Big Shoes To Fill In Victoria Mile

Daring Tact | JRA photo


A deep and diverse field of 18 distaff turf milers will take to the Fuchu course at Toyko Sunday afternoon for the G1 Victoria Mile, a race won in its last three renewals by the outstanding Normcore (Jpn) (Harbinger {GB}, 2019), two-time Horse of the Year Almond Eye (Jpn) (Lord Kanaloa {Jpn}, 2020) and treble champion Gran Alegria (Jpn) (Deep Impact {Jpn}, 2021). The Victoria Mile serves as a 'Win and You're In' event for the GI Breeders' Cup Mile at Keeneland this November.

Several of Sunday's entrants are on a similar trajectory to those world-class gallopers, including Daring Tact (Jpn) (Epiphaneia {Jpn}), who completed the Filly Triple Crown in 2020 and makes her first appearance since finishing third to countrymates Loves Only You (Jpn) (Deep Impact {Jpn}) and Glory Vase (Jpn) (Deep Impact {Jpn}) in the G1 FWD QE II Cup over 2000 metres last April. She has since recovered from ligamentitis in her right foreleg and is capable of a good showing first-up.

“She feels a little bigger now, but I've been able to see her improvement these past three weeks,” her jockey Kohei Matsuyama commented. “A mile might be her best trip now. It will be her first time over a mile at Tokyo, but she's won over a mile, so it shouldn't be a problem. It feels like a fresh start with her now, so I want to do my best.”

Runner-up to the high-class Schnell Meister (Ger) (Kingman {GB}) in last year's G1 NHK Mile Cup over Sunday's course and distance, Songline (Jpn) (Kizuna {Jpn}) won Tokyo's 1600-metre G2 Fuji S. last October and most recently gave Japan one of its four winners on the Saudi Cup program Feb. 26, taking out the G3 1351 Turf.

“She ran well in last year's NHK Mile Cup and Fuji S., both over a mile at Tokyo, so I think she can run a big race in the Victoria Mile, too,” jockey Kenichi Ikezoe said. “The field's strong this time as well, but I think Songline has a good enough chance and I look forward to her run on the day.”

Sodashi (Jpn) (Kurofune) proved narrowly best in last year's G1 Oka Sho (Japanese 1000 Guineas) going the metric mile and defeated Loves Only You in the 2000-metre G2 Sapporo Kinen in August. Following a pair of below-par performances, she hinted at better to come with a strong third in the G1 February S. over the local dirt course Feb. 20 and gets back to perhaps her best game Sunday.




Resistencia (Jpn) (Daiwa Major {Jpn}), sixth to Gran Alegria here a year ago, came from off the speed to be second in an incident-marred G1 Longines Hong Kong Sprint (1200m) in December, then made the running in the six-furlong G1 Takamatsunomiya Kinen Mar. 27 before yielding late to be sixth. Quieter riding tactics may be in the cards Sunday.

Fresh off a trip to the GI Kentucky Derby, Christophe Lemaire takes the ride on Fine Rouge (Jpn) (Kizuna {Jpn}) here. Third in the Guineas and second in the G1 Shuka Sho in October, she resumed with a sound runner-up effort in the G3 Tokyo Shimbun Hai over track and trip Feb. 6 and has been trained to peak Sunday.

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