Adrian Webber



Keiba Diary: keeping cool through summer boilovers

Adrian Webber chimes in with his weekly take on the JRA scene, with autumn plans for some big names, a new role for Clincher, and an anniversary at Chukyo.

As the days become hotter and hotter in Japan this summer, the sound of wind chimes or ‘furin’ can be heard in many places including shopping streets, temple grounds and people’s homes. The small dome-like objects are usually made from glass and have a strip of colourful paper attached to the clapper, so that when the breeze blows a relaxing chime is emitted from the bell and it tends to make people slow down and think a little more. The sound is said to have a cooling and refreshing effect and it used to be all there was before the advent of fans and air-conditioners. Temples also used them as a way of keeping evil spirits away.

It is with the latter in mind that punters enter the summer season with some trepidation, a time when results tend to throw up a few more surprises than usual, as could be seen last weekend when a couple of heavy favourites got rolled in the big races.

Jasper Krone was able to run away with the G3 CBC Sho at Chukyo on Sunday, with Mad Cool unable to get in a finish of any kind. The race also saw Manami Nagashima have her first graded stakes ride on Abierto, but the horse couldn’t get a forward enough position to ever be a threat and finished last of the twelve runners.

At Fukushima, the short home straight could possibly have cost Lebensstil and his jockey Keita Tosaki the race, as they flew home late but couldn’t catch the eventual winner Elton Barows in the G3 Radio Nikkei Sho.


Elton Barrows denies Lebensstil in the G3 Radio Nikkei Sho at Fukushima. (Photo by JRA)

Something with a bit more certainty about it was Yuga Kawada bringing up his 1,900th JRA win when he scored in the fifth race at Chukyo on Saturday aboard the filly Kurino Hallelujah. 

“I’ve been lucky enough to ride a lot of good horses and get the support from everyone involved, including the fans, so it’s a good place to be at in my career as a jockey,” the champion jockey said after reaching the milestone. He’s just the 10th JRA jockey in history to reach that number of wins.

Next weekend and beyond

A couple more Group 3 races are scheduled for this coming Sunday: the Procyon Stakes at Chukyo, where Remake reappears in Japan for the first time this year after a couple of good efforts in the Middle East, and the Tanabata Sho at Fukushima will feature Feengrotten, a colt by Black Tide that finished second to Prognosis in the G2 Kinko Sho in March.

Mention of Prognosis leads to the news of his next race, the G2 Sapporo Kinen on August 20th. The Mitsumasa Nakauchida-trained horse by Deep Impact is currently at the Yamamoto Training Farm in Miyagi Prefecture.

G2 Kinko Sho winner Prognosis is set to target the Sapporo Kinen. (Photo by JRA)

Others having a well-deserved break are Dura Erede, Karate and Ask Victor More; Pradaria and Nocking Point are being aimed at the G3 Niigata Kinen on September 3, while Pax Ottomanica – the colt that went off in front in the Derby – is to run on dirt for the first time in the G3 Leopard Stakes also at Niigata on August 6.

Australia could be on the cards for Breakup and Silver Sonic, with both horses being considered for the G1 Melbourne Cup, and a run in the G1 Caulfield Cup is a possibility for Breakup. 

Look who's there

Nine-year-old Clincher retired from racing last year and is now to be found at Hakodate Racecourse, where his new duties include leading out the runners before a race and serving at the track’s riding club. He still has many fans and there’s definitely quite an aura about Japan’s 2018 Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe representative. 

His current handler Masaya Watanabe knows all about him. 

“He can get a little excited when he comes out onto the course but he understands that it’s alright just to watch now. He’s quiet when training and he’s still a well-balanced horse. After about one and a half hours of training though he becomes quite tired and sleepy,” said Clincher’s new guardian.

70 years of Chukyo Racecourse

A reception was held at a hotel in Nagoya at the end of last month to celebrate 70 years of Chukyo Racecourse. Among the 180 attendees was the JRA President and CEO Masayuki Goto who conveyed his message to everybody at the event. 

“I’d like to thank everyone involved in the development of Chukyo Racecourse and its longevity which now stretches to 70 years,” said the top executive. 

The course only stages two Group 1 races a year, the Takamatsunomiya Kinen in March and the Champions Cup in December, so the brave fans who come out in what are sometimes bleak weather conditions also deserve a mention for their loyal support. Those winter days always feel far distant from this summer heat. 




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