Saturday, April 27, 2013

Just a very quick update - Louis came second with 'Jaguar' today, scoring 55.588% in A2課目, which was over one percent higher than the third-placed pairing, and actually within touch of a Crane Chiba instructor who had two horses entered (one of them is a favourite of mine, as it happens, scoring 55.882). The overall winner usually competes in a higher Class, so all told, given the complete lack of practice, a very good result...

Friday, April 26, 2013

Just had a registered letter from Carrot Club confirming the fate of the two injured horses - Fairy Robe and Quadrille. Well, Fairy-chan is going to be a riding horse, which is fair enough - she has a friendly nature, and will be eminently suited to her new role as soon as she's fit. As for Quadrille, she will become a broodmare, and with her regal bloodlines, that makes me extremely happy. Indeed, I will be chomping at the bit to get a stake in her first foal! So, all told, given the possibilities of what could happen in the event of a Thoroughbred's leg being broken, a happy outcome...

Thursday, April 25, 2013

A nice gentle stroll in the countryside for 'Jaguar' today, as he has a busy weekend ahead of him, featuring a Dressage competition with Louis, followed by a gymkhana with Sophie. Louis is also making his show-jumping debut with Tokoro's youngster, 'Heart' - that should be fun...

Meanwhile, Tenshinramman looks unlikely to run in The Oaks. The poor thing lost a huge 10kg overnight, just before the race, drew the outside gate, and yet still put up a magnificent performance. But the bottom line is, she was pipped at the post for the third place she needed, and rather than hold out on hope that she'll get a berth in this classic, the trainer is now thinking of aiming for the St Leger with her. Fingers crossed she shows the world what she's capable of in the autumn.

Mosto Verde has been confirmed for a Sunday outing now - the opener at Tokyo-Fuchu on the 28th, which is a 1400m dirt race, with Hideaki Tsumura in the saddle. Also, Lourdes No Hitomi is booked for a 2100m dirt race at Tokyo on the 4th of May (the 3R, with Miura Kosei as jockey); Mistoffelees should be running in the following week.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

On a brighter note, there's a chance Mistoffelees will run at Niigata in a 1600m turf race on the 11th of May, while Mosto Verde may be out on the 27th of this month. The trainer has decided to try him on dirt, at the 1400m/1600m distance, and with luck he can secure a berth in the 1400m Tokyo race scheduled this weekend.
Just logged into Carrot Club, only to find Quadrille has been retired. She started walking strange, and an X-ray showed up a break that will keep her out of action for at least six months. Maybe she can make a comeback, or maybe she'll be assigned to breeding duties, who knows?

On the next day, Fairy Robe broke a leg bone on the opposite side to Quadrille, meaning she will also be retired from racing for a minimum of six months. I can't believe that two of them have dropped out in the same week, but Thoroughbreds are fragile machines, tuned by a combination of man and nature to the extremes. They say bad things come in threes. With Tenshinramman's painful defeat on Sunday, let's hope that's the last of it!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Fairy Robe is a charming filly by Symboli Kris S out of Angel Robe. We've covered Symboli Kris S in the Harmony Fair and Lourdes No Hitomi profiles, so no need to cover that ground again. However, Angel Robe has some interesting blood, including Admire Vega (with Sunday Silence as sire and Tony Bin as damsire) as her father, and Northern Dancer DNA in her mother's line. 
Courtesy Carrot Club

Fairy Robe is based at the NAR's Kawasaki Keiba track, assigned to the well-kept Yamazaki Stable belonging to Hiromi Yamazaki. Anyone that saw the recent NHK documentary (aired a couple of months ago) will know that Kawasaki has plenty of passion and a deep love of horses, which is far more important than a glossy veneer as far as I'm concerned.

So far, Fairy Robe has had three outings, with a fourth, third and fifth giving a record of 0-0-1-2. However, her time will come, of that there's no doubt, for she definitely has the potential and a great team behind her. As soon as she learns to fight, she'll start picking up the wins...
I tend to like fillies, because there's a far higher chance that they'll live to do something productive after their racing careers have ended, especially when they have all-star bloodlines like Quadrille - she was sired by HH the Aga Khan's horse, Dalakhani, who won the L'Arc de Triomphe and the Prix du Jockey Club in France, with Dance The Classics as the dam, and Sadler's Wells as the damsire. 

I have the utmost respect for the Aga Khan's stables, past and present, so having a stake in a Dalakhani horse is quite special for me. Dalakhani is by Darshaan (another Prix du Jockey Club winner), who in turn was sired by Shirley Heights - winner of the Epsom Derby and the Irish Derby. Going back another generation brings in Mr Prospector and Crystal Palace, along with Mill Reef - an old favourite with victories in the Epsom Derby, the L'Arc de Triomphe and the King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes on his account. 
Courtesy Carrot Club

On the dam side, Sadler's Wells blood is always a bonus, bringing Northern Dancer and Hail To Reason lines together, while Dancing Brave and Blushing Groom (the latter being another important building block in the Aga Khan's stables) also feature four generations back. No wonder this horse has such a noble look about it - it's as good as equine royalty! 

Based at the Okuhira Stable at Miho Training Centre, Quadrille passed her gate test with ease, and has had two turf outings so far - a seventh, and an eighth being the results. However, the 0-0-0-2 record is sure to change, as this horse is a late developer and has the most amazing blood. Next up is the NAR contender, Fairy Robe...
Given the slow pace of his training programme, Quick Bread is made up of slow-rising flour, I reckon, but as a Nijinsky cross (4Dx4D), his potential is bound to show through sooner or later. Actually, the baking process is just starting to bring results, with 15-second furlongs now a piece of cake for his huge frame - stark contrast to only a few weeks ago, when this gentle giant was referred to as 'Tready' in the house, as all he ever seemed to do from one day to the next was treadmill work! 

The Nijinsky blood comes via Dance In The Dark (just mentioned in the Mistoffelees profile) as the damsire, and by Caerleon (winner of the Prix du Jockey Club and one of Nijinsky's finest son's), who fathered the Irish-registered broodmare Welsh Muffin, who in turn gave birth to Sweet Muffin. Sweet Muffin then provided the world with Quick Bread - her first foal. 

Courtesy Carrot Club
The sire line is crowned by the legendary sprinter Sakura Bakushin O (11-2-1), who was fathered by Sakura Yutaka O (Jaguar's grandfather). Sakura Bakushin O's dam has Northern Taste blood in her, which of course means that Northern Dancer is in the mix, too.  

The people at the Konishi Stable at Miho Training Centre did a fine job bringing Quick Bread through in his early days, as his lack of maturity meant it was impossible to make fast progress. On the track, he has had two 1800m dirt outings at Nakayama so far, and both outings were disappointing - a ninth and an eighth, although the last race did show promise. I'm sure he will make a great racer, and his 0-0-0-2 record will doubtless improve if he's switched to turf.

If nothing else, I'd love this horse as a Dressage competitor, reminding me of Nijinsky every time I saw him. It would be a fascinating experiment to take a young Thoroughbred and retrain him early on in a new discipline - it would have to be easier than teaching Jaguar new tricks! 

Monday, April 22, 2013

If you haven't got one already, be sure to obtain a copy somehow. Not only is it a damned good read, it's free, put together by the dream team of Natsuko Akita, Mayuko Akita, Noriko Abe, Kayoko Takahashi, Akemi Nakagawa, Rie Furukawa, and Tamaki Yamada.

This issue features, among other things, a piece on Bonneville Record, the life of an Assistant Trainer through the eyes of Kawasaki's Yuya Yamazaki, and profiles on four young jockeys from the 'Nankan' area. There's even a picture of crazy Louis with Shotaro Kawashima on page 15...

More Racers Revisited tomorrow, but, for today, I'm signing off. Have a great evening!
We were talking about Miracle Rouge having good blood, but that flowing through Mistoffelees is surely tainted with gold. A Northern Dancer cross (4Sx4D), this handsome colt was sired by Dance In The Dark, who won the Japanese St Leger, and had Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes winner Sunday Silence as his father. The damsire was none other than Nijinsky, my favourite racehorse who won the British Triple Crown, as well as the King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes and the Irish Derby.
Courtesy Carrot Club

On the mother's side, Kitten Tricks was never raced, but she has produced some excellent sons and daughters, passing on a combination of Northern Dancer and Majestic Prince blood (both Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes winners), as well as that of Hall of Famer Buckpasser and a certain horse called Secretariat - the famous US Triple Crown winner (you may remember I wrote about the Secretariat movie a while back).

Although Mistoffelees had been wonderful in training, probably being ready to race even quicker than Tenshinramman, he had more than his fair share of hold-ups, from skin complaints to a typical problem of tiredness that often kicks in when training young horses. The Saito Stable at Miho Training Centre (where Mosto Verde is also based) were careful to release him only when he was good and ready to show his full potential, and that showed with an amazing second place first time out, when he took on the pace from start to finish. With a 0-1-0-2 record, it doesn't reflect his ability on turf, for although he was an unexplained 13th in his second race, he was fourth at Tokyo in his latest outing. Watch this space!
Now this beauty, a Sadler's Wells cross (3Sx4D), I have quite a few shares in. She appears to run like a bandy-legged donkey chasing a carrot on Blackpool beach, but boy does she get the job done! I guess looking at the all-star bloodlines, if she didn't run hard, it would throw the established theories of the entire Thoroughbred breeding industry into disruption.

Miracle Rouge was sired by Meisho Samson, who won the Japanese Derby and the Japanese 2000 Guineas, and has Opera House down as his father - a King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes winner, as was his father before him, Sadler's Wells. The damsire was Dancing Brave, another KG&QE winner, who can also log victories in the English 2000 Guineas and the L'Arc de Triomphe on his account. And High Top should also be mentioned as another classic winner in the mix, having won the 2000 Guineas in 1972.

Courtesy Carrot Club
Miracle Raiser, the dam, is by El Condor Pasa, with an 8-3-0 record from 11 starts in top class racing, while going back another generation brings in Kingmambo and Fuji Kiseki. A further generation backwards kicks in Mr Prospector, Miesque, Assert, Sunday Silence, and Sadler's Wells again, one of Northern Dancer's finest.

Despite the fact that this attractive filly has shown signs of real speed from early on, the Uehara Stable at Miho Training Centre have given her four 2000m turf outings so far and her record still stands at 0-0-0-4. She was fourth, then sixth, fifth and then a disappointing tenth, although something wasn't right in that last race. I have a feeling patience will pay off, though...
Courtesy Carrot Club
Mosto Verde is a colt by the Japan Derby winner, Tanino Gimlet, out of Easy Lover. Tanino Gimlet was sired by Brian's Time (Jaguar's father), which means Roberto and Hail To Reason blood. The damsire was Crystal Palace (winner of the Prix du Jockey Club - the French Derby, in effect), and going back further on Tanino Gimlet's dam line brings in the legendary Sea-Bird, who won the Epsom Derby and the L'Arc de Triomphe. 

Easy Lover is actually quite an interesting horse, as she is registered as Canadian, but had a successful racing career on both turf and dirt in Chile (13-6-1 from 24 starts) before her era as a broodmare began. Some of her children have put in remarkable performances, so by mixing her blood with that of Yuzo Tanimizu's star stallion (Vodka is without doubt the star mare to come from his stable), it should give a formidable combination in terms of strength and speed, at least on paper.

Looking at the bloodlines, it's easy to see where Easy Lover gets her pace from, with Alwasmi (by Northern Dancer) as her father, and Bustino (a St Leger winner) and Highclere (one of HM the Queen's finest racehorses, taking 1000 Guineas honours as a youngster) being in his DNA make-up. On her dam side, In Reality and Foggy Note won a large number of races between them, and Northern Dancer features again if we go back a fifth generation.

The Saito Stable at Miho Training Centre have been working away slowly on this playful little character, letting him develop at a gentle pace. As such, an eighth in his one and only race so far is no big deal, as it was classed as an outing simply for gaining experience. Although his record stands at 0-0-0-1, you can expect him to dominate the turf one day. 

Sunday, April 21, 2013

These three profile updates, including Tenshinramman's adventures in Tokyo today, are enough for now, as I'm suffering from a bout of post-project tiredness - something that always kicks in as soon as a big job has been cleared off the desk. Of course, the cold doesn't help, and it doesn't look as if things are going to improve much either. Can you believe Fukushima races, not that far north of me, were called off due to snow?

Anyway, I'll leave you with the result for Quadrille from earlier in the day - an eighth place. Okay, it's nothing to do cartwheels for on paper, but this is a late developer if ever there was one, and the jockey is saying there's a good horse in there waiting to explode. With the bloodlines on this one, I recommend you take a note of the name...

Tomorrow, I'll continue through the existing mini-profiles, and then start adding the newer horses until all 23 of the current racehorses (either already running or in the early stages of training) have been covered. I think you already know enough about 'Jaguar' and 'Tenn-chan'!
Lourdes No Hitomi shares the same Symboli Kris S sire line as Harmony Fair, so no doubts on racing potential from that angle. The dam is a young horse called Mejiro Lourdes, who was never raced, but seems to pass on at least a little bit of the Sunday Silence blood of her father and the Mejiro Dober DNA of her mother if the performance of her other foals can be used as a reliable reference. Of course, the family tree makes Lourdes No Hitomi a Hail To Reason cross (4Sx4D), and if this plus point (at least in my eyes) and the win rate of the horses two generations back combines to give a magic formula, things should get interesting.

Courtesy Carrot Club
Based with the Ogasa Stable at Miho Training Centre, this beautiful filly (sporting a shiny coat in my favourite colour for a horse) was restricted to treadmill work for a while after a minor leg problem surfaced in September. However, one quickly learns with so many condition reports coming in and experience with the horses at Tokoro that Thoroughbreds are fickle things, like any high-performance machine. 

After a precautionary rest, Lourdes No Hitomi was soon back to her constant (May through August) furlong times again, and as predicted, it's a joy to watch her on the track. So far, she's been restricted to dirt races at Tokyo and Nakayama, finishing seventh on both occasions. As such, her record is 0-0-0-2, but it's sure to improve...
Harmony Fair is an attractive little filly by Symboli Kris S out of First Chair. Symboli Kris S has proved to be an excellent stallion, with Roberto as his grandfather, and Hail To Reason and Seattle Slew in the next generation back. The latter can be held up as something very special, being a Hall of Fame member thanks to his feat of becoming the tenth horse in history to take the US Triple Crown (only one has done it since then, by the way). On the mother's side, First Chair was sired by Jungle Pocket (with Tony Bin as his father), while the dam line is dominated by Sunday Silence.

This looks like the first foal of First Chair's to live long enough to reach the tracks, so it will be fascinating to see what such strong bloodlines can do as a combination. Even going back just four generations, we have an Epsom Derby winner, two Kentucky Derby winners, two Preakness Stakes winners, a Belmont Stakes winner, a Japan Derby winner, and an Irish 1000 Guineas winner in the mix.
Courtesy Carrot Club

Based with the Maki Stable at Miho Training Centre, Harmony Fair is getting closer and closer to being 
race-ready by the day. With regular 14- to 17-second furlongs clocked on the indoor course, she's obviously more than just pretty face - she could actually turn out to be a handy little racer!

As it happens, that early observation wasn't far off the mark, as she won first time out in a 1400m turf race, although she was then rather disappointing at Nakayama. Despite this, she had a G-III outing, but couldn't deliver the goods on that occasion either. She definitely has speed as a sprinter, though, and has a record of 1-0-0-2 so far.
It's been a while since these mini-profiles first appeared, so I'm putting them back up with their race records so far, ultimately making the introductions on the new horses flow easier as a series. Starting in the order these pieces originally appeared means it's Tenshinramman first...

Tenshinramman was the first of the new batch of racers to make her debut. She's by Heart's Cry out of Hana Ramman. Heart's Cry was the first horse to beat Deep Impact, and also won the 2005 edition of the Arima Kinen, which, although not a classic race in the true sense, it's a classic of sorts as it brings the best of the best together at Nakayama to provide a stunning G1 finale for the end of the year.
Courtesy Carrot Club

Anyone that knows me will appreciate the value I place on Hail To Reason blood, and Heart's Cry's father is US Hall of Famer, Sunday Silence, who was sired by Halo, who in turn was fathered by Hail To Reason. On the dam's side, we can see Tony Bin and Northern Dancer blood combining.

Tenshinramman's mother was sired by Sakura Yutaka O, himself a legend, but his bloodlines read like a who's who of the golden age of British horse racing - Hyperion, Nasrullah (by Nearco out of Mumtaz Begum), Big Game, Never Say Die, and a list as long as your arm of heroes from an earlier era. The mother's dam was Fight Boron, bringing Nasrullah into the equation again, this time via Mill Reef - winner of a number of major races, including the Epsom Derby and King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes in England, and the l'Arc de Triomphe in France.

Based with the Ito Stable at Miho Training Centre, this picture shows Tenshinramman in her first race, when she came second in a classy field at Niigata. She duly went one better in Tokyo in her next race, winning with her regular jockey, 'Kacchi' Tanaka. The Artemis Stakes was a disaster, but it wasn't really anyone's fault, and revenge was sweet with a second place and another win.

Her sixth race was today, and what a performance! Having been second favourite for the G-II Flora Stakes last night, she slipped to fifth in the betting after people factored in the number 18 starting slot. The poor thing ran the long way around for 2000m, got blocked on the last bend, yet still finished fourth, pipped by a nose - the third-placed horse raised its head as she dropped hers!! Her time over the last 3F was 34 dead, but 'Kacchi' hardly lifted the whip. With a 2-2-0-2 record, if she doesn't make The Oaks, there's no justice...