Adrian Webber



Keiba Diary: Moreira lands a last day haul

Adrian Webber has the latest from the JRA, with a Classic trial upset, Take pitching for the ‘golden’ generation, and news of what’s to come.

With the national holiday in Japan on Monday, it meant there were three days of JRA racing last weekend, and the highlight was meant to be the G1 Satsuki Sho hero Sol Oriens winning the G2 St. Lite Kinen, a trial race for the G1 Kikuka Sho (Japanese St.Leger) in October. 

However, Lebensstil hadn’t read that script and managed to defeat the Derby second and take full honours under Joao Moreira. The Brazilian had already collected two winners earlier in the day, so made it three wins on his final day riding his short-term licence this time around. 

Moreira sat as quiet as a church mouse on the Real Steel colt for most of the way before finding an extra gear at the end, while Sol Oriens’ cornering once again left him with a lot to do on the run for home at Nakayama.

It was ‘free pass day’ at Hanshin on Sunday and a big crowd took advantage of not having to pay for entry, and enjoyed a day at the races without the worry of having to go to work the next day. There was still the worry of finding a winner, and the continuing, relentless summer heat, but those in attendance couldn’t help being impressed by another good ride from Mirai Iwata when he won in record time aboard Masked Diva in the G2 Rose Stakes. The jockey himself was a little surprised by the response he got from the filly in the closing stages but now believes there’s still even more to come.

Take me out to the ball game

Another jockey applying the golden touch was Yutaka Take, who threw the opening pitch at the Hanshin Tigers game on September 12. The Tigers were on an eight-game winning streak when he stepped up to throw.

“I was afraid I might upset the run of wins, but as it turned out things were fine. I’m used to the big crowds but the mound is kind of a sacred place to be,” Take said of the experience. 

Later in the week the Tigers went on to clinch top place in Japan’s Central League. And there was no rest for Take either: he was up early the next morning to ride So Dazzling in trackwork, and then took part in Sonoda Racecourse’s Golden Jockey Cup on Thursday.

The competition saw 12 riders from the NAR and JRA, who have ridden over 2000 winners each, take on the event. It wasn’t really any surprise that the great Take, riding in the colours of his first Derby winner Special Week, won that series as well.

Shahryar getting fit for Breeders’ Cup

Having finished only 11th in the G2 Sapporo Kinen in August, the 2021 Derby winner Shahryar underwent a throat entrapment operation shortly after that race. All went well with the surgery and he’s now at Northern Farm in Tomakomai, Hokkaido, where he’s been able to get back into training after earlier workouts on the treadmill and walking machines. Hopefully things will continue to go well as connections look to a run in the G1 Breeders’ Cup Turf with him at Santa Anita on November 5.

T O Keynes for the JBC Classic 

Talking of breeders’ cups, it might be a little way off yet, but the JBC (Japan Breeding farms Cup) day is already on the cards for certain horses. T O Keynes is aiming to defend his 2022 title when he won the JBC Classic at Morioka. 

The Sinister Minister six-year-old was fourth in this year’s G1 Dubai World Cup and was third in his latest race, the Teio Sho at Oi in June. 



Dirt star T O Keynes. (Photo by NAR)

Plans are already being hatched for last week’s G3 Korea Sprint winner Remake to take on the JBC Sprint next. This year’s JBC day is November 3 at Oi, with the JBC Ladies’ Classic also on the card there, while the two-year-old race will be staged at Mombetsu on the same day.

Rolling out the big guns once more

This coming weekend sees the return of Titleholder and jockey Kazuo Yokoyama, who has been sidelined these past few weeks with an injury to his left leg. The rider is due back to ride the horse in trackwork this week and in the G2 All Comers at Nakayama next Sunday.

The other Group 2 on the same day is the Kobe Shimbun Hai, where Derby runners Hearts Concerto and Phantom Thief will be looking to stake their claims for a run in the G1 Kikuka Sho.

Another national holiday this Saturday is Autumn Equinox Day (not quite what racing fans have in mind), but we’re all going to have to wait a bit longer for more news on the world’s top-rated horse whose day it could be again when the Tenno Sho Autumn comes around.




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