Michael Cox



Purpur Ray to step up in Hakodate Sprint

Mirco Demuro loves when three-year-olds start taking on all-aged opposition at this time of year but believes Purpur Ray’s chances in the Hakodate Sprint Stakes will depend on which version of the temperamental colt turns up.

Demuro maintains the ride in Sunday’s Group Three as Purpur Ray drops back to 1200m for the first time and even though the Italian is positive about upside, the horse’s raw talent comes with a catch.

“I think I have a chance, but he is the kind of horse that if he feels good, that’s great, we can win, but if he is not in a good mood then he is not an easy ride,” Demuro told Asian Racing Report. “He can miss the start and do a lot more wrong from there.”

Demuro has ridden the Nasosuke Sugai-trained colt in each of his eight career starts for three wins, including victory in slick time two runs back against fellow three-year-olds in the Group Three Falcon Stakes over 1400m at Chukyo.

Despite each of his races being in age-restricted company, Purpur Ray has found the competition too tough when up against the best of his peers, including an unplaced effort last time out in the Group One NHK Mile behind Danon Scorpion.

Boosting Demuro’s confidence is a class drop and what the jockey feels are favourable weight conditions at this time of year for the younger horses.

Purpur Ray gets four kilograms from all bar one of his rivals, that being three-year-old filly Namura Clair, who carries 50 kilograms.

““He gets 52 kilograms to the 56 kilograms of the older horses, I feel it is a big deal, especially at this time of year, the three-year-olds are quite mature at this time and when the ground is good they can be hard to beat.”

Meanwhile, at Tokyo on Sunday, Shogo Yasuda’s progressive miler Justin Cafe gets a chance to win a third straight race in the Group Three Epsom Cup.

Justin Cafe would have been considered one of the chances in last Sunday’s Yasuda Kinen but was balloted out due to lack of prize money and now gets a shot at his first stakes win.




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