Horse of the Year Efforia Resumes in Osaka Hai

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Efforia winning the Arima Kinen | JRA photo

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A bit more than three months removed from a championship-clinching victory in the G1 Arima Kinen, Japan's reigning Horse of the Year Efforia (Jpn) (Epiphaneia {Jpn}) makes a much-anticipated return to the races in a high-class renewal of the G1 Osaka Hai (2000m) at Hanshin Racecourse.

Winner of six of his seven career starts, the bay son of Katies Heart (Jpn) (Heart's Cry {Jpn}) won the G1 Satsuki Sho (Japanese 2000 Guineas) by three easy lengths and looked all over a winner of the G1 Tokyo Yushun (Japanese Derby) before being chinned on the wire by last weekend's G1 Longines Dubai Sheema Classic hero Shahryar (Jpn) (Deep Impact {Jpn}). Efforia beat Triple Crown and subsequent G1 Japan Cup winner Contrail (Jpn) (Deep Impact {Jpn}) on the square when resuming in the G1 Tenno Sho (Autumn) over this trip Oct. 31 and locked up Horse of the Year honours in the fan-voted Arima Kinen on Boxing Day.

“He came back to the stable from Northern Farm Tenei on Mar. 4, and his weight was around 530kg,” commented trainer Yuichi Shikato. “This has given us some leeway with his training, and while last time he did have a slight hoof issue, this isn't a problem now. He has been running with a good rhythm and all's well with him so far.”

 

 

 

It will have been a busy weekend for one-time Japanese Horse of the Year Maurice (Jpn), with three runners in the G1 Australian Derby at The Championships on Saturday and the highly progressive Jack d'Or (Jpn) in the Osaka Hai. Raced exclusively over the metric 10 furlongs in his nine visits to the races to date, the bald-faced chestnut has won five on the trot, including a front-running, 2 1/2-length defeat of this race's defending champion Lei Papale (Jpn) (Deep Impact {Jpn}) and the re-opposing Akai Ito (Jpn) (Kizuna {Jpn}) in the G2 Kinko Sho at Chukyo Mar. 13. Each of the mares was first-up last time, with Lei Papale having finished sixth to Loves Only You (Jpn) (Deep Impact {Jpn}) in the G1 Longines Hong Kong Cup and Akai Ito a midfield seventh in the Arima Kinen.

Hishi Iguazu (Jpn) (Heart's Cry {Jpn}) was a cracking fifth first off an eight-month absence behind Efforia in the Tenno Sho and came from well back in the field to nearly upset Loves Only You when last seen at Sha Tin.

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