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Osaka Hai (G1) - Preview

31 Mar 3:25 pm

The big race in Japan this coming Sunday (April 5) will be the Grade 1 Osaka Hai, to be run at Hanshin Racecourse. The race is for 4-year-olds and up, and will see some of the country’s older middle-distance stars begin their preparations for some of the other top level races later in the year. The race has attracted fourteen nominations and there are some big Grade 1 winning names among the provisional list of runners.
Established in 1957, the race was previously a handicap run over 1,800 meters, and known as the Sankei Osaka Hai. It’s now run over 2,000 meters on the inner turf course at Hanshin, and this year sees it being run as a Grade 1 for just the fourth time, having been upgraded to the highest level in 2017. Lead up races to this year’s Osaka Hai have included the Grade 2 American Jockey Club Cup over 2,200 at Nakayama in January, the Grade 2 Nakayama Kinen run over 1,800 meters in March, and the Grade 2 Kyoto Kinen run over 2,200 meters in February.
Al Ain caused a 22/1 upset in last year’s Osaka Hai, but there was little more than a length between the first six home, and a similar close finish could easily be on the cards this time too, in what will be the 64th running of the race. Favorites have fared quite well in the past ten years, winning four times, but making the top three eight times. In the same time period, 4-year-olds have won five times and 5-year-olds have won four times, demonstrating their dominance in the event. Record time for the race was set by Hiruno d’Amour, who won in a time of 1 minute 57.8 seconds in 2011. There’s a prize money boost this year, with the winner to receive JPY 135 million. Sunday’s big race will be Race 11 on the Hanshin card, with a post time in Japan of 15:40.
Here’s a look at some of the big names expected to take on the race:

Danon Kingly The powerful dark bay colt finished second in last year’s Tokyo Yushun (Japanese Derby) and third in the Satsuki Sho (Japanese 2000 Guineas), so it would just seem a matter of time before he gains a Grade 1 victory. In his only start this year, he won the Grade 2 Nakayama Kinen over 1,800 meters in March, and from his eight career starts he now has five wins and has only been unplaced once. His trainer, Kiyoshi Hagiwara, likes his chances. “It was his first race last time since the Mile Championship, and he took his chance to win well. It was also the first race this year for other Grade 1 winners in the line-up, and racing smoothly throughout in third, the jockey did well to get him up and win. We’ve been able to look to this race with him since,” said the trainer.

Blast Onepiece The 2018 Arima Kinen (The Grand Prix) winner had his first race since last year’s Arc de Triomphe in the Grade 2 American Jockey Club Cup in January, when he bounced back to winning ways in the 2,200 meter race. The 5-year-old by Harbinger now has seven wins from twelve starts, and will be trying to improve on his sixth place finish in last year’s Osaka Hai, when he started as favorite. Trainer Masahiro Otake recently said: “He started off the year in the American Jockey Club Cup, and there was a slight problem with another horse going back through the field just before the fourth corner, but the jockey did well to switch to the inside and still got a good response. We’ve taken care of him since, and he’s had his usual break at Northern Farm Tenei and came back to the stable on March 12th.”

Chrono Genesis The 4-year-old filly tuned up nicely for this race with a comfortable 2 1/2 length victory in the Grade 2 Kyoto Kinen over 2,200 meters in February. It now means she has five career wins from nine starts, and is already a Grade 1 winner after winning last year’s Shuka Sho in October. Her trainer, Takashi Saito, is pleased with her progress. “She adjusted well to the pace last time and got to run smoothly. It was a good win and she wasn’t bothered about the ground. She was also plus 12 kg for that last race, which tells me she’s developing well,” he said.

Wagnerian One of two entries for trainer Yasuo Tomomichi, the 5-year-old by Deep Impact will be having his first run this year in the Osaka Hai. The 2018 Japanese Derby winner, and last year’s Japan Cup third, will be having just his twelfth start and is looking for his sixth appearance in the winner’s enclosure. The trainer stated: “He had a tough race in the Japan Cup, but given the ground he really did his best. He’s had a nice break at Northern Farm Tenei and came back to the stable refreshed on February 21st. Everything’s been fine with him since his return.”

Lucky Lilac Not always able to live up to her name, the 5-year-old mare scored her second Grade 1 victory in the Queen Elizabeth II Cup last autumn, and has had a couple of second place finishes since, the latest in her only race this year, the Grade 2 Nakayama Kinen in March, when she was beaten by Danon Kingly. Trainer Mikio Matsunaga thought she did little wrong in that race however. “She probably just needed to find a bit extra last time, but nevertheless it was a good performance. She improves for having a run and so she’s still right up there,” said the trainer. Mirco Demuro looks set to ride Lucky Lilac, as he did in her last race.

Makahiki At seven years of age, Makahiki is the oldest horse among the nominations, but the 2016 Japanese Derby winner is still a major force, as he showed last time when he finished fourth in the 2019 Japan Cup. His two previous runs in the Osaka Hai have also yielded fourth place finishes. He’ll come to the race fresh this time, and his trainer, Yasuo Tomomichi, is always careful to make sure he’s in good condition. “After the Japan Cup, we sent him to Northern Farm Tenei for a break and he came back to the stable with Wagnerian. This has been the target race for him and he’s been working as usual in training,” said Tomomichi.

Five-Year-Old Mare Mozu Superflare Registers First30 Mar 10:38 am

In this year’s Takamatsunomiya Kinen, which became the first JRA-G1 race to be held without spectators due to the outbreak of the COVID-19, ninth pick Mozu Superflare claimed her first G1 title while crossing the wire in second, as Kurino Gaudi was demoted to fourth place due to an interference. This is the first case in JRA-G1 history, in which a horse who crossed the wire first was demoted, since Buena Vista was demoted to second in the 2010 Japan Cup. Mozu Superflare, only raced in 1,200m and 1,400m races since her debut, attained her first graded victory in last year’s Ocean Stakes (G3, 1,200m) and though finishing a disappointing 15th in the following Takamatsunomiya Kinen, marked a runner-up effort in the Sprinters Stakes (G1, 1,200m) in September. She kicked off this season with a fourth in the Silk Road Stakes (G3, 1,200m) on February 2. This win marked trainer Hidetaka Otonashi’s 13th JRA-G1 victory following the Champions Cup with Chrysoberyl in December last year. Jockey Fuma Matsuwaka celebrated his first JRA-G1 victory and seventh graded win since debuting in 2014.

The field of 18 broke smoothly with fourth pick Diatonic dashing out but easing back to let Mozu Superflare take the front followed by sixth pick Seiun Kosei and 15th pick Kurino Gaudi. While Mozu Superflare, still leading the field entering the lane, accelerated strongly for a wire-to-wire victory, Kurino Gaudi, followed by Diatonic, closed in from the outside, and caught up with the leader 100 meters out. Second choice Gran Alegria, who took the outer route turning the corners after traveling 5-6th from the rear, produced an impressive burst of speed, running the tied fastest of the field in the last three furlongs, and caught up with the front three horses 50 meters out to unfold a four-horse rally before the wire.

After a long inquiry, Kurino Gaudi, who crossed the wire first, was demoted to fourth for interfering with Mozu Superflare and Diatonic 100m out, giving Mozu Superflare her first G1 title. Gran Alegria and Diatonic who came in third and fourth were promoted to second and third, respectively.

“She broke well as I hoped she would and was able race in her own rhythm. With the sun coming out in the afternoon, the ground was not as bad as we had anticipated, which I think worked in her favor. To be honest, I thought that we had lost when we crossed the wire but I’m genuinely happy that we were able to win our first G1 title,” commented Fuma Matsuwaka.

Race favorite Tower of London broke well, traveled in mid-division and turned wide around the last corner to make bid but was unable to exert his usual strong late kick and finish 12th.
Other Horses:
5th: (17) Shivaji—settled around 15th, angled out, showed terrific late kick, tied fastest over last 3 furlongs
6th: (7) Groove It—took economic trip around 15th, angled out, responded well, 3rd fastest over last 3 furlongs
7th: (12) Seiun Kosei—tracked leader in 2nd, ran gamely but weakened in last 100m
8th: (4) Teehaff—sat around 8th, switched to outside, showed effort, overtaken by rivals in last 100m
9th: (1) Stelvio—hugged rails around 8th, ran willingly until 200m pole, weakened thereafter
10th: (6) Danon Smash—was off a bit slow, ran 3-wide in 7th, met traffic at early stretch, never fired
11th: (2) A Will a Way—raced around 8th, showed brief effort, never a threat
13th: (14) Mozu Ascot—sat 2nd from rear, passed tired rivals at stretch
14th: (15) Nac Venus—advanced around 4th from wide draw, gradually fell back
15th: (18) Normcore—ran 4-wide around 8th, faded after turning 4th corner
16th: (5) Love Kampf—prominent early around 4th, faded after 4th corner
17th: (13) Daimei Princess—traveled 3-wide around 13th, outrun after 3rd corner
18th: (10) I Love Tailor—trailed in far rear, no factor

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JRA Nakayama 3rd through 12th races cancelled due 30 Mar 10:30 am

The 3rd through 12th races at JRA Nakayama Racecourse on Sunday, March 29 have been cancelled due to effects of snow.

These races including March Stakes (G3) will be rescheduled for March 31, 2020.

Please check the JRA Race Card & Results page for the latest updates.

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Three-Year-Old Classic Hopefuls27 Mar 12:36 pm

This year's three-year-old classics will commence with the filly's Oka Sho (Japanese 1000 Guineas, G1, 1,600m) on April 12 and t hen the Satsuki Sho (Japanese 2000 Guineas, G1, 2,000m), the first contest for males, a week later.

The top three finishers of the 2019 Hanshin Juvenile Fillies (G1, 1,600m) maintained form by securing the top three positions in their season kick-off on March 7, the Tulip Sho (G2, 1,600m), the main trial race towards the Oka Sho. Maltese Diosa (JPN, F3, by Kizuna) nosed out Cravache d'Or (JPN, F3, by Heart's Cry) for the win, followed by Resistencia (JPN, F3, by Daiwa Major), Best Two-Year-Old Filly of 2019, in third. In sixth was Woman's Heart (JPN, F3, by Heart's Cry), who was also fourth in the Hanshin Juvenile Fillies last December 8, while seventh was taken by Smile Kana (JPN, F3, by Deep Impact), winner of the Fairy Stakes (G3, 1,600m) on January 13 .

The first leg of the fillies' Triple Crown will also feature runners who performed well in either of two additional trials on March 15: Intermission (JPN, F3, by Deep Impact) and Fiori Chiari (JPN, F3, by Kizuna), the top two finishers in the Anemone Stakes (L, 1,600m), and Epos (JPN, F3, by Just a Way), Yamakatsu Mermaid (JPN, F3, by Lord Kanaloa) and Nine to Five (JPN, F3, by Screen Hero), who were the top three in the Fillies' Revue (G2, 1,400m).

Other notable runners likely to appear in the Oka Sho are Ria Amelia (JPN, F3, by Deep Impact), who was sixth in the Hanshin Juvenile Fillies; Sanctuaire (JPN, F3, by Deep Impact), who claimed the Shinzan Kinen (G3, 1,600m) against male opponents in January; Daring Tact (JPN, F3, by Epiphaneia), winner of the Elfin Stakes (L, 1,600m) in February; Miyamazakura (JPN, F3, by Deep Impact), the Queen Cup (G3, 1,600m) victor also in February; and Ablaze (JPN, F3, by Kizuna), who won the Flower Cup (G3, 1,800m) on March 20.

Heading directly for the Satsuki Sho after claiming the Hopeful Stakes (G1, 2,000m) at the end of the previous season is Contrail (JPN, C3, by Deep Impact), the 2019 Best Two-Year-Old Colt, and Salios (JPN, C3, by Heart's Cry), winner of the Asahi Hai Futurity Stakes (1,600m), a major G1 event for two-year-olds. My Rhapsody (C3, by Heart's Cry), who was just as prominent as Contrail and Salios in capping off his two-year-old campaign with three wins out of as many starts, including the Kyoto Nisai Stakes (G3, 2,000m), was beaten to fourth in the Kyodo News Hai (G3, 1,800m) on February 16.

The Hopeful Stakes third-place finisher Wakea (JPN, C3, by Heart's Cry) kicked off this season in the Yayoi Sho (G2, 2,000m) on March 8, finishing second to Satono Flag (JPN, C3, by Deep Impact) to earn a ticket to the Satsuki Sho, as did third-place finisher Authority (JPN, C3, by Orfevre). However, it was announced that Wakea and Authority will sit out the Satsuki Sho to aim for the Derby instead.

The Spring Stakes (G2, 1,800m) on March 22 was won by Galore Creek (JPN, C3, by Kinshasa no Kiseki), ahead of the Hopeful Stakes runner-up Weltreisende (JPN, C3, by Dream Journey) in second and Succession (JPN, C3, by King Kamehameha ) in third.

Along with the top three finishers in both the Yayoi Sho and the Spring Stakes, the first leg of the Triple Crown has also invited Admire Virgo (JPN, C3, by Deep Impact) and Chimera Verite (JPN, C3, by Kizuna) for finishing first and second, respectively, in another Satsuki Sho trial—the Wakaba Stakes (L, 2,000m) on March 21. This year's field will also include Crystal Black (JPN, C3, by Kizuna), Cortesia (JPN, C3, by Symboli Kris S) and Darlington Hall (GB, C3, by New Approach), respective winners of the Keisei Hai (G3, 2,000m) in January, the Kisaragi Sho (G3, 1,800m) in February and the Kyodo News Hai also in February.

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Spring G1 Campaign for Four-Year-Olds and Up in Ja27 Mar 12:35 pm

In response to the coronavirus outbreak, JRA decided to hold its horse races without spectators from February 29. As other racecourses are closed, racing fans can only bet by phone or via online.

With a number of G1 winners retiring at the end of last year, including 2019 Horse of the Year Lys Gracieux (JPN, by Heart's Cry), Cheval Grand (JPN, by Heart's Cry), Al Ain (JPN, by Deep Impact), Rey de Oro (JPN, by King Kamehameha) and Suave Richard (JPN, by Heart's Cry), this year's middle-long-distance spring G1 campaign for four-year-olds & up will likely be led by the top finishers of last year's Japan Cup and Arima Kinen.

Tokyo Yushun (Japanese Derby, G1, 2,400m) winners Wagnerian (JPN, H5, by Deep Impact) in 2018 and Makahiki (JPN, H7, by Deep Impact) in 2016, who finished the 2019 Japan Cup in third and fourth, respectively, will both kick off their 2020 campaigns with the Osaka Hai (G1, 2,000m) on April 5. Saturnalia (JPN, C4, by Lord Kanaloa), 2019 Arima Kinen runner-up and Satsuki Sho (Japanese 2000 Guineas, G1, 2,000m) winner, commenced his four-year-old season with a comfortable two-length victory in the Kinko Sho (G2, 2,000m) on March 15. His connections announced that the colt will skip the Osaka Hai for the Takarazuka Kinen (G1, 2,200m) on June 28.

Other key contenders of the Osaka Hai will include 2019 Tokyo Yushun runner-up Danon Kingly (JPN, C4, by Deep Impact), who most recently won the Nakayama Kinen, and Lucky Lilac (JPN, M5, by Orfevre), who won the Queen Elizabeth II Cup (G1, 2,200m) and was second in the Nakayama Kinen. They will be joined by 2019 Shuka Sho (G1, 2,000m) victor Chrono Genesis (JPN, F4, by Bago), who registered her third graded title in her latest start, the Kyoto Kinen (G2, 2,200m) on February 16, and Blast Onepiece (JPN, H5, by Harbinger), winner of the 2018 Arima Kinen and this year's American Jockey Club Cup (G2, 2,200m).

Last year's Japan Cup fifth-place finisher You Can Smile (JPN, H5, by King Kamehameha) captured his third graded title with a comfortable 1-3/4-length victory in his five-year-old kick-off start, the Hanshin Daishoten (G2, 3,000m) on March 22, and will head to the Tenno Sho (Spring) (G1, 3,200m) on May 3. World Premiere (JPN, C4, by Deep Impact), Fierement (JPN, H5, by Deep Impact) and Kiseki (JPN, H6, by Rulership), who finished third, fourth and fifth respectively in last year's Arima Kinen, were all Kikuka Sho (Japanese St. Leger, G1, 3,000m) winners in their three-year-old seasons. World Premiere was scheduled to kick off his four-year-old season with the Osaka Hai and then head for the Tenno Sho (Spring) but was sidelined due to health reasons. Fierement will commence his 2020 season by attempting to defend his Tenno Sho (Spring) title. Kiseki, who finished a disappointing seventh after a poor break in his first start this season, the Hanshin Daishoten, will be another key runner in the Tenno Sho (Spring).

The first of the flat-turf G1 events of the year, the Takamatsunomiya Kinen at Chukyo Racecourse on March 29, will spotlight last year's Sprinters Stakes (G1, 1,200m) winner Tower of London (JPN, H5, by Raven's Pass). The five-year-old kicked off the season with the Ocean Cup (G3, 1,200m) on March 7 by finishing third, 4-1/2 lengths behind winner Danon Smash (JPN, H5, by Lord Kanaloa), while carrying a top weight of 58kg, which was 2kg more than the rest of the field. After the Takamatsunomiya Kinen, he may fly to Great Britain either for the Royal Ascot or the July Cup (G1, 1,200m). The Takamatsunomiya Kinen will also feature Tower of London's stablemate and 2019 Best Three-Year-Old Filly, Gran Alegria (JPN, F4, by Deep Impact), and last year's Victoria Mile (G1, 1,600m) winner Normcore (JPN, M5, by Harbinger).

The steeplechase racing in spring will be highlighted by the Nakayama Grand Jump (J-G1, 4,250m) on April 18. Oju Chosan (JP N, H9, by Stay Gold), Best Steeplechase Horse between 2016 and 2018, will aim for his fifth consecutive title this year after winning the Hanshin Spring Jump (J-G2, 3,900m) on March 14 to renew his own record by claiming his 12th consecutive graded steeplechase title. Last year's Nakayama Daishogai (J-G1, 4,100m) winner and Best Steeplechase Horse Shingun Michael (JPN, G6, by Shingun Opera) also kicked off the season in the Hanshin Spring Jump and finished second, nine lengths behind Oju Chosan.

The Victoria Mile for four-year-old & up fillies/mares on May 17 will include Lucky Lilac, Gran Alegria, Chrono Genesis and Normcore as well as last year's runner-up Primo Scene (JPN, M5, by Deep Impact), Kyoto Himba Stakes (G3, 1,400m) victor Sound Chiara (JPN, M5, by Deep Impact) and other female runners from the prep race, the Hanshin Himba Stakes (G2, 1,600m) on April 11.

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Last week Results

  • Highest Payout
  • Return Rate
Rank Tipster Race Payoff
1 ikkyoku ikkyoku
29 Mar Chukyo11R
217,720 217,720
2 N.Okamura N.Okamura
29 Mar Chukyo11R
3,230 193,800
3 Seiryu No.1 Seiryu No.1
29 Mar Hanshin11R
2,720 175,550
4 Creek Creek
28 Mar Chukyo10R
300 111,530
5 Mutsuki Mutsuki
29 Mar Chukyo2R
2,750 110,000

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Rank Tipster No.of
1 ikkyoku ikkyoku
11R 268% 45% 185,240 59,048
2R 238% 50% 27,660 47,660
3 Creek Creek
34R 197% 67% 114,810 10,100
4 Kenichi Okuno Kenichi Okuno
1R 177% 100% 7,700 17,700
5 Akki Akki
44R 137% 45% 8,110 1,495
6 Mutsuki Mutsuki
52R 104% 19% 15,680 33,168
7 N.Okamura N.Okamura
72R 104% 18% 20,400 40,338
8 MacaroniStandards MacaroniStandards
72R 100% 29% 290 10,218

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 Tournament Info:Tournament 166 is currently being held!(28 Mar - 19 Apr)

Tournament 166 Latest result

Rank Tipster Level
Deviation Return
song song song song
86.8 1099%
Umaxmax Umaxmax
83.8 507%
Sakasama Sakasama
80.2 405%
matsuone matsuone
79.2 246%
2072802a14 2072802a14
78.0 294%

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