Adrian Webber



Keiba Diary: Sprinters weekend means Group 1 racing is back

Adrian Webber has the latest from the JRA including a look at the first Group 1 of the autumn season and an update from Paris.

There was no renaissance for Titleholder in last weekend’s G2 All Comers at Nakayama, but to be fair he certainly gave it his best shot and finished an admirable second on his comeback from injury. The ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs’ from the crowd probably spurred him on in his customary runaway style.

His jockey Kazuo Yokoyama measured things out quite skilfully in his quest for the win, but Christophe Lemaire and Rousham Park always had him in their sights and were able to get the upper hand by just over a length at the end. Rousham Park won impressively in the Murasaki Sho at Tokyo on Derby day and has just been on an upward curve ever since.

There was a red-hot finish to the G2 Kobe Shimbun Hai at Hanshin on the same day and applying the streaks of fire with a perfectly-timed ride was Yuga Kawada aboard Satono Glanz. The winner’s sire is Satono Diamond who also won the same race before going on to win the G1 Kikuka Sho the same year (2016), so things bode well for the Yasuo Tomomichi-trained Satono Glanz going into that final Classic. 

As for Kawada, he made it six winners for himself over the weekend and goes back to the top of the jockeys’ table.

Brisk sales in Hokkaido

Although there have been a number of sales taking place throughout the world recently, the Hokkaido yearling sale here in Japan still attracted plenty of attention over its three days last week. 

The sale has only been in existence since 2019 but this year saw record sales of ¥2.3 billion for 402 yearlings sold from a total of 532 offered and an increase of over ¥200 million on last year’s figure. A total of 213 fillies and 189 colts were sold, with colts setting the highest price paid over the three days. Day one saw a yearling by Suave Richard bought by Capital System Co. Ltd for ¥27.5 million (the record for this year’s sale) and on the final day a colt by Sinister Minister went for ¥22 million. The Hokkaido Autumn Sale is next up on October 16 for those still looking to buy a horse.

Returning jockeys

News that Hollie Doyle and Tom Marquand will be returning to Japan this autumn is being welcomed by many racing fans in the country who had the chance to see them last year on their first ever visit.

The husband and wife jockeys will head to Australia first but they are both scheduled to be back to ride on short-term licences in Japan from November 11 through ‘til the day of the last JRA Group 1 of the year, the Hopeful Stakes on December 28.


Tom Marquand scores aboard Sumo Sam at Goodwood. (Photo by Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images)

One man that is scheduled to arrive even earlier is Joao Moreira, back again, this time for the weekend of the Japanese St. Leger on October 22. He has already been snapped up to ride Derby winner Tastiera, and will continue on after that. The ‘early bird’ proverb comes to mind.

No end to the Deep Impact legacy

The late great stallion brought up his 2,748th JRA winner on Sunday when jockey Takuya Ono got Danon Madeira up to win by a neck in Race 10 at Nakayama. The winning number might not exactly jump off the page, except that it brings him to within one win of his sire Sunday Silence’s 2,749 JRA wins. As the saying goes, ‘like father like son’, but more honours look like coming the way of the ‘boy’.

On your marks

Get ready for the first Group 1 of the autumn campaign this coming Sunday when the Sprinters Stakes will be run at Nakayama. There might be fewer typhoons than usual this season but there should be a bit of a whirlwind when the 16 runners hit the home straight. 

Although it looks like an open affair, the likes of Aguri and Namura Clair will probably attract good market support. Gendarme sprung a surprise last year and perhaps some of the lesser names this year, such as the fillies Mama Cocha and Mozu Meimei, could do well. Their respective jockeys, Yuga Kawada and Yutaka Take, are certainly not ‘lesser names’. 

Some seven hours after the Sprinters Stakes, all Japanese eyes will be on the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe when Through Seven Seas will take on the might of Europe.

Japan's Arc contender Through Seven Seas. (Photo by JRA)

Trainer Tomohito Ozeki feels the horse has settled in well. “It’s all a different environment, but she has been running well in training and her breathing’s fine. She’s been putting in her big strides and her condition is good. Christophe Lemaire has won on her every time so he’ll know what to try and do,” said the trainer in the build-up to the big race.

So, it’s an interesting Sunday ahead, and could Japan possibly pull off what has always proved impossible up to now in Paris? We shall see.




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