Keiba Diary: Tango time in Tokyo
JRA broadcaster Adrian Webber talks Derby form, dance moves in the parade ring, planting trees and JBC Day in this week’s edition of Keiba Diary.
The lights dim just a little this coming weekend on the JRA circuit, with no Group 1 races scheduled across the three meetings at Tokyo, Hanshin and Fukushima. Tokyo does stage the G2 Copa Republica Argentina, however, a competitive handicap run over 2500 metres on turf on Sunday, which has produced some big-name winners over the years.
None has been bigger perhaps than Screen Hero, who won it in 2008 and went on to win the Japan Cup the same year, and in more recent times, both Cheval Grand and Suave Richard won the race before going on to win the Japan Cup in later campaigns. This year, the three-year-old Killer Ability takes this route, and, given the strength of the Derby form this autumn, his sixth in that classic at Tokyo back in May would give him a good chance to take the honours this time.
T O Royal, although encumbered with top-weight, is another interesting runner coming off a fifth place in the G2 All Comers, and Silver Sonic is bidding to rebuild his reputation after the six-year-old dumped jockey Yuga Kawada at the start of the G1 Tenno Sho Spring back in May. Tom Marquand has the job of trying to keep Silver Sonic in order this time.
Pre-Covid, there was always an interesting display of the Argentine Tango in the parade ring after racing on Copa day, and here’s hoping it returns this year. The dance portrays a sense of loss and nostalgia, a feeling punters are all too familiar with.
Other races to look out for this weekend are the G2 Keio Hai Nisai Stakes, a 1400-metre race for two-year-olds at Tokyo on Saturday, and the G3 Miyako Stakes over 1800 metres on the dirt at Hanshin on Sunday. Unbeaten colt London Plan (replay below) goes for the former, while the evergreen Omega Perfume is due to run in the dirt contest as he points towards what would be an incredible fifth win in the G1 Tokyo Daishoten in December.
— Satoshi Nakamura (@hena_cho_ko) September 4, 2022
From high in the stands at Tokyo last Sunday, the white face of Equinox became bigger and bigger as the G1 Autumn Tenno Sho reached its climax. The son of Kitasan Black overhauled the runaway leader Panthalassa and won by a length, and Christophe Lemaire was appreciative of the colt’s late burst. “He got a bit tired at the end of the Derby, but today he just kept finding more,” Lemaire said of Equinox’s closing speed.
In the Perseus Stakes, Lemon Pop justified his short price, and, come the 400-metre mark, it was a case of ‘let’s blow this pop stand’ as the colt went on to win by a comfortable four lengths. The Lemon Drop Kid colt was out of action for more than a year from age two to three but has won six and placed second twice from eight starts. Connections will now put their heads together to decide on his next race.