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Second favorite Schnell Meister landed his first career G1 title, just 0.2 seconds short of the race record, in this year’s NHK Mile Cup, becoming the first foreign-bred colt to win the title since Kurofune (USA) in 2001 and seventh overall and while Lando was officially the first German-bred to claim a JRA-G1 title in the 1995 Japan Cup, the Kingman colt is the first German-bred trained in Japan to accomplish the feat. Schnell Meister won his first two career starts last year; his debut over 1,500 meters at Sapporo in September and the Hiiragi Sho (Nakayama, 1,600m) in December. He finished second to subsequent Satsuki Sho (Japanese 2000 Guineas, G1, 2,000m) runner-up, Titleholder in the Yayoi Sho (Deep Impact Kinen, G2, 2,000m) earning his berth in the first leg of the Triple Crown, but passed up the Satsuki Sho to focus on the NHK Mile Cup. For trainer Takahisa Tezuka, it was his seventh JRA-G1 title—the last being the Tenno Sho (Spring) last year with Fierement. It was the second NHK Mile Cup title for jockey Christophe Lemaire after his victory in 2016 with Major Emblem. The victory marked his 37th career JRA-G1 title and his second this year after the February Stakes with Cafe Pharoah.

Schnell Meister was unhurried after a smooth break and settled in mid-division behind a rapid pace set by Pixie Knight who spurted out from the outer-most gate. Keeping eye on the race favorite, Christophe Lemaire followed Songline into the stretch and while needing much encouragement, the Kingman colt found another gear in the critical stages to pin Songline who weakened slightly nearing the finish for a nose victory.

“He jumped out of the gate well but I didn’t want to pressure him too much in the early stages but while sitting in mid-field, we still had to put in some effort to keep with the rapid pace. He took some time to get into gear but eventually got into a good rhythm and responded strongly in the critical stages. We were able to follow Songline into the homestretch for the attack and had just that little more when Songline started to lean near the finish. There is still a lot of greenness in Schnell Meister and has a lot of room for improvement but once he’s established himself physically, he should be able to handle the best at G1 level,” commented Christophe Lemaire.

Songline raced just behind Grenadier Guards in eighth position, stalked that foe into the straight, took command at the furlong pole and was immediately challenged by the fast-closing Schnell Meister who just managed to reach the Kizuna filly at the wire and win by a nose.

Race favorite Grenadier Guards, broke sharply and chased the leaders off the rails in sixth position. Keen to go behind a rapid pace, the Frankel colt made early headway along the outside, nearly reaching the leader while having to circle wide into the homestretch, but struggled to find another gear when pressured from behind by Songline who overtook him at the furlong pole, then Schnell Meister with 100 meters to go. The 2020 Asahi Hai Futurity Stakes champion did well however to stay well for third place to complete a 1-2-3 finish for Sunday Racing.
Other Horses:
4th: (5) Rickenbacker—ran in 15th, quickened between horses, timed fastest over last 600m but belatedly
5th: (16) Lord Max—traveled in 12th, circled wide, sustained bid but lacked needed speed
6th: (7) Time to Heaven—sat around 6th, showed response passing 200m pole, weakened in final strides
7th: (2) Another Lyric—settled inside winner, switched to outside at early stretch, passed tired rivals
8th: (12) Land of Liberty—saved ground in 5th, showed tenacious effort, weakened in last 100m
9th: (13) Ho O Amazon—chased leader in 2nd, sustained to reach contention until 200m pole
10th: (3) Rooks Nest—sat around 6th, showed effort until 200m pole, weakened thereafter
11th: (11) Veil Nebula—raced in 14th, angled out for stretch run, never threatened
12th: (18) Pixie Knight—set pace from widest draw, showed tenacity but outrun in last 200m
13th: (14) Shock Action—ran 3-wide in 11th behind winner, failed to respond and even paced
14th: (6) City Rainbow—traveled 2nd from rear, never fired and unable to reach contention
15th: (1) Raymond Barows—was off slow, trailed in far rear, no factor
16th: (9) Gold Chalice—took economic trip in 13th, showed little at stretch
17th: (17) Gray in Green—tracked leaders around 3rd from wide draw, outrun in last 400m
Fail to Finish: (4) Bathrat Leon—stumbled soon after break and unseated rider

NHK Mile Cup (G1) - Preview04 May 2:30 pm

This Sunday, May 9, Tokyo Racecourse hosts the 26th running of the NHK Mile Cup, a Grade 1 turf. 25 3-year-olds, among them three fillies, have been nominated for the full-gate of 18. With 18 having already secured their berths through trials or earnings, a withdrawal will be the only chance the remaining seven nominees have at landing a spot.

In its early years, the race was known as a foreign-bred stronghold, and American-bred horses dominated the winner’s circle for 6 years. In 2002, Japan-bred Telegnosis turned the tables and locally bred horses have won ever since. This year three foreign-breds in the lineup - two by Kingman, the English-bred Elizabeth Tower, and German-bred Schnell Meister, and the Gleneagles-sired Shock Action, born in Ireland - will attempt to become the first foreign-bred in 20 years to win the NHK Mile Cup.

Important prep races for the NHK Mile Cup include the Grade 3 Chunichi Sports Sho Falcon Stakes, a 1,400-meter race held at Chukyo this year on March 20, and, on the following day, the Fuji TV Sho Spring Stakes, a Grade 2 over 1,800 meters at Nakayama. The New Zealand Trophy, a Grade 2 over 1,600 meters at Nakayama (this year on April 10) was traditionally considered an important springboard to the NHK Mile Cup, but in recent years a good performance in the Grade 3 Arlington Cup, run this year on April 17 over the Hanshin 1,600 meters, has been seen a good predictor of success in the NHK Mile Cup. NHK winners in recent years have also come directly from the top five finishers in the Satsuki Sho (Japanese 2000 Guineas) and the Oka Sho (Japanese 1000 Guineas).

The Tokyo mile starts in the backstretch of the course, where races are run to the left. Horses run more than 500 meters before the first turn. After straightening into the homestretch, it’s another long ways (525 meters) to the finish line, with an upward slope starting shortly into the stretch and continuing for about 200 meters.

Colts carry 57 kg, fillies 2 kg less. The NHK Mile Cup is Race No. 11 on the Tokyo Sunday card of 12. Post time is 3:40 p.m.

Danon Chantilly still holds the race record of 1 minute 31.4 seconds set in 2010. The current course record of 1 minute 30.5 seconds was set by Normcore in 2019 in the Victoria Mile.

Here is a look at the expected top choices.

Grenadier Guards: Top earner of the field and son of superhorse Frankel, Grenadier Guards collected big money four races into his career by acing the 2-year-old pinnacle Asahi Hai Futurity Stakes. And, he tied the 2-year-old record doing so, with a time of 1 minute 32.3 seconds. He topped Stella Veloce, who went on to finish third in the Satsuki Sho, by 3/4 length. Three months later on March 20, Grenadier Guards followed his Hanshin victory mile up with a solid show of tenacity in the Grade 3 Falcon Stakes. The bay colt followed the front-running Rooks Nest (carrying 1 kg less) over the line in second by a head. This will be the first time for Grenadier Guards to take on Tokyo. Jockey Yuga Kawada, who has ridden all the colt’s races thus far, is set to ride Sunday.

Rooks Nest: A versatile colt who can run successfully from any position, Rooks Nest is one of two first-crop progeny by champion miler Maurice in the NHK Mile Cup lineup (Pixie Knight is the other). After a second in the Grade 3 Nikkan Sports Sho Shinzan Kinen (Chukyo, 1,600 meters) that saw him top Bathrat Leon, Rooks Nest took on the Falcon Stakes. Weighing in at 510 kg, he broke beautifully, was sent to the front for the first time and held his ground all the way. This will be the colt’s first time at Tokyo and his first time to haul east from his Ritto base, but he is 2-2-1 over left-handed Chukyo.

Schnell Meister: Schnell Meister, a son of the European four-time G1 miler Kingman, won his debut over the Sapporo 1,500 meters, then aced his second start over the Nakayama mile. Last out, he finished second one and a quarter length behind Titleholder in the Grade 2 Hochi Hai Yayoi Sho Deep Impact Kinen, which earned him a ticket to the Satsuki Sho. But, considering the leisurely pace of the Yayoi Sho and his bloodline, it was decided to sit the Satsuki Sho out and come here instead. Jockey Christophe Lemaire is expected to have the ride.

Bathrat Leon - One of the more experienced horses in the lineup is the Kizuna-sired Bathrat Leon, with three wins and, in graded stakes races, two thirds from a total seven starts thus far. He also finished fourth in the Grade 1 Asahi Hai Futurity Stakes. His last four outings, three of them this year, have all been over the mile and he posted a fine 4-3-1-1. His most recent test saw him romp to a win of the Grade 2 New Zealand Trophy at Nakayama. It was a wire-to-wire victory that blew away the competition with five lengths between him and runnerup Time to Heaven, and another length and a half to City Rainbow in third. Bathrat Leon is one of two horses (the other is Ho O Amazon) in the NHK Mile Cup hailing from the stable of Ritto-based Yoshito Yahagi, who just scored his first win in Hong Kong with Loves Only You. This will be Bathrat Leon’s first time at Tokyo, though his trips to Sapporo indicate shipping from Ritto shouldn’t be a problem. Jockey Yusuke Fujioka, who rode the colt’s debut and G2 win, is pegged for the ride.

Ho O Amazon - In all but one of his six starts, Ho O Amazon has either won or finished second. Second in the Grade 2 Daily Hai Nisai Stakes last November and coming off a win of the Grade 3 Arlington Cup, both races over 1,600 meters. Ho O Amazon’s ninth in the Asahi Hai Futurity Stakes in between could be thrown out due to lameness. Ho O Amazon’s got mile blood on both sides. His sire King Kamehameha, though known more for his wins over distances 2,000 meters and up, won the NHK Mile Cup in 2004. And, dam Hikaru Amaranthus won the Grade 3 Kyoto Himba Stakes in 2010 and later that year ran second by a neck to Buena Vista in the Grade 1 Victoria Mile. Jockey Yutaka Take returned to racing last weekend after an injury suffered in the gate March 20. He’s already picked up two wins and is expected to be paired with Ho O Amazon for the first time. Take has three wins of the NHK Mile Cup and looks to take the lead for most wins if he can reach the winner’s circle Sunday.

Others to watch are:

Pixie Knight won the Grade 3 Shinzan Kinen over the Chukyo mile and has only missed the top three spots once in his four-race career, when he ran fourth 0.4 seconds off the winner over heavy ground in the Arlington Cup last out. A missed break and a bad trip saw Songline unable to give it her best in the Oka Sho. She’s back to avenge her otherwise stellar record of two wins and a second. Another Lyric topped the field in the all-female Listed Anemone Stakes, but passed on the Oka Sho to compete here against the boys for the first time in her three-start career, from which she has posted 1-2-1, all over the mile. The Lord Kanaloa-sired Rickenbacker, with all but one start from seven on the board, was second to Rooks Nest in the Arlington Cup.

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World Premiere Storms to Victory in Tenno Sho (Spr03 May 4:25 pm

Third favorite World Premiere displayed a strong stayer performance beating the race favorite near the wire to claim this year’s Tenno Sho (Spring) behind closed doors once again, void of the fans at Hanshin Racecourse. It is the second G1 victory for the 2019 Kikuka Sho (Japanese St. Leger) winner who has overcome a setback after finishing third in the 2019 Arima Kinen (G1, 2,500m). Sidelined for nearly a year, the Deep Impact colt made his comeback in the Japan Cup (G1, 2,400m) last autumn with a promising sixth, followed by a fifth in the Arima Kinen a month later and has just come off a third in the Nikkei Sho (G2, 2,500m) on March 27. This is trainer Yasuo Tomomichi’s 13th overall JRA-G1 victory and first since winning the Kikuka Sho with the horse in 2019. He also celebrates his second Tenno Sho (Spring) title after winning it with Admire Jupiter in 2008. Jockey Yuichi Fukunaga, the successful rider of last year’s Triple Crown victor Contrail, pocketed his 29th JRA-G1 win today and first Tenno Sho (Spring) trophy emulating his father and former jockey Yoichi Fukunaga who won the race in 1976.

Breaking from the innermost stall, World Premiere was unhurried on the rails in seventh, a couple of lengths behind second favorite Aristoteles who sat another couple of lengths behind the front group led by Diastima. As the field made their moves after the third corner, the son of Deep Impact chased Aristoteles into the lane, picked him off from the outside before the furlong marker and closed in strongly on the front runners with a tenacious stretch run. While Diastima weakened on the rails, World Premiere finally pinned and stole the lead from Deep Bond and Curren Bouquetd’or 100 meters out, clearing the wire 3/4 length in front of Deep Bond for the win.

“We had a weak start but recovered well since with the advantage from breaking from stall #1, and kept our eyes on the favorites from behind throughout. I shifted him outside a little earlier than planned to secure a good striking position. He responded incredibly with a good turn of foot. It’s a great honor to have won such a prestigious race like this,” commented Yuichi Fukunaga.

Race favorite Deep Bond broke sharply from a wide stall and was settled in fourth to fifth and three-wide in the back of the leading group. Maintaining his good striking position, the Kizuna colt entered the lane in third and chased the two in front persistently but was caught by World Premiere in the last half-furlong before overhauling the tiring Diastima and then Curren Bouquetd’or in the final strides for second.
Five-year-old mare Curren Bouquetd’or saved ground on the rails in third up to the third corner of her first long-distance challenge and kicked into gear taking over the lead from Diastima before hitting the top of the straight. While trying hard to shake off the stubborn Diastima, the fourth favorite ran out of steam and gave in to the fast-closing World Premiere and Deep Bond to finish a two-length third.

Other Horses:
4th: (2) Aristoteles—traveled in 6th eyeing Deep Bond, showed effort but neck short for 3rd place
5th: (14) Win Marilyn—sat 3-wide around 7th near winner, sustained bid but lacked needed speed
6th: (5) Diastima—set pace, showed tenacity along rails, weakened in last 100m
7th: (7) You Can Smile—settled in 15th, gradually made headway, failed to respond at stretch
8th: (6) Makahiki—raced around 11th, driven and advanced, even paced at stretch
9th: (13) Namura Donovan—ran 3-wide in 14th, improved position but never threatened
10th: (17) Authority—sat 3-wide around 11th, switched to outside at early stretch, lacked needed kick
11th: (16) Melody Lane—saved ground in 13th, circled wide, passed tired rivals
12th: (10) Ghost—settled around 10th behind winner, unable to keep up with contention
13th: (15) Ocea Great—was off slow, trailed in rear, made headway at backstretch, showed little at stretch
14th: (11) Meisho Tengen—took economic trip around 9th, dropped back rounding last corners
15th: (8) Divine Force—positioned near rear, no factor
16th: (4) Shironii—raced around 4th inside Deep Bond, outrun after turning last corners
17th: (9) Jako Maru—pressed pace in 2nd, faded after 3rd corner

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Tenno Sho (Spring) (G1) - Preview27 Apr 7:08 pm

After a brief pause in the Grade 1 action last weekend in Japan, it’s all systems go again this coming Sunday (May 2), when the Tenno Sho (Spring) or Emperor’s Cup, as it is known in English, will be run at Hanshin Racecourse. The race is back at where it was first run in 1938, after which it was later switched to Kyoto, which has been the traditional home for the spring race. However, with the extensive renovation of the enclosures and paddock area now well under way at Kyoto, the race this year finds its way back to Hanshin.

It will be the 82nd running of the Grade 1 Tenno Sho (Spring), and the 163rd overall, when including the autumn race of the same name, which is run over a shorter distance at Tokyo towards the end of the year. There have been 17 nominations for this year’s Tenno Sho (Spring), including three fillies or mares, and it’s been 68 years since a filly or mare last won the race. For 4-year-olds and up, the race will be run on the turf track at Hanshin over 3,200 meters, the longest JRA Grade 1 flat race of the year. 58kg is the weight allotted to all runners, with a 2kg allowance given to fillies and mares.

A couple of lead up races to the Grade 1 Tenno Sho (Spring) have been the Grade 2 Hanshin Daishoten run over 3,000 meters in March, and the Grade 2 Nikkei Sho, run over 2,500 meters at Nakayama, also in March. Record time for the race is held by Kitasan Black, who won in a time of 3 minutes 12.5 seconds in 2017. Nine out of the last ten Tenno Sho (Spring) races have been run on good to firm ground, and in that same 10-year period, first favorites have won just three times. 5-year-olds have been the dominant force in the past decade, winning the race five times. This year’s winner’s check is JPY150 million (approximately USD 1.4 million).

The Grade 1 Tenno Sho (Spring) will be Race 11 on the Sunday card at Hanshin, with a post time locally of 15:40. The final line-up, together with the barrier draw, will be announced later in the week.

Here’s a look at some of the contenders expected to take on the race:

Deep Bond: The 4-year-old colt by Kizuna has sometimes left his followers disappointed, but the way he won last time in the Grade 2 Hanshin Daishoten over 3,000 meters in March has propelled him to one of the most likely favorites for the Tenno Sho (Spring). His five length win also impressed his trainer, Ryuji Okubo. “He’s always been a big striding horse, but in some of his previous races he’s looked a bit slow. Now though, he’s looking a lot faster and lighter, and even in the ground last time, he was impressive,” said the trainer. Jockey Ryuji Wada has ridden Deep Bond in ten of his eleven races, and the rider will be looking for his ninth JRA Grade 1 win, having been out of luck since 2018, when he last won a Grade 1 with Mikki Rocket in the Takarazuka Kinen.

Aristoteles: A heavy favorite last time out, Aristoteles could only finish seventh to Deep Bond in the Grade 2 Hanshin Daishoten in March, but with him almost beating Contrail in last year’s Grade 1 Kikuka Sho (Japanese St. Leger), reproducing that sort of form would put him in with a great chance here. Connections aren’t too worried about his loss in his last race. Assistant trainer Kenichi Shono said, “He raced a little unkindly last time, and what with the ground, he didn’t see things out until the end. He’s had a break at the farm and everything’s been good on his return to the stable. In recent work, he seems his usual self.” Jockey Christophe Lemaire has won the Tenno Sho (Spring) for the last two years, so he would be confident of getting another big run out of Aristoteles.

World Premiere: The lightly raced 5-year-old has only had 10 career starts, but has only been unplaced twice, and is already a Grade 1 winner, having won the Kikuka Sho (Japanese St. Leger) in 2019. With only four races since that big win, he’s coming off a third place finish to Win Marilyn in the Grade 2 Nikkei Sho over 2,500 meters at Nakayama in March. He’s trained by Yasuo Tomomichi, and the trainer said recently: “He probably wasn’t quite at his best last time, but he ran on well at the end to take third, and considering he was giving weight to the first and second, I thought it was a 100% effort.” World Premiere will be ridden by Yuichi Fukunaga for the first time.

Curren Bouquetd’or: One of the unluckiest horses around, the 5-year-old mare by Deep Impact has finished second seven times in her fourteen career starts, and has yet to win a graded race, which is quite unbelievable. Along with her other close calls, she finished fourth in last year’s Grade 1 Japan Cup. “Coming off a break last time, she didn’t run badly in the Nikkei Sho, but she got covered up in the race, and the winner really did it cleverly. She closed well at the finish, but it was a pity she couldn’t win. She’s been at the stable since and her hooves are now fine, so she’s been working well,” commented trainer Sakae Kunieda. In a bid to rewrite the history books, it would surely be something if this was to be Curren Bouquetd’or’s biggest day.

Win Marilyn: Since her second place finish in last year’s Grade 1 Yushun Himba (Japanese Oaks), the now 4-year-old filly was unplaced in three races after that, but is coming off an eye-catching win in the Grade 2 Nikkei Sho in March. Trainer Takahisa Tezuka trained Fierement to win the last two Tenno Sho (Spring) races, so he’s in a good position to know just what it takes to win the race. “She was in good condition for her last race, and the jockey did well to get the best out of her from the draw she had. She’s been at the stable since, and I think she’s something close to the condition that she was in this time last year,” stated the trainer.

You Can Smile: One of this year’s leading trainers, Yasuo Tomomichi fields another runner here with the 6-year-old You Can Smile. The horse finished fifth in the Tenno Sho (Spring) in 2019 and fourth in the same race in 2020, proving that he has the ability to go close on the day. He’s coming off a second place finish to Deep Bond last time, and the trainer feels he’s starting to find form once again. “His results last autumn were not so good, but after having some time off after last year’s Arima Kinen (The Grand Prix), he’s starting to improve again, and with the condition he’s in, coming off his run in the Hanshin Daishoten leads him nicely into this race,” commented the trainer. Jockey Yusuke Fujioka is booked for the ride once again.

Authority: The 4-year-old colt by Orfevre has just had the eight starts, but has notched four wins, and proved he’s able to see out a long distance with his second place finish last time in the Grade 3 Diamond Stakes over 3,400 meters at Tokyo in February. He has a couple of things to overcome, in that it will be his first time at Hanshin, and he has been unplaced in his two Grade 1 races to date, but the stable has no doubt in his ability. Assistant trainer Yu Ota said, “The jockey did a good job last time in the Diamond Stakes, when finding a good rhythm with the horse, and proving that he doesn’t necessarily have to lead. I think the way that race worked out proved that the horse is very capable.”

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Loves Only You captures Hong Kong's Queen Elizabet26 Apr 5:30 pm

Sunday, April 25 was a historical and spectacular day for Japan racing, with four of its horses sweeping the top spots of the Queen Elizabeth II Cup in Hong Kong.

The 2019 Yushun Himba (Japanese Oaks) champion Loves Only You came off a third-place finish less than a month ago in the Grade 1 Dubai Sheema Classic at Meydan to conquer Sha Tin and give Japan its sixth win of the 2,000-meter turf event.

History, however, was made, as three other horses from Japan in the seven-strong field - the 2019 Hong Kong Vase winner Glory Vase, the 2020 fillies’ triple crown winner Daring Tact, and the 2017 Kikuka Sho (Japanese St. Leger) winner Kiseki - followed Loves Only You over the finish line in that order.

The Queen Elizabeth II Cup was the third of three international Grade 1 turf events run on Champions Day - the 1,200-meter Chairman’s Sprint Prize, the Champions Mile and the 2,000-meter Queen Elizabeth II Cup.

The day had started with disappointment when Japan’s star, the 2020 Hong Kong Sprint winner and race favorite Danon Smash failed to fire in the first-up Chairman’s Sprint Prize. No Japanese horses participated in the Champions Mile, but the Queen Elizabeth II Cup represented Japan’s biggest showing to date, not only in numbers but in results, since Japanese horsemen first sent horses to the race in 1995 with Fujiyama Kenzan as their sole representative.

Victory in the Queen Elizabeth II Cup was not a Japan-only effort, however. Guiding Loves Only You home was Hong Kong’s own Vincent Ho, who just minutes before had landed his second Chairman’s Mile in as many years aboard local superstar Golden Sixty.

Ho was riding for Yahagi for the first time and it had proved a winning combination.

“This is unbelievable,” a breathless Ho said as he was interviewed riding back after the race. “Really, thank you to the trainer, the owner and all the connections that asked me to ride her. I knew her form from Dubai would be very competitive here and the race went very smoothly. The control was perfect and she tried her heart out today,” the 30-year-old Ho said.

For trainer Yoshito Yahagi, it was his first win in Hong Kong and the road to the winner’s circle had been a long one. Along the way had been two failed attempts in the Queen Elizabeth II Cup and five others in the Hong Kong International Races.

Yahagi had come closest to winning in Hong Kong with Lys Gracieux and her second in the 2018 Hong Kong Vase. His previous Queen Elizabeth II Cup attempts had brought him a 10th with Uncoiled in 2014 and a third-place finish with Lys Gracieux in 2019.

Yahagi has won in Dubai and Australia, but never before in Hong Kong. He was beside himself with joy.

“I’m so excited I can barely speak. She was the only one coming from Dubai,” he said of Loves Only You. “And that made it hard to prepare, but she has matured and bravely gave it her all. I owe her so much. And I owe so much to my staff, who overcame a lot of difficulties in preparing her for here. I am so proud of everyone.”

Ho, however, perhaps said it best at the photo shoot postrace when he raced his hands high and brought them together, his fingers forming the shape of a heart.

“I can’t describe it,” he said later. “She ran so solidly. She was very kind until the final 800 meters and when I asked her from there, she responded very well through the line. I didn’t dare look back before the finish line but she was amazing.”

“Winning the Queen Elizabeth II Cup, the Hong Kong Derby and the Hong Kong International Races have been dreams of mine. This win means a lot. This is a highlight of my riding career.”

The 5-year-old Northern Farm-bred Loves Only You clocked 2 minutes 1.22 seconds over the fast 2,000 meters of turf at Sha Tin. Following her over the line by 3/4 length was Glory Vase, a 6-year-old son of Deep Impact. Daring Tact was third half a length later, with the 7-year-old veteran Kiseki in fourth place less than half a second behind the winner.

Runner-up Glory Vase is a 6-year-old by Deep Impact trained by Tomohito Ozeki, who won his first overseas race with the horse in 2019 in the Hong Kong Vase under Joao Moreira.

“He was relaxed and on his game. I knew he was going to the gate in convincing shape. He was a bit unsettled in the gate and a bit slow at the break. The break was far slower than I’d expected it to be and I think you could say that that affected the outcome. He did gain ground in the stretch and for him to have run second over 2,000 meters is a good showing for him. It is frustrating but he lost looking good.”

Karis Teetan had the ride. “I think it was a good race. I thought the others would move early so I watched Ho and moved when he did. I think this horse ran solidly until the finish.”

Trainer Haruki Sugiyama opened his stable only four years ago, but only last year, his prize filly Daring Tact brought him the fillies’ triple crown. This was his debut in Hong Kong. “It was her first long trip to the track and she weathered it well. She was able to get a nice clear run up the inside and I’d like to simply praise the winner for a race very well run.”

Jockey Kohei Matsuyama, the only Japan-based jockey to ride at Sha Tin on the Champions Day, said, “I think she turned in a good race, as she always does. We were the race favorite and failed to deliver on those expectations, for which I’d like to apologize. I can’t put my finger on why she lost. I think the winner was just stronger.”

For trainer Yasuyuki Tsujino, it was his debut at Sha Tin and though he didn’t make the top three, his Kiseki did manage to take home a share of the HK$25 million purse. Tsujino opened his stable just this year and, formerly associated with recently retired trainer Katsuhiko Sumii.

“He wasn’t able to keep up in the dash from the gate and wasn’t able to get a forward position. Still, he travelled well. The race unfolded smoothly and came down to who had the sharpest turn of foot in the final stage, which isn’t a trip that suits Kiseki, which was unfortunate. Still, he gave us a good race and I’d like to praise him for that.”

The 27-year-old jockey Chad Schofield expressed similar. “He was slow away and we could only get a position midfield. The pace was slow and didn’t suit him, but he did try hard over the final 200 meters. The pace was just too slow for him, but he did what he could.”

In the Chairman’s Sprint Prize, jockey Joao Moreira had piloted Danon Smash. The popular sentiment was that Danon Smash was going to repeat his winning performance at Sha Tin just four months earlier.

Earlier in the week, Moreira had expressed his satisfaction with the draw, remarking that “anything was better” than what Danon Smash had drawn last time he was in Hong Kong. Moreira even described the December field as having been “much stronger” than the Chairman’s Sprint Prize.

However, Moreira did make a point of saying this year’s race was a “very tricky” one and had cautioned about the “very fast horses jumping from inside” of Danon Smash. He had also stated three days before the race, “I would have Wellington as the main danger.”

Moreira’s hunch proved true, though it didn’t appear that the competition was the problem as much as it was Danon Smash’s inability on this given day to bring what he usually does to the track.

In the final stage, those watching were left waiting for Danon Smash to switch into top gear. He never did, leaving commentators concerned something was terribly amiss with the two-time Grade 1 champion.

In first place was the Richard Gibson-trained Wellington under Frenchman Alexis Badel. The Tony Cruz-trained Computer Patch was second under Matthew Chadwick and Sky Field filled out the trifecta.

Danon Smash had begun moderately and was ridden hard throughout by Moreira, but could do no better than sixth, beaten by 4 lengths, and 0.63 seconds off the winner. “He was under pressure at the 600-meter mark,” said Moreira, “There was nothing there. It’s too bad.”

Trainer Takayuki Yasuda was watching the race at Tokyo Racecourse. “His response going into the stretch may have been slower than last year’s,” he said.

“I was told he was in excellent condition and it’s very disappointing. He moved from midfield, just as he did in the Hong Kong Sprint last year and moved up but just couldn’t gain ground like he did then. If I can think of anything as the cause, I’d have to say the rotation was too tight for him.

The 6-year-old son of sprint champion Lord Kanaloa, with whom Yasuda had notched back-to-back wins of the Hong Kong Sprint in 2012-2013, was coming off a win of the Grade 1 Takamatsunomiya Kinen at Chukyo racetrack on March 28. Yasuda said “I think I’d like to take on the challenge again” and indicated that he planned to take Danon Smash directly to the Sprinters Stakes next on Oct. 3 at Nakayama.

[See more]

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Pro Tipster MAX - provides racing tips in the competitive horseracing world, with completely transparent wins/losses -

Pro Tipster MAX is a service that allows you to buy the racing tips of elite Umanity professional tipsters--starting at just 100 yen/race. The racing tips of Umanity-approved professional tipsters aren't just symbols that indicate the outcome, but a proper racing tip that indicates the betting combination and how to allocate funds--racing tips whose wins/losses are completely transparent in this head-to-head world. That's a clear distinction from the racing tips of other sites, which do not publish their wins/losses.

Simply registering as a member (free) allows you to buy the racing tips of professional tipsters.

Last week Results

  • Highest Payout
  • Return Rate
Rank Tipster Race Payoff
1 Seiryu No.1 Seiryu No.1
9 May Tokyo9R
30,920 618,400
2 Y.Satoh Y.Satoh
9 May Niigata8R
431,260 431,260
3 Priest Ranzan Priest Ranzan
9 May Tokyo9R
30,920 247,360
4 Joie Joie
9 May Niigata9R
2,310 234,150
5 kiri kiri
9 May Tokyo9R
4,870 227,860

>>See more

Rank Tipster No.of
1 K.Nishino K.Nishino
20R 225% 30% 153,590 45,998
2 kiri kiri
72R 196% 26% 344,340 36,886
3 Seiryu No.1 Seiryu No.1
55R 192% 29% 502,170 65,466
4 nige nige
11R 159% 36% 60,860 40,715
5 ButaminC ButaminC
30R 154% 16% 43,480 24,636
6 Shimoon Shimoon
72R 133% 8% 79,850 53,308
7 Mutsuki Mutsuki
54R 123% 25% 68,150 26,010
8 Y.Satoh Y.Satoh
69R 121% 15% 137,630 71,966
9 Sugadai Sugadai
62R 110% 53% 25,310 8,145
10 mayuka mayuka
44R 102% 56% 2,520 4,392

>>See more

Tip Coliseum --Japan's Biggest Racing Tips Arena! Are you Going to Compete? Or just Watch?

Over the course of a year, some 5 million racing tips are registered in the Tip Coliseum, Japan's largest and highest-level racing tip event. Different people use it in different ways--from participating in the tournament and competing for rankings, to watching the tips of top rankers.

Just registering as a member (free) allows you to use the functions of the Tip Coliseum for free.

 Tournament Info:Tournament 180 is currently being held!(24 Apr - 16 May)

Tournament 180 Latest result

Rank Tipster Level
Deviation Return
mocaton mocaton
87.4 3385%
kthk kthk
82.4 558%
Gold Island Gold Island
82.3 386%
sumi maru sumi maru
81.8 431%
Jacoby Jacoby
81.2 276%

>>See more

To Beginners
--Smart Ways to Use Umanity--from Racing Tips to Horse Racing Romance--

Umanity offers all kinds of services to meet the different needs of racing fans, but on the other hand, some people feel "there are so many services, I don't know where to begin." For that reason, we introduce ways to use Umanity according to the type of user. We know you'll find a way that fits you perfectly♪

Data Cruncher

You are the type who assembles information useful for making tips, especially on high-stakes races, such as GI races, and refer to them as you make your own racing tips.
Suitable service

Graded race Page
U index

Recommend using!

[High Stakes Strategies] is packed with useful information for making racing tips, such as the latest information, like pre-race training times on the horses scheduled to run in high stakes races, the expected odds in the racing card, the columns of professional tipster, results from the past 10 years, etc. Then there is Umanity's proprietary racehorse performance index, the U-index, which many people pay to use for its accuracy; members can use it free, but just for high-stakes races, so using it in conjunction with the High Stakes Strategies makes for a perfect combo.

Racing Tip

Likes racing tips better than 3 squares a day! You're the type who makes tips on lots of races per day, not just the main ones!
Suitable service

Tip Coliseum
Race Info

Recommend using!

First off, try registering your tips in the [Tip Coliseum]. Of course there's the fun of competing for rankings and the racing tips bragging rights for all of Japan--but with our auto-tallying tools you can keep track of your results and bump up your racing prediction prowess through objective self-analysis. What's more, Umanity's [Racing Card (for VIP Club members)] is full of tools for increasing the accuracy of your tips, such as our proprietary speed index, the U-index, as well as “Stable Comments” and “Training Evaluation” and so on provided by Horseracing 8.


You see the horses as a vehicle for investing and you don't hold the your purse strings tight when it comes to high-quality information--you're looking for a high return!
Suitable service

Pro tipster "MAX"
Sugouma Robot

Recommend using!

With Pro Tipster MAX over 20 well-known professional tipsters provide their racing tips for a fee (from 100 yen/race). And their tips aren't just symbols that indicate the outcome, but proper racing tips that indicate the betting combination and how to allocate funds--racing tips whose wins/losses are completely transparent in this head-to-head world--a totally different critter from other horseracing tip sites, which only post their wins, but not the balance of wins/losses. The racing tips software [Sugouma Robot] is equipped with expected value theory for automatically buying only betting tickets with high expected yields.


You love the fun of horseracing with all your friends! You're the type who wants friends to go to the track with!
Suitable service

Horseracing Diary
offline get-togethers

Recommend using!

It's surprising how many people have nothing to say about horseracing on SNS, such as on Facebook. Umanity is a community just for horseracing fans, so don't hold back in talking about horseracing, such as in your Horseracing Diary. What's more, Umanity rents guest rooms at the Tokyo Race Course and holds horseracing offline get-togethers in both Spring and Fall. As these get-togethers are of like-minded horseracing fans, you're sure to make friends. Come along and have fun.


You're the type who wants to get into horseracing but you don't know where to start!
Suitable service

Graded race Page
Tip Coliseum

Recommend using!

First of all, you should try focusing on high-stakes races because you can get lots of information. [High Stakes Strategies] is packed with useful information for making racing tips, such as the latest information on the horses scheduled to run, the racing card, columns and results from the past 10 years. Next, try registering your tips in the [Tip Coliseum]. Simply registering a tip on a race will double the fun of watching them run. And up to this point it won't even cost you a single penny. You have nothing to lose as it's all free and you can take part in horseracing without betting any money.


More than for picking races or investing, you like horseracing because the horses are so beautiful! You're the type who wants to start as a partial owner!
Suitable service

Umanity POG

Recommend using!

[POG] stands for Paper Owner Game. Even though it's a virtual game, the horses are all real--several thousand JRA registered thoroughbreds. You select from among them and if your bid wins the auction, it's registered as your POG horse. You can keep up to 20 POG horses in your stable and the game is in competing for prize money with those horses. Apart from the game, pictures of about 400 race horses have been posted, and appreciating their beautiful bodies is one more pleasure.


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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