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December 21, 2021 (Tue)

October JRA Graded Stakes Review

The fall season kicks off in earnest in October with a slew of G1s, bringing the triple crown season to a close, and the best horses in the country get back to work.

In the 1900m, G3 Sirius Stakes on dirt at Chuyo Racecourse on October 2nd fourth favorite, Sunrise Hope(JPN) by Majestic Warrior(USA), got up to win his first graded stakes title of his career. He broke well and sat off the pace for the early stages of the race, biding his time as they went around the track. After the field turned for home, he took the lead and fought off a determined Bullbear Iride(JPN) by Kinshasa no Kiseki(AUS). Sunrise Hope(JPN) hit the wire keeping his head in front of a fast closing Westerlund(JPN) by Neo Universe(JPN). Westerlund(JPN) was second, and Bullbear Iride(JPN) was a length and three quarters back in third.

The 1200m G1 Sprinters Stakes at Nakayama Racecourse on October 3rd was the first G1 race of the fall/winter season. A new star was born when the third favorite Pixie Knight(JPN) by Maurice(JPN) got up to give his sire his first G1 winner. The three-year-old broke sharply and stalked the pace early on before making his move mid-stretch, pulling away for a decisive two-length win. G1 winner Resistencia(JPN) by Daiwa Major(JPN) was second, and Shivaji(USA) by First Samurai(USA) was a head back in third.

The 1600m G3 Saudi Arabia Royal Cup at Tokyo Racecourse on October 9th had a small field but was still full of promising two-year-olds. As they crossed the finish line, the well bred Command Line(JPN) by Deep Impact(JPN) was the post-time favorite who came out on top, capturing his first graded stakes title. He stalked the pacesetter down the backstretch and took the lead by the 300m mark. He dug deep to hold off Sternatia(JPN) by Lord Kanaloa(JPN) to win by half a length. Stunning Rose(JPN) by King Kamehameha(JPN) was a neck back in third.

The 1800m G2 Mainichi Okan at Tokyo Racecourse on October 10th is always a fantastic race where many of the best horses make their fall debut. G1 NHK Mile winner Schnell Meister(GER) by Kingman(GB) was the post time favorite and lived up to that favoritism. The three-year-old was a bit slow out of the gate, which, paired with his inside draw, forced him into the back of the pack for the majority of the race. He was able to get off the rail as they turned for home, and he used every inch of the long Tokyo stretch to work his way past the field on the outside and get his head in front at the wire. G1 winner Danon Kingly(JPN) by Deep Impact(JPN) was second, and Potager(JPN) by Deep Impact(JPN) was a length and a half back in third.

The 2400m G2 Kyoto Daishoten at Hanshin Racecourse on October 10th saw a major come back when 2016 Derby winner Makahiki(JPN) by Deep Impact(JPN) finally landed himself back in the winner's circle again after almost five years. The eight-year-old sat mid-pack for much of the race but showed some of his old sparkle in the stretch when he dug deep to catch Aristoteles(JPN) by Epiphaneia(JPN) at the wire by a nose. Kiseki(JPN) by Rulership(JPN) was another half a length back in third.

The 1800m G2 Fuchu Himba Stakes at Tokyo Racecourse on October 16th is often a prep race for the G1 Queen Elizabeth II Cup in November. Shadow Diva(JPN) by Heart's Cry(JPN) posted a mild upset when the top favorites failed to make a showing. She got pinched back at the break and settled into the back of the pack for much of the race. She rallied from the back of the pack to get her neck in front at the end. Andraste(JPN) by Orfevre(JPN) was second, and Maltese Diosa(JPN) by Kizuna(JPN) was a further length and a quarter back in third.

The 2000m G1 Shuka Sho at Hanshin Racecourse on October 17th was set up to be all about the brilliantly talented all-white filly Sodashi(JPN) by Kurofune(USA), but it wasn't meant to be. The final leg of the filly triple crown went to Akaitorino Musume(JPN) by Deep Impact(JPN), who is also the daughter of G1 Shuka Sho winner Apapane(JPN). The blue-blooded filly sat off the pace, biding her time during the race's early stages. With about 100m to go, Akaitorino Musume(JPN) leaped forward to claim her birthright, digging down to win by half a length. Fine Rouge(JPN) by Kizuna(JPN) was second, and Andvaranaut(JPN) by King Kamehameha(JPN) was another half-length back in third.

In the 1600m, G2 Fuji Stakes at Tokyo Racecourse on October 23rd, the sole three-year-old filly Songline(JPN) by Kizuna(JPN) taught her older male and female rivals how it was done. She was a bit slow to break but settled in the mid pack during the race's early stages, getting stuck on the inside rail. She weaved through horses down the backstretch to find a better position by the time they made it into the turn, she was then able to find a lane and power down the stretch, holding off her fast closing male rivals to get her first graded stakes win. Satono Wizard(JPN) by Lord Kanaloa(JPN) was second by a neck, and Time to Heaven(JPN) by Lord Kanaloa(JPN) was two lengths back in third.

The 3000m G1 Kikuka Sho (Japanese St. Leger) at Hanshin Racecourse on October 24th is the final leg of the Japanese Triple Crown. Fourth favorite Titleholder(JPN) by Duramente(JPN) gave his tragically late sire his G1 victory. Titleholder(JPN) took the lead right out of the gate and never looked back; he took over the race and kept going to demolish the field by five lengths. Orthoclase(JPN) by Epiphaneia(JPN) was second and Divine Love(JPN) also by Epiphaneia(JPN) was a head back in third.

In the 1600m, G3 Artemis Stakes at Tokyo Racecourse on October 30th seventh favorite Circle of Life(JPN) by Epiphaneia(JPN) posted an upset when she came up from mid-field to win her first graded stakes victory. She broke sharp but settled into mid-pack in the early parts of the race. With a furlong left to go in the race, she launched into overdrive, getting her neck in front at the wire. Belle Cresta(JPN) by Duramente(JPN) was second, and Shigeru Iwaizake(JPN) by Epiphaneia(JPN) was three-quarters of a length back in third.

The 1400m G2 Swan Stakes at Hanshin Racecourse on October 30th saw a comeback for G1 winner Danon Fantasy(JPN) by Deep Impact(JPN). The five-year-old filly had been off her game all year but rebounded here, rallying in the final furlong to win by three-quarters of a length. Sound Chiara(JPN) by Deep Impact(JPN) was second, and Ho O Amazon(JPN) by King Kamehameha(JPN) a half a length back in third.

The 2000m G1 Tenno Sho Autumn at Tokyo Racecourse on October 31st is the first of three major G1 races in the second half of the JRA G1 calendar where the best of Japan's middle to long-distance horses come out to play. While 2020's Triple Crown hero, Contrail(JPN) by Deep Impact(JPN), was favored to win, it was three-year-old G1 Satsuki Sho winner Efforia(JPN) by Epiphaneia(JPN) who took home top prize. He broke well but settled into mid-pack as the horses made their way into the race's first turn. He was well-positioned as they turned for home, in front of Contrail(JPN) most of the way. He chased down Gran Alegria(JPN) by Deep Impact(JPN), who had gotten to the lead before him and held off Contrail(JPN) easily to win by a length. Contrail(JPN) was second, and Gran Alegria(JPN) was a neck back in third.

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

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