page top

Home > Topics > March JRA Graded Stakes Review

Topics

May 26, 2021 (Wed)

March JRA Graded Stakes Review

March is pack with prep races for the 2021 Classic season and the critical prep races for significant G1 events later in the Spring.

In the 1200m G3 Ocean Stakes at Nakayama Racecourse on March 6th, Deep Impact(JPN)'s Contra Check(JPN) posted a major upset as the eleventh favorite, narrowly beating out favorite Curren Moe(JPN). Curren Moe(JPN), the daughter of two champion sprinters, Lord Kanaloa(JPN) and Curren Chan(JPN), was the heavy favorite at post time. The two mares ran side by side from the start, closely stalking the pacesetter. When they got to the stretch, it looked like Curren Moe(JPN) was going to get her first graded stakes win, but Contra Check(JPN) dug deep and rebounded to get her nose in front just as they crossed the wire, claiming her third graded stakes title. Pacesetter Bien Fait(JPN) by Kizuna(JPN) was a length and a quarter back in third.

The 1600m G2 Tulip Sho at Hanshin Racecourse on March 6th was a Japanese 1000 Guineas Trial, and with it came a new start for all the wrong reasons. Meikei Yell(JPN) by Mikki Isle(JPN) was already a graded stakes winner in her own right, but her wild antics in this race earned her a boatload of new fans that only the most eccentric horses in Japanese racing history have garnered. The speedy filly most displeased with being asked to rate by jockey Yutaka Take and gave him a hard time until he was able to angle her out and let her run at her own pace. While most horses would have ended up using themselves up with such antics, Meikei Yell(JPN) miraculously about to hold on to dead heat for first place with Elizabeth Tower(GB) by Kingman(GB). Elizabeth Tower(GB) didn't make it easy on Meikei Yell(JPN), giving her a proper stretch duel all the way down to the wire. Stutti(JPN) by Maurice(JPN) was a neck back in third. All three earned berth into the G1 Oka Sho(Japanese 1000 Guineas) on April 11th.

The 2000m G2 Yayoi Sho at Nakayama Racecourse on March 7th was a Japanese 2000 Guineas Trial. Titleholder(JPN) by Duramente(JPN) expertly wired the major classic prep giving his sire his first graded stakes winner in the process. Throughout the race, Titleholder(JPN) never really saw much threat from his fellow three-year-olds as he raced over the same course as the G1 Satsuki Sho(Japanese 2000 Guineas). Schnell Meister(GER) by Kingman(GB) was a length and a quarter back in second. Last year's champion two-year-old Danon the Kid(JPN) by Just a Way(JPN) closed a bit too late and was a neck back in third. All three earned berth into the G1 Satsuki Sho(Japanese 2000 Guineas) on April 18th.

In the 1800m, G3 Nakayama Himba Stakes at Nakayama Racecourse on March 13th Rambling Alley(JPN) by Deep Impact(JPN) chased down front runner Rose Amour(JPN) by Rose Kingdom(JPN) and got her nose in front to capture her first graded stakes race. Rambling Alley(JPN) sat mid-pack for most of the race and came roaring down the middle of the stretch to catch the front runners. Rose Amour(JPN) held on for second while hard-knocking Fairy Polka(JPN) by Rulership(JPN) was a neck back in third.

The 2000m G2 Kinko Sho at Chukyo Racecourse on March 14th was given a massive boost in class, with last year's Filly Triple Crown winner Daring Tact(JPN) by Epiphaneia(JPN) choosing it as her first start of the year. However, it proved to be a slightly disappointing result for the talented filly as she was unable to catch front runner Gibeon(JPN) by Deep Impact(JPN) in the final strides. Tenth favorite Gibeon(JPN) broke sharp and took the lead and never looked backed, seeming to enjoy the yielding turf course, and kept his neck in front of a fast closing Daring Tact(JPN) to post an enormous upset. Potager(JPN) by Deep Impact(JPN) was half a length back in third.

The 1400m G2 Fillies' Revue at Hanshin Racecourse on March 14th was a Japanese 1000 Guineas Trial. Eighth Favorite Shigeru Pink Ruby(JPN) by Maurice(JPN) pulled off an upset to capture her first graded stakes win and gave her sire his second stakes winner of the year. She sat mid-pack in the early stages of the race before digging deep and working her way towards the lead in the stretch to get her neck in front, defeating second favorite and Kumamoto Prefecture darling Yoka Yoka(JPN) by Squirtle Squirt(USA). Minnie Isle(JPN) by Mikki Isle(JPN) was a length back in third. All three earned berth into the G1 Oka Sho(Japanese 1000 Guineas) on April 11th.

In the 1800m G3 Flower Cup at Nakayama Racecourse on March 20th, Ho O Ixelles(JPN) by Rulership(JPN) posted a slight upset and earned her first graded stakes win. She broke sharp and stalked the pace early on, and as they turned for home, she had been expertly positioned behind the front runner launch into her stretch drive and was able to pull clear from the rest field to win by a length and a quarter. Second favorite Enthusiasm(JPN) by Deep Impact(JPN) dug deep to get up and hang on for a second. Favorite Uberleben(JPN) by Gold Ship(JPN) was denied by a head bob and had to settle for third by a nose.

The 1400m G3 Falcon Stakes at Chukyo Racecourse on March 20th was wired by Rooks Nest(JPN) by Maurice(JPN), becoming his sire's third graded stakes winner of the year. He broke sharp and settled into his own pace well during the early stages of the race before hitting the stretch where he was able to win by a head. Grenadier Guards(JPN) by Frankel(GB) kept the pressure on Rooks Nest(JPN) the entire way around the track, sticking close to his side all the way until the wire making his rival really work for his win. Mondreise(JPN) by Daiwa Major(JPN) was two and a half lengths back in third.

The 1800m G2 Spring Stakes at Nakayama Racecourse on March 21st was a Japanese 2000 Guineas Trial where the first three finishers earn an automatic berth into the G1 Satsuki Sho(Japanese 2000n Guineas) on April 18th. Third favorite Victipharus(JPN) by Heart's Cry(JPN) sat mid-pack early on and showed a tremendous turn of foot as he came storming down the center of the stretch to get his head in front in the final strides. Asamano Itazura(JPN) by Victoire Pisa(JPN) had to settle for second place. Favorite Boden(JPN) by Harbinger(GB) was a length and three quarters back in third.

The 3000m G2 Hanshin Daishoten at Hanshin Racecourse on March 21st is often used as a prep race for the 3200m G1 Tenno Sho Spring on May 2nd. Deep Bond(JPN) by Kizuna(JPN) gave his sire his second graded stakes winner of the year. He showed brilliant stamina, stalking the base in about fourth position before moving up a bit as they neared the turn for home. He took control of the race; however, the race was over, and he pulled away to win by an incredible five lengths. You Can Smile(JPN) by King Kamehameha(JPN) was second, and Namura Donovan(JPN) by Deep Brillante(JPN) was three-fourths of a length back in third.

The 2500m G2 Nikkei Sho at Nakayama Racecourse on March 27th is often used as a prep race for the 3200m G1 Tenno Sho Spring on May 2nd. Win Marilyn(JPN) by Screen Hero(JPN) found her way back to the winner circle again to claim her second graded stakes title of her career. She was pretty impressive, beating two well-established stayers in the process. She broke well and closely stalked the pace early on, but once she hit the top of the stretch, she took off like a rocket and confidently held off the competition till the end. Highly rated mare Curren Bouquetd'or (JPN) by Deep Impact(JPN) had to settle for second by half a length. G1 winner World Premiere(JPN) by Deep Impact(JPN) was a neck back in third.

The 1800m G3 Mainichi Hai at Hanshin Racecourse on March 27th is often used as a final prep race for the G1 Satsuki Sho(Japanese 2000 Guineas) on April 18th. This year's renewal had a small field but ended in a Deep Impact(JPN) trifecta. Eventual winner Shahryar(JPN) sat in fourth position early on, though there was a brief moment where he got stuck in traffic as they entered the stretch, a gap opened, and he responded immediately, surging for the lead. He held off favorite Great Magician(JPN) by a neck as they crossed the wire, who had had to work his way up from further back. Prognosis(JPN) was a length and three quarters back in third.

The 1800m G3 March Stakes at Nakayama Racecourse on March 28th was the only dirt graded stakes in the JRA in March. Rapier Wit(JPN) by Henny Hughes(USA) captured his first graded stakes win, posting a slight upset as the sixth betting favorite at post time. He is the full brother to G1 winner Asia Express(USA). He broke sharply and sat third behind the pacesetters early on before making his move in the stretch and hitting the front around the 200m mark. He was able to hold off a closing History Maker(JPN) by Empire Maker(USA) by half a length. Memory Ko(JPN) by Espoir City(JPN) was a further three lengths back in third.

In the 1200m G1 Takamatsunomiya Kinen at Chukyo Racecourse on March 28th, Danon Smash(JPN) by Lord Kanaloa(JPN) finally achieved his first domestic G1 win after several years of close calls. The talented sprinter made his first start after impressively winning the G1 Hong Kong Sprint last December and continued to follow his sire's footsteps by capturing the spring G1 sprint in Japan. It wasn't an easy win for the colt as he had to hold off champion Resistencia(JPN) by Daiwa Major(JPN), who was right by his side all the way down the stretch, putting the pressure on. Danon Smash(JPN) was able to keep his neck in front of the talented filly, and Indy Champ(JPN) by Stay Gold(JPN) was another neck back in third.

Twelve JRA horses made their way to the United Arab Emirates for the 25th running of the Dubai World Cup. While not all of them performed to their connection's expectations, there were several exciting outcomes on the night. G1 winning fillies Chrono Genesis(JPN) by Bago(FR) and Loves Only You(JPN) by Deep Impact(JPN) went to all-out war against each other down the stretch of the G1 Dubai Sheema Classic, only to be beaten by Saudi Cup champion Mishriff(IRE) by Make Believe(GB) in the final strides. It was a thriller with both fillies charging full throttle towards the finish line, but Chrono Genesis(JPN) got her neck in front of Loves Only You(JPN) to finish second, a further neck behind winner Mishriff(IRE). The other big thrill of the night was Chuwa Wizard(JPN)'s performance in the G1 Dubai World Cup. The son of King Kamehameha(JPN) was much improved after his start and subsequent poor finish in the Saudi Cup a month earlier. He broke well and took a good position behind pacesetters in the early stages of the race and closed remarkably well to finish a promising second three lengths behind run-away winner Mystic Guide(USA) by Ghostzapper(USA).

All JRA graded stakes results and race replays are available on Japan Association for International Racing, and Stud Book (JAIRS)'s website: http://japanracing.jp/.


Please contact our representative below for further details:
Satomi Oka (Ms)
Satomi Oka Bloodstock Pty Ltd
E-mail : satomi@bloodstock.jp
Tel : +61 414 414 450