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After a thrilling Shuka Sho saw 3-year-old superstar filly Almond Eye carry off the honors, Kyoto Racecourse is once again the place to be on Sunday, Oct. 21, when it will host the 79th running of the Grade 1 Kikuka Sho (Japanese St. Leger). It is run over 3,000 meters on the outer turf track and takes in roughly one and a half circuits of the course. Twenty 3-year-old colts have been nominated for the final leg of the Triple Crown, and for the past 12 years there has been a full gate of 18 runners. There will be no Triple Crown winner again this year, with different horses winning the first two legs, but Satsuki Sho (Japanese 2000 Guineas) winner Epoca d’Oro will take on the race, whereas Tokyo Yushun (Japanese Derby) winner Wagnerian will be heading to the Tenno Sho (Autumn).

Step races leading into the Kikuka (pronounced “Kikka”) Sho have been the Grade 2 Asahi Hai St. Lite Kinen over 2,200 meters at Nakayama, Grade 2 Kobe Shimbun Hai over 2,400 meters at Hanshin, and Grade 3 Niigata Kinen over 2,000 meters, and all of these races were run in September. Despite the somewhat unpredictable nature of the race, six first favorites have been victorious in the past 10 years, with Kiseki the latest one in 2017, slogging it out in the heavy conditions last year. Toho Jackal holds the race record when he won in 2014, winning in a time of 3 minutes, 1.0 seconds. Horses trained at the Miho Training Center have not won the race for 16 years, proving the Ritto-based runners have a real stranglehold on the race.

All colts are set to carry 57kg, and the winner’s check this year amounts to ¥120 million. Final declarations for the race and the barrier draw will come out later in the week. The Kikuka Sho will be Race 11 on Sunday’s card at Kyoto, with a post time of 15:40 local time. Here’s a look at some of the runners expected to head the betting market:

Epoca d’Oro: The 3-year-old colt by Orfevre hails from the stable of leading trainer, Hideaki Fujiwara, and was this year’s Satsuki Sho (Japanese 2000 Guineas) winner and Tokyo Yushun (Japanese Derby) runner-up, and has already won in the region of ¥270 million in prize money. Assistant trainer at the stable, Nobuyuki Tashiro, recently commented on the horse: “After beginning his autumn campaign, he’s in pretty good shape, and I don’t think the 3,000 meters is a problem. He just lacked a little in his last race, but he will come on for that run.” Epoca d’Oro is coming off a fourth place finish in the Grade 2 Kobe Shimbun Hai.

Blast Onepiece: The Harbinger colt is an interesting prospect here, coming off his recent win in the Grade 3 Niigata Kinen over 2,000 meters in September, and he finished fifth in this year’s Derby, the only time he hasn’t won. Trainer Masahiro Otake will be hoping the horse can give him his first ever Grade 1 win. “There’s been some time before the Kikuka Sho, so I thought it would be a good idea to run him in the Niigata Kinen. He has a slight weakness in his right foreleg, so to give him a run left-handed at Niigata would not be hard on him. He got lazy in the race, but when the jockey urged him on, he produced a good finish to go on and win,” the trainer said.

Generale Uno: A reasonable purchase at the 2016 Hokkaido Select Sale, Generale Uno is the sort of horse to give everyone involved with him an interesting time, to say the least. The colt by Screen Hero very much likes to do his own thing, but he has won four times from seven starts, and has only been unplaced once. Trainer Eiichi Yano said, “It was a good win in the St. Lite Kinen, and for him to take up a forward position looks the way for him to race. Unfortunately in the Derby, he pulled a bit too much. He came back from a break at Northern Farm Tenei on Oct. 3 and he looks much the same as always.”

Etario: Jockey Mirco Demuro looks set to ride Etario, and the Stay Gold colt is looking for a change of luck, having finished second five times in eight starts. He was also fourth in the Derby. He surely won’t be far away again if all goes well. “In the Kobe Shimbun Hai, he just hung a little in the closing stages, but he got to run his own race, showed a good turn of foot, and I can be happy with that run before his big race. He’s recovered well from that race and things are going well with him,” trainer Yasuo Tomomichi said.

Grail: The colt by Heart’s Cry won his first two races as a 2-year-old at Kyoto, and has remained competitive throughout his 3-year-old career as well. He finished third most recently to Generale Uno in the Grade 2 Asahi Hai St. Lite Kinen. His trainer, Kenji Nonaka, is another handler looking for his first Grade 1 win. “He was coming back from injury last time, but still managed to put in a good performance and run well. He’s looked good in training since having had that run, and he’s moving well,” Nonaka said.

Meisho Tekkon: Trainer Yoshitada Takahashi produced Fine Needle to win the Sprinters Stakes recently, and it’s not beyond the bounds of possibility that another top prize awaits connections here. Meisho Tekkon is four wins from eight starts and is proving a tough nut to crack in a finish, as seen when only narrowly beaten by Wagnerian in the Grade 2 Kobe Shimbun Hai most recently. An assistant training staff at the stable commented: “He went straight to the front in his last race, and just got pipped at the post. Considering he was returning from a spell, it was a good race to lead him into his next one.”
Fierement: Man of the moment, Christophe Lemaire, looks set to ride Fierement, a colt by Deep Impact who has just had three starts but has won twice. He’s coming off a second place finish in the Grade 3 Radio Nikkei Sho over 1,800 meters at Fukushima, and while he has never gone beyond 1,800 meters, his career looks to be on the up. Trainer Takahisa Tezuka said, “He did well last time at Fukushima, which I think is a track that doesn’t suit him. He then had a break at Northern Farm Tenei and came back to the stable at the end of September. While it might have been good for him to have a trial race, his reactions are good enough, and the rotation is such that he can go directly to this race.”

Shuka Sho (G1) - Almond Eye Sweeps Three-Year-Old 15 Oct 10:40 am

Heavy favorite Almond Eye landed the last leg of the Three-Year-Old Fillies’ Triple, the Shuka Sho to become the fifth Triple Crown winner in JRA history after previously claiming both the Oka Sho (Japanese 1000 Guineas) and the Yushun Himba (Japanese Oaks) earlier in the season—previous Triple Crown fillies were Mejiro Ramonu (1986), Still in Love (2003), Apapane (2010) and Gentildonna (2012). Almond Eye was runner-up in her two-year-old career debut, won her only other start that year and kicked off her three-year-old campaign with her first grade-race victory in the Shinzan Kinen (G3) followed by her three consecutive G1 victories in the fillies’ G1 triple. Her career record stands at five wins out of six career starts. Trainer Sakae Kunieda became the winner of a Triple Crown filly for the second time after Apapane in 2010 and his JRA-G1 titles totals 14 with the Shuka Sho win. Jockey Christophe Lemaire collected his 18th JRA-G1 title—his last G1 victory was with Mozu Ascot in the Yasuda Kinen this year.

Almond Eye was restless before the start and didn’t break too sharply but her rider, Christophe Lemaire, kept his cool and patiently rated her a little further back in mid-field around tenth position. The first 1,000 meter was timed at a slower than moderate 59.6 seconds, allowing pacesetter Mikki Charm to maintain a clear lead through most of the way and still have plenty left for the stretch run while Almond Eye, unable to find herself behind a wall of horses turning for home, had to circle wide into the turn. It appeared as though Mikki Charm was a sure winner with a lead of two to three lengths from the rest of the field at the furlong pole. However, Almond Eye came flying along the outside past her foes and finally the leader in the last 50 meters, and continued to pull away to a 1-1/2-length victory.

“I was a bit worried today because Almond Eye was rather nervous and highly strung than usual, so the start wasn’t that good, then our path was blocked and we had to go wide, but from there she just showed just how exceptional she was. She’s such a fantastic filly and I have to give credit to the trainer and stable staff because it’s so difficult to maintain a horse’s condition at the top of her form throughout the season. So becoming a Triple Crown winner isn’t easy even with the best horse,” commented Christophe Lemaire.

Mikki Charm, while succumbing to Almond Eye in the closing stages, still managed to maintain her advantage over the rest of the field for second. Rose Stakes winner Cantabile was rated just off the rails, kept close behind the eventual winner and exerted her late charge as Almond Eye made her attack but unable to match the winner’s stride while just short of reaching Mikki Charm for third.

Other Horses:
4th: (5) Salacia—took economic trip in mid-division, angled out and wide into stretch, showed effort
5th: (1) Lathyros—saved ground in mid-pack, advanced to 3rd 200m out, outrun by rivals in final strides
6th: (4) Randonnee—hugged rails in 3rd or 4th, 2nd entering stretch, weakened in last 100m
7th: (16) Primo Scene—settled 3rd from rear, timed 2nd fastest over last 3 furlongs, belatedly
8th: (14) Gorgeous Lunch—traveled 3-wide in mid-group, met traffic 300m out, then accelerated
9th: (7) Lucky Lilac—raced in mid-pack, driven after 3rd corner, lacked needed kick at stretch
10th: (9) Satono Garnet—was off slow, trailed in rear, showed belated charge along rails at stretch
11th: (8) Tosen Bless—sat 2nd from rear, quickened between horses, ran gamely up to 100m pole
12th: (6) Pioneer Bio—settled towards rear, improved position along rails at stretch
13th: (18) Dancar—raced 3-wide towards rear, turned last to home, passed tired rivals at stretch
14th: (10) All for Love—traveled in mid-division, showed little at stretch
15th: (15) Harlem Line—chased leader in 3rd or 4th, faded 300m out
16th: (12) Oscar Ruby—stalked leader in 2nd early, faded after entering to stretch
17th: (17) Sayakachan—sat 3-wide in 5th early, outrun after 3rd corner
scratched: (3) Scarlet Color—lameness in the left hind leg

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Shuka Sho (G1) - Preview09 Oct 5:19 pm

Top-level action continues this Sunday at Kyoto Racecourse with the 3-year-old classics back following the summer hiatus. It’s ladies first with the final leg of the filly triple crown – the 2,000-meter Shuka Sho, completing the trio that starts in the spring with the 1,600-meter Oka Sho (Japanese 1000 Guineas) and the 2,400-meter Yushun Himba (Japanese Oaks). Twenty-two of Japan’s best fillies have been nominated for the Shuka Sho and 18 of them will go to the gate.

It’s expected to be a heated battle with the spotlight on archrivals Almond Eye and Lucky Lilac, neither of whom have raced since the Oaks on May 20. Almond Eye, now on a four-race winning streak, became the first filly in 7 years to scoop the first two legs of the triple crown and is seeking to become the fifth filly to win all three. Though 2-year-old champion Lucky Lilac failed to make the winner’s circle in either classic, she, like Almond Eye, has yet to finish out of the top three spots.

Challenging them are 16 others, including eight daughters of Triple Crown champion Deep Impact, whose progeny have won the Shuka Sho four times in the past. Also gaining a share of the attention will be the Grade 2 Rose Stakes top two Cantabile and Salacia, as well as Randonnee and Pioneer Bio, who fared well in the Sept. 8 Grade 3 Shion Stakes.

All fillies in the Shuka Sho carry 55kg and the winner earns 100 million yen. The Shuka Sho is the 11th race on the Sunday card at Kyoto. Post time is 15:40 local time. The expected top choices are:

Almond Eye: With only two races to her name, Almond Eye started this year with a win of the Grade 3 Shinzan Kinen over the mile, and three months later topped the field of the Oka Sho in record time, finishing 1 3/4 lengths ahead of runner-up Lucky Lilac. Some six weeks later in the Oaks, Almond Eye was fast out of the gate for the first time, traveled in sixth position and topped the 17-strong field in the second-fastest time in the race’s 79-year history. She beat Lily Noble to the line by two lengths, with Lucky Lilac another 1 3/4 lengths later in third. Though the long interval between races this time raises some concern, Almond Eye’s performances to date indicate she doesn’t need a prep to flaunt her stuff. She has experience at Kyoto in the Shinzan Kinen (albeit not over the inner course), has weathered the long haul to the track well before, and should do fine if she gets to run her race. The Lord Kanaloa-sired Almond Eye hails from the Miho stable of Sakae Kunieda, who hopes to halt the 6-year winning streak here by Ritto-based trainers with his classy lass. “She returned to the training center a month ago,” said the 63-year-old Kunieda, “and the plan from the start was to go to the Shuka Sho without a prep. Even with the change to the right-handed track at Kyoto, if she runs a race like she did last out, there should be no problem.” Christophe Lemaire, currently leading Japan’s jockeys by 33 wins and who has ridden all Almond Eye’s races but the Shinzan Kinen, is expected to be in the saddle. If Almond Eye wins, she’ll become the first to take home the filly triple crown since Gentildonna in 2012, the fourth since the filly triple crown was officially instated with the inauguration of the Shuka Sho in 1996.

Lucky Lilac: The Orfevre-sired Lucky Lilac aced her debut at Niigata and jumped to a win of the Grade 3 Artemis Stakes at Tokyo before scooping the top-level Hanshin Juvenile Fillies and the JRA Award for Best 2-Year-Old Filly last year. Three months later in her first start of the year, she continued her streak with a win of the Grade 2 Tulip Sho, then suffered her first loss with a second in the Oka Sho. The Oaks, her first start over anything but a mile, saw her finish 0.6 seconds behind Almond Eye. Unlike Almond Eye, Lucky Lilac was slated for a prep but sidelined due to swelling in her right hind leg caused apparently from an injury while spelling. She returned to Ritto looking heavy and her condition on race day will be key. “Luckily, there were no signs of any damage after she returned to the training center,” trainer Mikio Matsunaga said. “She is usually well on her game on race day and I don’t think she’ll be any less so because of the time off. She has matured, she’s a good starter and with her ability to race from a forward position, I think the inner course over 2,000 meters will suit her.” Matsunaga, a former JRA jockey, won six JRA Grade 1 races during his riding career, five of which came from all-female races. He has won the Shuka Sho once (in 2009 with Red Desire) since opening his stable in 2007.

Cantabile: This daughter of Deep Impact aced the 1,800-meter Grade 3 Flower Cup before taking on the Oaks, where she finished in 13th place. Back at 9 furlongs last out in the Grade 2 Rose Stakes, Cantabile returned from a 4-month layoff to win by over a length under Lemaire. The Rose Stakes is known as a reliable indicator of success in the Shuka Sho. Runners who made the top three spots in the Rose Stakes have won the Shuka Sho six times in the past decade and finished second eight times. However, following a summer layoff, a weight gain going in to the Rose Stakes is usually desirable for those heading to the Shuka Sho. Cantabile, however, went to the Rose Stakes with a 4-kg loss from her Oaks weight, so it will be wise to note on Sunday whether her weight has stabilized. Unlike the spring classic, the Ritto-based Cantabile has the home advantage with a win and a second at Kyoto. Yutaka Take, who has three wins of the Shuka Sho, has the reins and is paired with Cantabile for the first time.

Salacia: Another Deep Impact filly, Salacia is taking on her first Grade 1 competition. She has yet to win at the graded-stakes level, but has one second and two fourths in Grade 2 events. Salacia has matured considerably since the spring and has put on a good 20kg since then. Last out, she finished second in the Rose Stakes, 1 1/4 lengths behind Cantabile. She is on the up and up and should prove competitive with the more established fillies. “Unlike the spring, she hasn’t dropped any weight and is looking good. She is better out of the gate than she had been, but this being the inner course at Kyoto, I would like her to get a good position. If she can do that, I think she has a chance,” trainer Manabu Ikezoe said.

Primo Scene: Primo Scene is a Miho-based Deep Impact filly that has, in her six prior starts, been raced only at the mile. The Shuka Sho will be 2 furlongs longer than anything she’s seen before but with her far-off-the-pace racing style, it should suit. Primo Scene has two Grade 3 wins, including her Aug. 12 run in the Sekiya Kinen at Niigata last out. She has taken on two top-level races this year, the Oka Sho, in which she finished 10th, and the NHK Mile, where she placed fifth. The latter race saw her compete against colts, but the Sekiya Kinen pitted her against older horses as well, though she did carry only 51kg, 4kg less than she’ll carry here. She will be racing at Kyoto for the first time and has the trip west to weather, a trip she did not take well to the first time (for the Oka Sho), when she was tense and agitated in the pre-parade ring.
Other horses worth a mention are the Ritto-based Randonnee, a U.S.-bred excitable filly by Blame, who has figured in the top three spots four times in her six starts thus far, racing primarily in the 1,800-2,000-meter range. Randonnee finished third last out in the Grade 3 Shion Stakes at Nakayama on Sept. 8. This will be her first time at Kyoto. Mikki Charm is a front-running late bloomer by Deep Impact who is jumping up to the graded level for her first time. On a three-way winning streak, she will be paired with Sprinters Stakes winning jockey Yuga Kawada.

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Take reaches 4,000th JRA victory02 Oct 10:40 am

Yutaka Take, JRA’s iconic figure for over three decades and the winner of multiple Group 1s around the world, set another record on Saturday at Hanshin Racecourse, winning his 4,000th career JRA race. In his 31st year as a jockey, Take became the first JRA rider ever to reach the 4,000 win plateau.

Heading into last weekend, Take was three wins away from the big record and won Races 3 and 5 on Saturday’s card at Hanshin, before reaching the mark aboard fourth-favorite Meisho Kazuhime in Race 10, a 1,200 meter turf race.

“I am relieved at reaching the (4,000 win) mark today,” Take said during a ceremony held immediately after Race 10 at Hanshin. “I wasn’t especially focused on the record, but this is all thanks to the people and horses that I was fortunate enough to be with and I am greatly happy to have come this far in my career. It’s also an honor that I was able to accomplish this feat at Hanshin Racecourse, where I made my debut. Also, I am especially grateful that this win came with the horse of an owner (Mr. Yoshio Matsumoto) who has been looking after me from my father’s days (as ex-jockey & trainer).

“(The 4,000 win mark) is a result of embracing and giving it my best in each ride and victory, but this is not the end – I know there is much more I can do to become a better jockey.”

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Race Favorite Fine Needle Proves Himself Best Spri01 Oct 12:44 pm

Takamatsunomiya Kinen champion Fine Needle captured this year’s Sprinters Stakes to become the fifth horse in history to claim both JRA-G1 sprint races in the same year—the first since Lord Kanaloa in 2013. The Admire Moon horse was 12th in last year’s Sprinters Stakes after claiming the Centaur Stakes but demonstrated a very prosperous five-year-old campaign with four wins out of five starts—he was fourth in the Chairman’s Sprint Prize in Hong Kong in his first overseas endeavor. This is the first G1 win since the Takamatsunomiya Kinen for both trainer Yoshitada Takahashi and jockey Yuga Kawada, second overall for Takahashi and 12th for Kawada.

With a huge typhoon closing in, the race broke in the rain on a track condition rated good. Once in a Moon gunned for the lead and set the pace. Fine Needle broke from a middle stall and was settled in mid-field and three-wide. Shifting farther out in the last turn to avoid traffic, the five-year-old bay unleashed his trademark turn of foot all the way to the wire while picking off his rivals one by one and finally catching Love Kampf in the final strides to win by a neck.

Sent off 11th favorite, Love Kampf broke sharply and chased the pace in second. Hitting the straight still in second and two-wide, the three-year-old filly took over the lead from the pacesetter while shaking off second favorite Nac Venus 100 meters out and dug in gamely but was pinned by the winner at the wire.

Favored 13th, Rhein Spirit saved ground in third to fourth, struggled for room behind the battling front runners in the stretch, but broke through chasing Love Kampf in the final 50 meters, stretching his neck in front of Daimei Princess to grab third.

Lucky Bubbles broke smoothly under Brett Prebble and was tracking the eventual winner in mid-division and three wide but suddenly broke away from the field approaching the final turn and pulled up with a ruptured suspensory ligament in his left foreleg.

“We were going smoothly and following the winner and felt I was going to have every conceivable chance then I heard something pop which wasn’t a nice thing to hear,” commented Brett Prebble.

Other Horses:
4th: (6) Daimei Princess—saved ground in mid-field, found opening in mid-stretch, dug in strongly last 100m
5th: (10) Let’s Go Donki—moderate break, sat 4th from last, closed in well with fastest stretch drive
6th: (3) Once in a Moon—led by more than 2 lengths early, still led entering stretch, caught with less than 200 meter to go
7th: (12) Nac Venus—chased leaders in 3rd position, tired from early efforts and outrun in the lasts 150 meters
8th: (7) Campbell Junior—rated off pace in mid-pack, advanced approaching turn but wide, no threat
9th: (2) Hiruno Devaro—saved ground in mid-pack, unable to quicken at the stretch
10th: (16) Red Falx—little to show while racing wide throughout
11th: (13) Teehaff—needed urging from the start, raced along the rails but failed to reach contention
12th: (11) Seiun Kosei—sat in 5th, sustained bid, weakened in last 100m
13th: (15) Moonquake—trailed in rear, turned wide, unable to reach contention
14th: (5) Ares Barows—traveled in mid-group, never fired at stretch
15th: (4) Snow Dragon—hugged rails in mid-division, dropped back at stretch

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Last week Results

  • Highest Payout
  • Return Rate
Rank Tipster Race Payoff
1 Y.Satoh Y.Satoh
13 Oct Niigata10R
92,870 185,740
2 Mandegan Mandegan
14 Oct Kyoto2R
14,380 172,740
3 Kiiro Kiiro
14 Oct Tokyo2R
1,420 165,800
4 Mutsuki Mutsuki
14 Oct Niigata12R
1,620 162,000
5 Ace No.1 Ace No.1
13 Oct Niigata12R
25,090 133,000

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Rank Tipster No.of
1 Kenichi Okuno Kenichi Okuno
37R 176% 32% 100,460 19,288
2 kyosukejrdb kyosukejrdb
25R 169% 48% 68,650 13,979
3 Umashigura Umashigura
12R 156% 25% 21,790 20,230
4 Okabe Okabe
21R 131% 9% 21,300 44,400
5 Shimoon Shimoon
72R 131% 11% 73,040 38,505
6 Mutsuki Mutsuki
62R 128% 25% 173,510 49,400
7 K.Nishino K.Nishino
40R 127% 25% 46,190 21,559
8 mayuka mayuka
64R 125% 57% 8,350 1,128
9 MacaroniStandards MacaroniStandards
53R 117% 30% 38,430 16,276
10 Joie Joie
45R 111% 51% 38,740 16,306
11 PrincessTrio PrincessTrio
63R 110% 33% 11,950 6,035
12 Kiiro Kiiro
72R 107% 41% 53,900 25,563
13 Creek Creek
20R 102% 70% 1,480 4,655

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 Tournament Info:Tournament 147 is currently being held!(6 Oct - 28 Oct)

Tournament 147 Latest result

Rank Tipster Level
Deviation Return
song song song song
88.3 1678%
Zenza Zenza
86.0 1208%
39b1789528 39b1789528
80.1 370%
Bear of Naniwa Bear of Naniwa
79.9 294%
79.9 282%

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Does it cost anything to use Umanity?

No, registering with and using Umanity is free. Once you become a member (free), you can participate in the Tip Coliseum, and use functions that are helpful in making tips, such as the U-index (Umanity's proprietary speed index) on high-stakes races, U-Favorites (tip odds ), which show what's popular among Umanity users, register horses to watch, betting ticket purchasing tools, etc.--not to mention enjoying horseracing community functions, such as diaries, messaging and circles--all the basics for free.

What do I have to do to register as a member?

Registering is simple--all it takes is an email address.
Once you register your email address, follow the instructions and you'll be registered as a member in 1 to 2 minutes flat! You can also register as a member via an account, such as your Yahoo! JAPAN ID.

Do I have to register to use the site?

No, some functions (such as news) can be used without registering.
However, most of the functions require becoming a member (free) and then you can use them for free, so we recommend becoming a member.
[Free Functions Available to Umanity Members]
-Participate in the Tip Coliseum (registering tips, rankings and auto tallying of results)
-U-index of high-stakes races (Umanity's proprietary racehorse performance index with some 10,000 regular users)
-U-Favorites (tip odds), which show what's popular among Umanity users
-Plus, functions useful for making tips, such as registering horses to watch and betting ticket purchase support
-Community functions like diaries, messaging and circles

Can I see racing tips for free?

There are both free tips and those you pay for.
You have to pay for the racing tips of professional tipsters.
Doing so requires the Umanity virtual currency, Gold (G).
Gold can be purchased with credit card.
Although you can view the racing tips of non-professional tipsters for "free," in some cases you need to use Umanity points, which you can get for free by being active on the site, such as by logging in, posting tips in the Tip Coliseum, etc.

What is the U-index?

It is an index developed exclusively by Umanity to indicate the performance of a racehorse.
The value is based on the time over the distance of each horse to date, and estimates whether and how well they will perform in this race; as such, the higher the index, the better the race performance is expected to be.
The U-index is provided to Umanity members free for high-stakes races. To use it on all races, you have to become a member of the Umanity VIP Club, which is a paid service.

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