Hearts Concerto Looms a Double-Digit Danger in Hopeful

Hearts Concerto | JRA photo


Wednesday's Hopeful S. is the last of 24 Group 1 events on the JRA circuit for 2022 and the event has attracted a wide-open group of juveniles who will try to prove their mettle over the 2000-metres.

Hearts Concerto (Jpn) (Heart's Cry {Jpn}) could offer value relative to what he's accomplished in his two racetrack appearances to date. The bay dismantled a group of newcomers by eight resounding lengths as the 9-10 chalk going this trip at Chukyo Sept. 18 and was the hot favourite for the nine-furlong G2 Tokyo Sports Hai Nisai S. at headquarters Nov. 19. It all went wrong when he walked out of the stalls, spotting his rivals several lengths, but he closed off in a race-best :33.8 to finish a good third to the re-opposing Gastrique (Jpn) (Just a Way {Jpn}). He was trading at better than 10-1 on the JRA tote as of this writing.

“He missed the break [last time] and was left behind, and that really hurt,” said trainer Ryo Takei. “His preparation after that race has all gone smoothly. I think the extra distance is a plus and the conditions are better for him here.”

Mikki Cappuccino (Jpn) (Epiphaneia {Jpn}) is perfect in his two starts, each over 10 furlongs. A narrow debut winner, with future Group 3 winner Gruner Green (Jpn) (Lovely Day {Jpn}) third, at Tokyo Oct. 9, he jumped out of the ground in the final furlong and shot away to take a course-and-distance allowance by a widening 3 1/2 lengths when last seen Dec. 3. Keita Tosaki will have to work out a trip from barrier 18.

Since finishing third in an 1800-metre heat at Hakodate in July, King's Reign (Jpn) (Rulership {Jpn}) has won back-to-back races, including a 1 1/2-length tally in a one-win class allowance over the 2000 metres at Tokyo in early November. Christophe Lemaire retains the ride.

J Palms (Jpn) (Just a Way {Jpn}) is a son of the American-bred mare Killer Graces (Congaree), making him a half-brother to last year's Hopeful hero Killer Ability (Jpn) (Deep Impact {Jpn}). He got his career off on a popular and winning note in his lone career start, carrying Lemaire to a three-length victory at odds of 2-5 in a Tokyo newcomers' event Nov. 5. David Egan, who has ridden nine winners from 52 rides on his current short-term contract in Japan, takes the call for Noriyuki Hori.

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