Fresh Red le Zele One To Beat In February S.

Red le Zele training in Dubai last March | Coady


Consistent as the day is long, with just three finishes outside the top three from 19 career starts, Red le Zele (Jpn) (Lord Kanaloa {Jpn}) looks to give his outstanding sire a first top-level scorer on the dirt in Sunday's G1 February S. at Tokyo Racecourse.

Victorious in the 1400-meter G3 Negishi S. at headquarters last January, Red le Zele ran on to finish fourth behind Cafe Pharoah (American Pharoah) in this event, then shipped to Dubai, where he was an excellent runner-up beneath Ryan Moore in the G1 Dubai Golden Shaheen in March. A close third off a six-month break in the Listed Tokyo Hai at Ohi in early October, the 6-year-old exits a comprehensive three-length defeat of Sunrise Nova (Jpn) (Majestic Warrior) in the valuable Listed JBC Sprint at Kanazawa Nov. 3.

“He is probably better now compared to last year, when he finished fourth in this race,” said trainer Takayuki Yasuda. “He has developed nicely and I think he can put in another big run.”

Cafe Pharoah seems to save his best for the Tokyo 1600 metres, where he is a perfect three-from-three. After accounting for the venerable Air Spinel (Jpn) (King Kamehameha {Jpn}) by three-parts of a length 12 months ago, he failed to land a serious blow in three subsequent appearances, including a distant 11th to the G1 Saudi Cup-bound T O Keynes (Jpn) (Sinister Minister) in the G1 Champions Cup over nine furlongs at Chukyo Dec. 5.

T M South Dam (Jpn) (South Vigorous) is in with a puncher's chance, with nine wins from 18 starts, including the Listed Hyogo Gold Trophy at Sonoda in late December followed by a one-length tally in this year's Negishi S. Jan. 30.

Two-time champion Sodashi (Jpn) (Kurofune), last year's G1 Oka Sho (Japanese 1000 Guineas) heroine who defeated Eclipse Award winner Loves Only You (Jpn) (Deep Impact {Jpn}) in the G2 Sapporo Kinen, tries the dirt for the second time in her career, having disappointed at skinny odds when a well-beaten 12th in the Champions Cup.

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