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December 27, 2021 (Mon)

November JRA Graded Stakes Review

The second to last month of the year is always a big one in the JRA, with three major G1 events culminating with the G1 Japan Cup. Despite the ongoing pandemic, three foreign raiders were able to make it over and give the international invitational the foreign flare it has been known for decades.

In the 1400m, G2 Keio Hai Nisai Stakes at Tokyo Racecourse on November 6th King Hermes(JPN) by Lord Kanaloa(JPN) posted a mild upset. He stalked the pace throughout before taking over the lead at the 400m mark. He held the lead firmly till the end to win by a length and a quarter. Toshin Macau(JPN) by Big Arthur(JPN) was second, and Lovely Your Eyes(JPN) by Logotype(JPN) was three quarters back in third.

In the 1400m, G3 Fantasy Stakes at Hanshin Racecourse on November 6th, Water Navillera(JPN) by Silver State(JPN) gave her freshman sire his first graded stakes win of his career. She stalked the pace from the break and held off a determined Namura Clair(JPN) by Miki Isle(JPN) to win by three-quarters of a length. Mama Cocha(JPN) by Kurofune(USA) was a length and three quarters back in third.

The 2500m G2 Copa Republican Argentina at Tokyo Racecourse on November 7th is a prep race for the G1 Japan Cup at the end of the month. Authority(JPN) by Orfevre(JPN) has proven himself to be a very capable stayer in Japan, winning this race last year and the 2400m G2 Aoba Sho last year as well. The four-year-old made it two in a row after stalking the pace and pulling away to win by two and a half lengths. Meiner Virtus(JPN) by Screen Hero(JPN) was second, and Fly Like Bird(JPN) by Screen Hero(JPN) was three-quarters of a length back in third.

The 1800m G3 Miyako Stakes on dirt at Hanshin Racecourse on November 7th had a mild upset when Meisho Hario(JPN) by Pyro(USA) held on to win a photo finish by a nose over Lord Bless(JPN) by Danon Ballade(JPN). The four-year-old colt was mid-pack for most of the race and mustered a strong closing kick as they came dashing down the stretch. Lord Bless(JPN) didn't give him an inch to breathe as they neared the finish line, hitting it at the same time. Two and a half lengths back was Another Truth(JPN) by I'll Have Another(USA), who had led the whole way held on for third. This was Meisho Hario(JPN)'s first graded stakes win and Pyro(USA)'s third JRA graded stakes winner.

In the 1600m, G3 Musashino Stakes on dirt at Tokyo Racecourse on November 13th, Soliste Thunder(JPN) by Toby's Corner(USA) gave his sire his first graded stakes win. He broke well and settled in mid-pack for the first half of the race before making his move mid-stretch when he hit the lead with a furlong and a half to go. He pulled away to win by a length and a quarter. Air Spinel(JPN) by King Kamehameha(JPN) was second, and Omega Rainbow(JPN) by I'll Have Another(USA) was half a length back in third.

Post-time favorite Serifos(JPN) by Daiwa Major(JPN) broke slowly in the 1600m G2 Daily Hai Nisai Stakes at Hanshin Racecourse on November 13th, but that didn't affect the outcome. He charged down the center of the track to catch Sonnet Phrase(JPN) by Epiphaneia(JPN) by a neck at the wire. Kawakita Reverie(JPN) by Drefong(USA) was a length and three quarters back in third.

The 2200m G1 Queen Elizabeth II Cup at Hanshin Racecourse on November 14th saw a major upset when 10th favorite Akai Ito(JPN) by Kizuna(JPN) impressively won, giving her sire his first G1 winner in the process. Kizuna(JPN) has been producing graded stakes winners all over the place but had yet to break the glass ceiling and get a G1 win, but this promising young filly changed all that. She broke slow, settled in the back for most of the race, and moved up as they turned for home. Swinging wide on the last turn, she pulled away to win by two. Stellaria(JPN), also by Kizuna(JPN), was second and Clavel(JPN) by Epiphaneia(JPN) was a neck back in third.

In the 2000m, G3 Fukushima Kinen at Fukushima Racecourse on November 14th, Panthalassa(JPN) by Lord Kanaloa(JPN) took the lead and never looked back. Dozens of lengths separated the field during the majority of the race, but that never fazed the four-year-old who kept his lead the entire time and started to pull away even further in the stretch to win by four lengths, completely unchallenged. Humidor(JPN) by Orfevre(JPN) was second, and Arata(JPN) by King Kamehameha(JPN) was half a length back in third.

In the 1800m, G2 Tokyo Sports Hai Nisai Stakes at Tokyo Racecourse on November 20th Equinox(JPN) by Kitasan Black(JPN) gave his sire his first graded stakes winner. He settled near the back of the pack in the early part of the race before charging down the stretch to hit the lead with 100m to go. He quickly pulled away to win by an impressive two and a half lengths. Asahi(JPN) by Curren Black Hill(JPN) was second, and Tendence(JPN) by Just a Way(JPN) was three-quarters of a length back in third.

The 1600m G1 Mile Championship at Hanshin Racecourse on November 21st was champion Gran Alegria(JPN) by Deep Impact(JPN)'s final race of her career. Even after a disappointing third-place finish in the G1 Tenno Sho Autumn last month, she was still the post-time favorite, and she did not disappoint her supporters. As usual, she settled in the back before swinging wide and charging down the center of the track to beat the boys yet again. It was the performance everyone expected, and she delivered. Schnell Meister(GER) by Kingman(GB) was second by three-quarters of a length, and Danon the Kid(JPN) by Just a Way(JPN) was a further half a length back in third.

In the 2000m, G3 Kyoto Nisai Stakes at Hanshin Racecourse on November 27th, Justin Rock(JPN) by Leontes(JPN) gave his sire his first JRA graded stakes winner. He was slow out of the gate and settled near the back of the pack early on. He started to make his move in the turn, and by the time they got to the top of the stretch, he was in striking position. It took him about a furlong of dueling it out with his competitors before he got an edge to win by a length and a half. Be Astonished(JPN) by American Patriot(USA) was second, and Fidele(JPN) by Heart's Cry(JPN) was a nose back in third.

In the 1200m, G3 Keihan Hai at Hanshin Racecourse on November 28th, Eighteen Girl(JPN) by Johannesburg(USA) pulled off a major upset when she turned in a performance of a lifetime. Since the start can be one of the most critical moments in a sprint, her slow start should have ruled her out of the race, especially since she was literally in the back of the pack. As they went into the turn, she started to make up a little ground and was forced to swing very wide as they came into the stretch. Charging down the center of the track, the five-year-old mare made it look easy as she crossed the finish line a length in front of her nearest rival. Taisei Vision(JPN) by Turtle Bowl(IRE) was second, and First Force(JPN) by Lord Kanaloa(JPN) was a neck back in third.

The 2400m G1 Japan Cup at Tokyo Racecourse on November 28th was 2020 Triple Crown winner Contrail(JPN) by Deep Impact(JPN)'s swan song, and he did not disappoint this time. After a trio of decent but non-winning efforts, the nearly black colt put in the performance the whole world expected, pulling clear to win by two lengths. Authority(JPN) by Orfevre(JPN) was second, and 2021 Derby winner Shahryar(JPN) by Deep Impact(JPN) was a length and a half back in third. Contrail(JPN) might not have been able to end his career undefeated as he had when he clinched his Triple Crown title, but the fantastic racehorse was still able to take a bow on a winning note. He will join the ranks of Shadai Stallion Station next spring to start his stallion career.

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/


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