Derby Winner Makes 2024 Bow In Osaka Hai

Tastiera winning the Derby | Japan Racing Association


Despite an ever-growing Japanese presence at the Dubai World Cup meeting in the UAE, Sunday's 2000-metre G1 Osaka Hai at Hanshin still boasts five Group 1 winners, four of them Classic scorers and several other progressive types hunting for their first Group 1 ring.

One of the top picks in the 16-strong field is last year's G1 Tokyo Yushun (Japanese Derby) winner, Tastiera (Jpn) (Satono Crown {Jpn}), who ran second in both the G1 Satsuki Sho (Japanese 2000 Guineas)–to Sol Oriens (Jpn) (Kitasan Black {Jpn})–and the G1 Kikuka Sho (Japanese St Leger) on either side of his Derby win from May to October, and lines up for his 2024 bow. Sixth with traffic trouble behind G1 Dubai Turf hope Do Deuce (Jpn) (Heart's Cry {Jpn}) in the G1 Arima Kinen in December, he will break from gate three.

Trainer Noriyuki Hori said, “His appetite has been good, and better than it was before the Arima Kinen, so he's healthy and in good condition overall. He's been training solo and running well, with some power still in reserve. We've been careful not to overwork him, getting him just to stretch out at the finish in training. His breathing is good as well. While his footwork is still a little heavy, I have a good image of him going into this race.”

Favoured for Sunday's test is filly-on-the-up Harper (Jpn) (Heart's Cry {Jpn}). Ninth in the Arima Kinen after a midpack trip, that effort does not reflect her true merits, as the 2023 G3 Daily Hai Nisai Queen victress ran fourth in the G1 Oka Sho (Japanese 1000 Guineas), second in the G1 Yushun Himba (Japanese Oaks) and third in the G1 Shuka Sho (Japanese Fillies' St Leger), all to turf superstar Liberty Island (Jpn) (Duramente {Jpn}), who is competing in arguably the race-of-the-year at Meydan on Saturday, the G1 Dubai Sheema Classic.

“She had a break at Northern Farm Shigaraki, with this next race in mind,” said trainer Yasuo Tomomichi. “She's handled her workload in training well, and her reactions at the finish have been good. The weather on the day is an issue, but I'm not particularly worried about soft ground for her.”

Although left with too much to do when too far back to be eighth contesting the G1 Hong Kong Cup during the Longines Hong Kong International Races, Sunday Racing's Rousham Park (Jpn) (Harbinger {GB}) won both the G3 Hakodate Kinen and G2 Sankei Sho All Comers S. in succession in July and September of 2023.

“He's still a horse that's improving, and since before, I've seen him filling out and getting into better shape,” said trainer Hiroyasu Tanaka. “His appetite's been better on his return to the stable this time. I've been pleased with him physically so far this year, but there's just a bit more for him to improve on mentally.”

Fourth choice Pradaria (Jpn) (Deep Impact {Jpn}) defeated Bellagio Opera (Jpn) (Lord Kanaloa {Jpn}) in the G2 Kyoto Kinen, and will be shortening up 200 metres. He will break from gate eight.

Said conditioner Manabu Ikezoe, “He's had the same training pattern as before his last race. His rider has been pleased with his work, and says his footwork is good. His times have been fine, including a final furlong time of :11.3 seconds, and he's improving going into this race. Soft ground wouldn't be a worry, and it's mostly about how he'll handle the flow of things in the race itself. He has another good chance to win.”

A winner of the 2022 edition of the Fillies' St Leger, Stunning Rose (Jpn) (King Kamehameha {Jpn}) is aiming for redemption, as are fellow Group 1 winners Geoglyph (Jpn) (Drefong) and Killer Ability (Jpn) (Deep Impact {Jpn}). The last-named horse won the G1 Hopeful S. back in 2021, and is making his first start back in Japan after running with credit when second to Spirit Dancer (GB) (Frankel {GB}) in the G2 Neom Turf Cup in Saudi Arabia on February.

Rail-drawn Mikki Gorgeous (Jpn) (Mikki Rocket {Jpn}) is a live longshot, and, although she is 17-1 in the ante-post betting, she has compiled a three-straight winning streak, including the G3 Aichi Hai over this trip at Kokura on Jan. 13.

Not a subscriber? Click here to sign up for the daily PDF or alerts.

Copy Article Link

Liked this article? Read more like this.

  1. Stellenbosch Gunning For Classic Double In Yushun Himba
  2. Ballydoyle Stayers Out In Force On Friday
  3. Friendly Soul Steps Up In The Musidora
  4. Henry Longfellow Bids For Classic Glory
  5. Namur Razor Sharp For Victoria Mile

Never miss another story from the TDN

Click Here to sign up for a free subscription.