Friday, February 27, 2015

JRA Results

After a great morning of intensive training with 'Bugatti', Eclat De Reve was a bit disappointing at the Hanshin track, finishing seventh. But having lost six kilos, which took the horse to below 400kg, I guess it ran as best it could. Practice times apart, the bottom line is it will need a lot more bulking up before it can become a competitive racehorse.

On the other hand, Massabielle's second place at Nakayama was very pleasing, as the jockey noted there is still a lot of scope for improvement - it will come with a combination of the passage of time and a suitable training schedule to tighten things up. In reality, Massabielle is probably our finest JRA prospect, clocking up a 1-1-0 record from two runs. I'm already looking forward to his next outing...

Million Ways

If you've been following the blog, you'll know that I love Vermilion. You may also know that I had a Vermilion kid that died only hours before it's debut (the only grey I'd ever fallen in love with), and the replacement I had in mind was so oversubscribed, I had no chance of getting it and went for an alternative strategy with Shadai for the coming season. Although I'd said I wasn't buying any more Carrot Club horses, Million Ways at least gives me a Vermillion runner.

Courtesy Carrot Club
As we said in the Monsoon Trough profile, Vermilion has just started his career as a sire, and with him winning so many big dirt races for the Sunday Thoroughbred Club (including the Japan Cup Dirt, Teio Sho, and JBC Classic no less than three times), if he's a good father, his services will cost an awful lot more than they do at the moment...

Vermilion gets his speed from a combination of El Condor Pasa blood, who was his sire, and Sunday Silence, who acted as damsire. El Condor Pasa 
we covered in Miracle Rouge's profile (a Sadler's Wells cross, and our most recent winner), while Sunday Silence is one of the most well-known US Triple Crown winners of them all, having a huge influence on Japanese bloodlines.

On the dam side, despite being unraced herself, Simple The Best has a good record for producing winners, and adds yet more Northern Dancer blood into the mix in this case. The damsire, Thunder Gulch, won the Kentucky Derby and Belmont Stakes, only just missing out on a US Triple Crown, so this is another reason to be hopeful that we've got a potential NAR star on our hands here.

Infinity Love

Courtesy Carrot Club
I've never met Yahagi-sensei or managed to have a horse with him, but I've seen a number of documentaries on him (as well as his famous red hat in the paddock a few times), and I like the way he works and thinks. With that in mind, the chance to have a Falbrav filly with his stable in Ritto was another temptation that was impossible to resist. So this is the second - and last - JRA runner with Carrot Club that I've bought a stake in this year.

The sire on this particular horse (a Northern Dancer, Nijinsky and Hail To Reason cross) is Falbrav, who won some big races in Italy before going on to take the Japan Cup, the Eclipse Stakes and the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes. Going back three or four generations, we have Seattle Slew, Nearco and Ribot, so there's some classic bloodlines in the mix, although it is in the dam line where Nijinsky - my favourite racehorse of them all - comes into the equation. The dam is Starlit Love, who never had much of a race career, but she passes on that coveted Nijinsky DNA via Maruzensky, as well as that of Hail To Reason through her sire, Special Week. If this newcomer performs half as well as Special Week, I shall be a happy bunny...


Courtesy Carrot Club
I've really admired what Ogata-sensei has done with Belle Plage this past year, so when the opportunity came to have another King Kamehameha filly with him, I couldn't resist it, even though I had made a decision to concentrate on NAR racing only in Japan....

Anyway, there's no need to go too heavy on introducing King Kamehameha, as we profiled him when we first looked at Belle Plage. It is interesting to note, though, that King Kamehameha won the 71st Japanese Derby and passed the post first in all but one of his eight races. He also has some fabulous bloodlines, which will hopefully endow Larressingle with the potential to win.

As for the dam, we have Aubergade - a French mare that was shipped to Japan after achieving a 2-2-2 record from 12 starts. Her sire was Kaldoun, one of the Aga Khan's horses that won five races and went on to be a Champion Sire in France. Watch out for this little lady, who will be based at the Ogata Stables at Miho Training Centre.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Saturday Sloggers

Two runners on the 28th - Eclat De Reve in the fifth at Hanshin (1800m over turf), with Ryuji Wada in the saddle, and Miura Kosei teaming up with Massabielle in the 2200m ninth at Nakayama. I'm particularly interested in seeing what 'Massa' can do after such a stunning debut. In other news, Rush Attack is set to run at Nakayama on the 8th March, and Perfumer should be making the track soon...

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Word Play

Quite a few JRA reports, but virtually every one had an all-too familiar nine-letter word beginning with 't' and ending with 'mill' at the start of it, which is another way of saying they're all on holiday with no prospect of them going near a racetrack any time soon. To add salt into the wound, J'ai Un Reve has joined them! It's starting to look like buying into this particular horse was an expensive mistake - there's no point owning a racehorse that doesn't race, and from what I've seen and read so far, I don't honestly think those charged with training it are particularly bothered whether it succeeds or not. I'm certainly not feeling the commitment I felt from Sugar-sensei with Irish Harp, that's for sure, and that horse cost a fraction of this one.

On the NAR front, Beat The Boarder has been refused an entry on her proposed outing for tomorrow, which brings her value even more into question. I popped into TCK yesterday, but didn't see anyone. As such, I've just seen the news this morning, and I have to say I'm far from happy about it. Ultimately, I'd like to know what was happening with regard to the future - a race on the 26th would have helped clarify things, while now we have another long wait before a judgement can be made. At least Phosphorus and Pop Label are due to run at the next Funabashi meeting, so that's something to look forward to...

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Monty Python

What a strange race. Virtually everyone had written J'ai Un Reve off before the race even started, as his training team said he was not only far from fully developed, but slow out of the gate and not much different once he got going. As a result, it turns out the plan was to give him a quiet run to build up some experience and nothing else. Well, he rocketed out of the gate, taking the jockey by surprise, and by the time he'd realised he'd got something quite different underneath him to what he'd been told to expect, the race had moved up a gear. Had he been told simply to follow his instinct, I don't think he would have taken the final line he did for the run-in, as he could have given himself more space for a sprint. As such, seventh is bitterly disappointing, especially for a horse costing as much as he did, handled by what is supposed to be a dream team. They couldn't even tell the jockey what to expect, and need to be asking why he runs so different for someone that has just sat on him for the first time. I'd be lying if I said I was happy, but, in some ways, as long as things pick up from here, it's probably better for the horse's development than a debut win that would put him in a different league all too quickly.