Homan Ho



JRA Blackbook: talented grey to reboot as mile Force?

A classy son of Kitasan Black resumed with a cracking run over the Kyoto mile, while at Tokyo Heart's Cry colt Sastrugi showed his staying potential stepping out to 2300 metres for the first time.

Gaia Force 2nd/15th (R11 Kyoto, The Yomiuri Milers Cup, Group 2, 1600m, 23 April)

Gaia Force has mixed it with some of Japan’s best staying colts in his career to date, but the lightly-raced son of Kitasan Black resumed at Kyoto on Sunday with a performance suggestive of a horse perhaps even better suited to shorter distances.

The grey had the misfortune of running into a colt named Do Deuce in a two-year-old Newcomer at Kokura back in September of 2021 and has rarely been apart elite company since, defeating Ask Victor More in the G2 Asahi Hai St Lite Kinen as a three-year-old before finishing eighth behind that same horse when failing to step up to the 3000 metres of the G1 Kikuka Sho.

Sunday’s 1600 metre assignment was the shortest of Gaia Force’s eight-start career and he finished full of running after settling mid-pack for Atsuya Nishimura, with a closing last three furlongs of 33.2s only bested by the winner Schnell Meister, who was brought with a powerful late run by Christophe Lemaire. 

“He performed well even it was his first mile race,” said Nishimura.

Gaia Force – whose dam sire Kurufone won the 2001 NHK Mile Cup – can show up again in subsequent mile races, and may even appreciate a switch from turf to dirt. 

Sastrugi (R9 Tokyo, 3-year-olds, Shinryoku Sho, Class 1 Win, 2300m, 22 April)

A possible G1 Kikuka Sho contender emerged at Tokyo on Saturday in the form of Heart’s Cry colt Sastrugi, who put in a professional performance as the 1.2 favourite to prevail in a 2300 metre Class 1.

The Tetsuya Kimura-trained colt is a half-brother to G1 Sprinters’ Stakes winner Tower Of London, and while his sibling was at his best over the sprint trips, Sastrugi very much shapes as a stout type suited to further.


Sastrugi ground out a convincing win at Tokyo. (Photo by @keiba_zuki)

Working through his gears nicely once the small field entered the long Tokyo straight, Sastrugi always looked the winner for Christophe Lemaire, holding off Just A Way colt Laurel Canyon in the run to the line to win by three-quarters of a length.

“He has matured and come back better this year,” said Lemaire.

“He responded well in the straight and I think he will be a good horse over longer distances.”




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