Michael Cox



Yasuda Kinen the perfect way for Damian Lane to repay Hori

Damian Lane’s two previous Japanese sojourns have resulted in five Group One wins, but he tells Michael Cox he would love to combine for a first with prime supporter Noriyuki Hori in Sunday’s Yasuda Kinen at Tokyo.

The Australian jockey’s stints in Japan have been career-changing, not just for the success he has enjoyed there domestically ­– where he has won three Grade Ones – but for the two top level wins on the country’s powerhouse horses in Australia.

As far as Lane is concerned there is an obvious anomaly in that record and that is a top win for the studious Hori, a trainer he has won 24 races for at an incredible 25 per-cent strike rate in Japan.

“It would be a great thrill to win this race for him. I really like him as a trainer,” Lane told Asian Racing Report. “I get along with him really well. I love the way he operates and his attention to detail, and the support he has shown me has been tremendous.”

Lane reunites with Salios, a horse he rode to debut on the Yasuda Kinen undercard in a 1600-metre Newcomers race three years ago. Two starts later Salios announced himself as a potential superstar in the Grade One Futurity, but since then he has spent his career bumping into actual superstars.

Maybe Salios is a victim of his own versatility; he is built like a sprinter, but if it wasn’t for the standout stayer of his generation, Contrail, he would have Satsuki Sho and Tokyo Yushun on his CV. His race distances have bounced up-and-down like a cardiograph. Hori even shifted Salios back to 1200 metres last start, a move in-part dictated by a schedule scarce with options for the five-year-old, but Lane senses that 1600 metres is the blueblood’s sweet spot.

“Some horses you ride them once and you think you have a horse pegged down to his best trip, but Salios has been a hard horse to see where he fits in,” Lane said. “I was always of the opinion that he would be capable of any trip, from 1200 metres up to 2000 metres, even though a lot of times he seemed like he could be a sprinter in his work, and the way he was built. But looking at his record and having ridden him a few more times, I think a mile would be the right trip for him.”

The Yasuda Kinen throws together some divergent formlines and a mix of up-and-coming four-year-olds like Schnell Meister, Justin Cafe and Elusive Panther facing battle-hardened milers like Vin de Garde, who returns off a third in the Dubai Turf. Three-year-old Seriof gives the race another layer of intrigue.

“It’s a great edition of the race,” Lane said. “I think in Japan you can have the horses meet one race after another but it is probably a little more interesting than some years with a lot of different form lines coming in.”




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