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Odds on favorite Contrail claimed this year’s Kikuka Sho (Japanese St. Leger) and added his name in JRA history as the third undefeated Triple Crown winner after Symboli Rudolf (1984) and his sire Deep Impact (2005) and the eighth colt to win all three titles—it is also the first time in history for a father and son to accomplish the feat. The Deep Impact colt extended his winning streak to seven while notching his fourth G1 title after the Hopeful Stakes last year, the Satsuki Sho (Japanese 2000 Guineas) and the Tokyo Yushun (Japanese Derby). Trainer Yoshito Yahagi, who scored his 13th JRA-G1 title with the win, became the first trainer to claim four G1 titles for two consecutive seasons. Jockey Yuichi Fukunaga, now with 28 G1 wins, claimed his second Kikuka Sho title after his victory with Epiphaneia in 2013 and became the fourth jockey in JRA history with 10 Classic titles.

Contrail broke smoothly and settled nicely between horses in mid-field behind Chimera Verite who set a relaxed pace while being pressured by Aristoteles on his outside. Yuichi Fukunaga managed to keep the colt in hand as the son of Deep Impact appeared keen to go along the backstretch while gradually making headway through the last two corners and soon taking command entering the stretch. Stalked throughout the whole trip and still challenged by Aristoteles as Contrail attempted to pull away from the rest of the field, the undefeated three-year-old demonstrated terrific tenacity to prevail by a neck at the wire for a history making victory.

“I can’t say that I was successful in keeping him relaxed during the race with so much pressure from Aristoteles. It turned out to be a tough race for us with Aristoteles looking quite strong and persistent, and this race may not have been his best performance, but I kept my faith in Contrail and he certainly showed how strong he is to have maintained his position up to the end of the 3,000-meter trip,” commented Yuichi Fukunaga.

Aristoteles under Christophe Lemaire quickly assumed position outside Contrail and raced in tandem with the eventual winner in mid-division. The improving Epiphaneia colt accelerated impressively and remained strong as the two colts dueled to the wire but was unable to wear down the winner, finishing a neck behind in second.

Satono Flag, unhurried and traveling fourth from the rear, angled out approaching the third corner and made headway along the outside. Entering the stretch with Contrail and Aristoteles in view down the center lane, he exerted a strong turn of speed to make up ground and seize his place in third through the last strides while unable to threaten the top two finishers.
Other Horses:
4th: (8) Deep Bond—sat around 6th in front of winner, showed tenacity, weakened in final strides
5th: (15) Black Hole—raced around 11th, circled wide, accelerated at stretch, belatedly
6th: (13) Robertson Quay—positioned around 15th, switched to inside at early stretch, showed brief effort
7th: (6) Weltreisende—traveled around 9th behind winner, angled out, lacked needed kick
8th: (14) Valcos—saved ground around 11th, even paced
9th: (2) Galore Creek—sat in 4th, ran gamely until top of stretch, outrun thereafter
10th: (11) Babbitt—chased leader in 2nd, took command turning final corner, dropped back after 300m marker
11th: (4) Man of Spirit—was off slow, ran 3rd from rear, advanced in backstretch, even paced at stretch
12th: (5) Satono Impresa—raced around 9th, failed to respond at stretch
13th: (1) Diamant Minoru—settled around 11th, checked at early stretch, never a threat
14th: (16) Turkish Palace—traveled 2nd from rear, showed little at stretch
15th: (7) Danon Gloire—traveled around 5th, outrun after final corner
16th: (12) L’Excellence—tracked leaders in 3rd, fell back after 200m pole
17th: (18) Bitterender—broke poorly, trailed in rear, unable to reach contention
18th: (17) Chimera Verite—set pace from wide draw, faded after final corner

Kikuka Sho (Japanese St. Leger) (G1) - Preview20 Oct 4:47 pm

It’s the final Classic of the year in Japan this coming Sunday (October 25), and there’s a real buzz in the air that there could be a Triple Crown winner just waiting to walk away with the title. Contrail is looking to become just the eighth Triple Crown winner in Japanese racing history, and the first since Orfevre in 2011.

The Grade 1 Kikuka Sho (Japanese St. Leger) was first run in 1938 and was given its current name in 1948. It’s run over 3,000 meters on the outer turf course at Kyoto Racecourse, and is open to 3-year-olds, with the exception of geldings. All the runners carry a set weight of 57kg. There’s certainly plenty of interest from connections wanting to have a crack at defeating Contrail, with 29 horses having been nominated for a maximum 18 runner field.

Step races leading to the 81st running of the Kikuka Sho (Japanese St. Leger) include the Grade 2 Asahi Hai St. Lite Kinen, run over 2,200 meters at Nakayama in September, and the Grade 2 Kobe Shimbun Hai, this year run at Chukyo over 2,200 meters, also in September. Both of these races are official trials for the final Classic of the year. Five first favorites have won the big race in the last ten years, with Kiseki the last one to do so in 2017. Record time for the race belongs to the fiery Toho Jackal, who won in 2014 in a time of 3 minutes 1.0 seconds. This year’s winner’s check is JPY120 million.

The race will be Race 11 on the Sunday card at Kyoto, with a post time of 15:40 here in Japan. The final line-up and barrier draw will be announced later in the week.

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

Weltreisende - The Dream Journey colt has had to play second fiddle to Contrail a number of times already, including his last outing in the Grade 2 Kobe Shimbun Hai, where he finished second. He’s a half-brother to last year’s Kikuka Sho winner World Premiere, and is trained by Yasutoshi Ikee, a two-time winner of the race. The trainer is hoping for a big run after one or two setbacks with the horse. “He’d broken a bone in his foreleg after the Derby, and a while ago he had a fever, but he’s recovered from both without any problems. This has meant he’s taken some time to come back to himself, but now he’s making up for lost time and is showing good form in training,” said Ikee.

Galore Creek - The horse that finished sixth in the Tokyo Yushun (Japanese Derby) tuned up for this race with a third place finish in the Grade 2 Asahi Hai St. Lite Kinen at Nakayama last month. He’ll have to travel over from the Miho training center for what will be his first race at Kyoto. Trainer Hiroyuki Uehara commented: “He’s a horse that gets better with his races, and the jockey thinks so too. He was still a bit loose last time, but even so, he showed what he’s capable of doing, despite it being his first run in a while.”

Babbitt - Snapped up for just over JPY5 million at the 2019 Hokkaido Training Sale, the colt by Nakayama Festa has won his last four races, the latest being the Grade 2 Asahi Hai St. Lite Kinen over 2,200 meters last month. His front running displays have proved stamina is on his side, and while there’s an extra 800 meters to see out this time, trainer Tamio Hamada is impressed with the horse. “He’s able to get to the front in his races and run good times, as could be seen with some of his furlong times below 12 seconds in the St. Lite Kinen. Even though the ground was different, his overall time was 0.5 seconds faster than the All Comers. I like the fact he has speed and stamina,” said the trainer.

Satono Flag - The Northern Farm bred son of Deep Impact was slightly disappointing in the Tokyo Yushun (Japanese Derby) when he could finish only eleventh, but on his seventh start last time he managed to finish second to Babbitt in the Grade 2 Asahi Hai St. Lite Kinen. Trainer Sakae Kunieda feels the horse is improving. “I was surprised the winner managed to stay on last time in the St. Lite Kinen. Nevertheless, my horse kept going until the end as well and it seems he’s running better now than in the spring. Everything’s fine with him at the stable right now,” said Kunieda.

Deep Bond - Another runner for owner Shinji Maeda, the colt by Kizuna is another who ran in the Tokyo Yushun (Japanese Derby), finishing fifth, and then finished fourth in his prep race most recently, the Grade 2 Kobe Shimbun Hai over 2,200 meters at Chukyo in September. Trainer Ryuji Okubo said, “As in the Derby, he got into a good position last time, but didn’t quite have enough at the end. If he can run like he did in the Kyoto Shimbun Hai earlier this year, just being a little more patient, he’s capable of winning races.”

Anticipate - Likely to be the ride of Yutaka Take, Anticipate has now strung together three straight wins, and his latest was over 2,600 meters in the Akanko Tokubetsu at Sapporo in August. “He had a break at Oiwake Farm in Hokkaido after his last race, and this has been the target for him. Last time he raced in second for a while before grabbing the lead and going on to win. I think it’s best if he races at the front,” said trainer Sakae Kunieda. The Rulership colt will be having his seventh start on Sunday.

Robertson Quay - Trained by Toru Hayashi at the Miho training center, Robertson Quay ran in his first Graded race last time and finished third in the Kobe Shimbun Hai at Chukyo in September, not that far behind Contrail. He’s only had four races, but the trainer thinks his best is yet to come. “It was a big run last time over the extended trip and he coped well with everything, thanks to the jockey. The horse is still young and inexperienced, so I think further improvement can be expected,” commented the trainer recently.

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Daring Tact Overwhelms Her Three-Year-Old Rivals i19 Oct 4:50 pm

Odds-on-favorite Daring Tact won this year’s Shuka Sho, the first G1 race to be held with limited number of racing fans after the COVID-19 pandemic, to claim all the fillies’ Triple Crown races including the Oka Sho (Japanese 1000 Guineas) and the Yushun Himba (Japanese Oaks) held in spring. She is the sixth filly to capture the fillies’ Triple Crown title following Mejiro Ramonu (1986), Still in Love (2003), Apapane (2010), Gentildonna (2012) and Almond Eye (2018) but the first in JRA history to do so undefeated. The Epiphaneia filly has accomplished this feat prior to Contrail, also an undefeated colt, who will be aiming to capture the Triple Crown title in the Kikuka Sho (Japanese St. Leger) next week. The Japan Cup (G1, 2,400m) on November 29 is listed as one of the possible races for her next start. Both trainer Haruki Sugiyama and jockey Kohei Matsuyama celebrated their fourth JRA-G1 victory—their most recent being the Yushun Himba with Daring Tact.

Daring Tact jumped out from the 13th stall and traveled wide toward the back, around 5-6th from the rear, while Maltese Diosa set a relatively slow pace. Gradually making headway in the backstretch, the Epiphaneia filly continued to take a wide route turning the last corners and, once entering the lane, swung into gear, overtook the front 200 meters out then exerted her powerful late charge to win the race with a comfortable 1-1/4-length margin.

“The filly seemed a bit nervous at the paddock but she broke well and we were able to race in good position and in good rhythm. There was some pressure as we were aiming for the first undefeated Triple Crown filly in JRA history but I’m delightful to be able to accomplish this remarkable feat. I want to thank the filly and offer her my congratulations. She has developed into a bold filly and I hope that she will remain undefeated,” commented Kohei Matsuyama.

Tenth-choice Magic Castle settled in midfield, and finding herself positioned behind Daring Tact when facing the homestretch, stalked behind the race favorite with impressive speed to cross the wire in second.
Ninth-pick Soft Fruit, although being forced to travel in the rear due to a slow break and turning the last two corners the widest, unleashed an explosive late charge, which marked the fastest last three furlongs of the field, and closed in on Magic Castle in the last 100 meters while dueling with Pallas Athena to finish 3/4 length behind the runner-up and a nose before the Rulership filly.

Other Horses:
4th: (16) Pallas Athena—sat around 15th behind winner, turned wide, showed impressive late kick, but belatedly
5th: (15) Miss New York—ran in 7-8th, found little room and outrun turning final corner, accelerated belatedly
6th: (14) Oh My Darling—settled in 17th, made headway in backstretch, ran gamely until 200m pole, even paced
7th: (3) Maltese Diosa—set pace, showed tenacity but weakened in last 100m
8th: (7) Musica—was off slow, traveled in 14th, circled wide, lacked needed kick
9th: (5) Win Mighty—ran around 11th along rails, angled out for stretch run, responded briefly
10th: (11) Fiori Chiari—raced in 6th, failed to respond at stretch
11th: (18) Ablaze—traveled 3-wide around 9th, met traffic at final corner, improved position
12th: (6) Dantsu Elise—settled around 15th, passed tired rivals at stretch
13th: (2) Ria Amelia—sat in 5th, showed brief response, outrun in last 200m
14th: (1) Miyamazakura—hugged rails around 3rd, gradually dropped back after 300m pole
15th: (17) Win Marilyn—advanced to stalked leaders from wide stall, weakened in stretch
16th: (9) Sanctuaire—took economic trip around 7th, showed little after final corner
17th: (10) Cravache d’Or—saved ground around 9th, ran willingly until 200m out, outrun thereafter
18th: (4) Ho O Peaceful—chased pace in 2nd, faded after 3rd corner

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Shuka Sho (G1) - Preview13 Oct 6:14 pm

Kyoto Racecourse hosts the Grade 1 Shuka Sho this Sunday, Oct. 18. The 2,000-meter Shuka Sho is the final leg of Japan’s fillies triple crown, which starts in the spring with the mile-long Oka Sho (Japanese 1000 Guineas) and the 2,400-meter Yushun Himba (Japanese Oaks).

This year, 21 fillies have been nominated for the 18 berths of the classic race, run on the turf over the Kyoto inner course. Six of the nominees are tied for the final three spots, which will be chosen by lottery.
With the relaxing of Covid-19 measures from last weekend and limited admission now permitted to JRA racetracks, the Shuka Sho will be only the second Grade 1 race this year to be held with racing fans in the stands, and the first Grade 1 since the February Stakes.

The 25th running of the Shuka Sho will also be one of the last top-level races to be held in view of the present Kyoto grandstand, which was built 40 years ago. Renovations on the stand and the course are scheduled to start just after the Kikuka Sho (Japanese St. Leger) on November 1 and are expected to last for more than 2 years.

Amid so many historical moments, nothing would be more fitting than to see the crowning of a filly triple crown champion this Sunday. And that could well happen if the unbeaten Daring Tact holds tight to her pristine race record. If Daring Tact can top the field once again, she’ll become only the sixth filly to sweep the classics and the first to do it unbeaten.

All fillies in the Shuka Sho carry 55 kg and first place carries a prize of JPY 100 million. The Shuka Sho is the 11th race on Kyoto’s Sunday card of 12. Post time is 3:40 p.m.

Here’s a look at some of the expected top choices.

Daring Tact – By Ephiphaneia, out of Daring Bird, Daring Tact is returning to the track straight from her run in the Yushun Himba (Japanese Oaks) at Tokyo in late May. But trainer Haruki Sugiyama says that’s the way he planned it and that his prize filly is in winning shape. With her late-closing style, Daring Tact grabbed the Oaks victory with blistering late speed and a final three-furlong time of 33.1 seconds, the fastest in the race’s history. The shorter distance overall and the much shorter homestretch of Kyoto is not expected to pose a problem. And, in light of her Oka Sho (Japanese 1000 Guineas) win over heavy going, neither should a slower track. “The jockey rode her on the flat last week,” says Sugiyama. “She worked alone and we focused on her balance. She was well-balanced and relaxed. Her breathing was good too.” Sugiyama also says Daring Tact has filled out (she already weighed in at nearly 470 kg for the Oaks) and that she has also matured mentally. Regular rider Kohei Matsuyama is expected in the saddle.

Ria Amelia – Another big girl is Ria Amelia, a dark bay Ritto-based filly by Deep Impact who ran fourth in the Oaks, 0.3 seconds behind Daring Tact. She was a bit slow out of the gate, and it was also her first time over anything but the mile. Last out, on Sept. 20, however, she captured the Grade 2 Kansai Telecasting Corp. Sho Rose Stakes over 2,000 meters at Chukyo. This will be her first time at Kyoto, but she showed, in her winning debut at Hanshin, that she can handle a righthanded track, and her winning style in the Rose Stakes bodes particularly well for the Kyoto course.

Maltese Diosa – The jet-black Maltese Diosa, a daughter of Kizuna, failed to make the board in the spring filly classics but she returned in mid-September up 12 kg and captured the Grade 3 Shion Stakes over 2,000 meters at Nakayama beating out a number of Shuka Sho nominees along the way, including Win Mighty and Pallas Athena. Second in the Grade 1 Hanshin Juvenile Fillies and winner of the Grade 2 Tulip Sho, Maltese Diosa has always held her own over the mile but the Shion Stakes showed she can go a bit farther too. It will be her first time at Kyoto but the inner track should suit. Based at Miho, Maltese Diosa has traveled to Hanshin three times before and the trip shouldn’t spell trouble.

Win Mighty – A dark gray filly by Goldship, Win Mighty returned from her third-place finish in the Oaks (0.2 seconds behind Daring Tact) to run sixth in the Shion Stakes. She had not started good and was forced to race from behind, then was pushed wide at a critical point. Despite the poor trip, she gained ground to finish but 0.3 seconds off the winner. Win Mighty had gone to the Oaks off a win of the Wasurenagusa Sho, a listed race over 2,000 meters that was run in the rain over a slightly heavy track, so rain would not be a strike against her.

Win Marilyn – A chestnut filly by Screen Hero, Win Marilyn is a stablemate to Maltese Diosa and will be taking her first trip westward. Only her second Grade 1 bid, Win Marilyn won the 2,000-meter Grade 2 Sankei Sports Sho Flora Stakes at Tokyo before going to the Oaks, where she missed the win by a mere half-length. She had drawn the No. 16 gate but Norihiro Yokoyama leveled the playing field by bringing her in to the rail by the second turn and she did manage to reach the top momentarily just before the finish line. Keen racing sense and back at her preferred distance, Win Marilyn is one to watch out for. Norihiro’s son Takeshi Yokoyama, who rode Win Marilyn in all her three wins, is expected to be back in the saddle and gunning for his first big win in his still young career.

# # #

Others to watch are Pallas Athena, Miyamazakura and Lei Papale.

Pallas Athena, by Rulership, debuted this January and, with six starts behind her, has proven consistent with two wins, two seconds and nothing off the board. She ran second to Maltese Diosa in the Shion Stakes.

The Deep Impact-sired Miyamazakura was seventh in the Oaks and fifth in the Oka Sho. She returns unprepped but, given her Grade 3 second place over the Kyoto 2,000, should not be written off.

Lei Papale is one of the six whose spot in the Shuka Sho will depend on the luck of the draw. She debuted at Kyoto this January and has only had three starts, all of them winning ones. In her last outing, an 1,800-meter at Niigata, she went up against male and older horses, but topped the field by two lengths, with a time of 33.2 seconds over the final three furlongs. She was, however, carrying only 52 kg (5 kg less than the runnerup) and this will be her first time under 55 kg. It will also be her first time over the distance. Regular rider Yuga Kawada is expected to partner Ria Amelia and Christophe Lemaire is ready to take the reins if Lei Papale makes the final cut.

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Deirdre runs 8th in Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe05 Oct 4:55 pm

Deirdre, a mare trained by Mitsuru Hashida, finished 8th in the 11-horse field Qatar Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe (G1) held at ParisLongchamp Racecourse, on Sunday, October 4.

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Last week Results

  • Highest Payout
  • Return Rate
Rank Tipster Race Payoff
1 Ikkun Ikkun
24 Oct Niigata10R
98,300 983,000
2 Ace No.2 Ace No.2
24 Oct Tokyo2R
21,720 854,260
3 Sugouma Katsuko Sugouma Katsuko
24 Oct Tokyo2R
73,800 529,680
4 Ikkun Ikkun
24 Oct Tokyo11R
44,730 447,300
5 Ace No.1 Ace No.1
24 Oct Tokyo2R
73,800 308,280

>>See more

Rank Tipster No.of
1 ibukimasaya ibukimasaya
7R 263% 42% 114,120 61,373
2 Saramappo Saramappo
21R 247% 42% 303,680 56,675
3 Ikkun Ikkun
72R 201% 2% 720,300 715,150
4 Ace No.2 Ace No.2
59R 185% 16% 483,600 104,710
5 Akki Akki
35R 150% 68% 16,570 2,048
6 Sugouma Katsuko Sugouma Katsuko
63R 145% 38% 278,940 37,272
7 Janne Janne
45R 126% 31% 116,940 39,788
8 Joie Joie
67R 121% 70% 48,390 5,787
9 Z No.1 Z No.1
59R 120% 35% 113,360 32,217
10 mayuka mayuka
45R 102% 60% 3,280 5,740
11 MacaroniStandards MacaroniStandards
72R 100% 41% 220 11,177

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 Tournament Info:Tournament 173 is currently being held!(10 Oct - 1 Nov)

Tournament 173 Latest result

Rank Tipster Level
Deviation Return
tazawako tazawako
83.9 1289%
zxcvbnm zxcvbnm
83.5 1224%
bef98eea9b bef98eea9b
82.7 758%
taxtuki taxtuki
81.1 561%
5a3c0fa14b 5a3c0fa14b
80.6 479%

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