and mentally. I am looking forward to his improvement.” 

A half-brother to Vin de Garde, who placed in the last two runnings of the Dubai Turf, Sol Oriens has a solid pedigree and being by the sire of the moment Kitasan Black (Equinox), there will be a sense of expectation ahead of the Satsuki Sho. 

Trainer Takahisa Tezuka has shown what he can do with a good horse – Win Marilyn, Uberleden, Schnell Meister among others – but he has some work on his hands between now and the G1 Satsuki Sho on April 17. 

“He is a horse with good ability,” Yokoyama said, before pointing out that it was Sol Oriens’ racing manners that needed most work. “He affected other horses when turning to the straight. I feel sorry about that. His response was not good when we passed the third corner but his ability covered him after that.” 

Lord Valenti (R10 Nakayama, Alexandrite Stakes, Class 3, 1800m Dirt, January 14)

Eiji Nakadate-trained Lord Valenti proved he could be one to watch in the middle-distance dirt stakes races in 2023 after a third straight victory. 

Jockey Takezo Nagano bounced Lord Valenti straight to the front and controlled the race from there. 

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Lord Valenti is starting to put it all together on the dirt. (Photo by @de57802028 via Twitter)

Lord Valenti returned for his four-year-old campaign 14 kilograms heavier than his last start and Nagano said that the horse is more mature mentally as well. 

“I think he grew up after turning from three to four,” he said. “He jumped very well and he can run his pace during the race. His racing sense is good.” 

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