Jack d'Or Has Recency Advantage In Star-Studded Tenno Sho

Jack d'Or | JRA photo


A formidable trio exiting this year's Japanese Triple Crown returns to the races in Sunday's G1 Tenno Sho (Autumn) at Tokyo Racecourse, but while each makes his first start since the G1 Tokyo Yushun in late May, the flashy Jack d'Or (Jpn) (Maurice {Jpn}) may have a slight advantage over his younger rivals–at least this time around.

The recognizable chestnut, whose sire took this race back in 2016, made meteoric progress early on this season, winning in listed company over course and distance in January before besting the classy Lei Papale (Jpn) (Deep Impact {Jpn}) in all-the-way fashion in the G2 Kinko Sho and running the 2000 metres in a record time of 1:57.2. Only fifth to Potager (Jpn) (Deep Impact {Jpn}) after setting the majority of the pace in the G1 Osaka Hai in April, Jack d'Oro was asked to settle off the speed of G1 Dubai Turf dead-heater Panthalassa (Jpn) (Lord Kanaloa {Jpn}) and ran that one down in the shadow of the post to take the G2 Sapporo Kinen Aug. 21 (video, SC 4).

“The races take a lot out of him and the rotation going in to the Osaka Hai was tight,” trainer Kenichi Fujioka opined. “The ground was worse than I thought it'd be, and the early lap times were faster than I expected. Last start, he was a bit heavy, but this time his weight should be down. Physically, he's always been good, and I don't think he's changed much. Though he's become calmer, he switches on well. He has had good results at Tokyo 2000 meters and lots of experience to the left. I would say it's his best trip.”




Leading the 3-year-old challenge is Equinox (Jpn), a son of 2017 Tenno Sho hero Kitasan Black (Jpn). A veteran of just four career starts, the Silk Racing colourbearer was a Group 2 winner at headquarters as a juvenile and contested the first two legs of this year's Classics, missing narrowly to Geoglyph (Jpn) (Drefong) in the G1 Satsuki Sho (Japanese 2000 Guineas) in April and by even a slimmer margin to Do Deuce (Jpn) (Heart's Cry {Jpn}) in the G1 Toyko Yushun (Japanese Derby) last time, with Geoglyph not running out the 2400 metres in seventh.

“This Wednesday, he breezed with two others on the woodchip flat course, and again, all looked good,” said trainer Tetsuya Kimura. “His footwork was excellent. The distance shouldn't be a problem. We will keep preparing him to bring out his best on raceday.”




The lightly raced Danon Beluga (Jpn) (Heart's Cry {Jpn}) sports a profile similar to Equinox, with a pair of wins from his four outings, including a defeat of Geoglyph in a Group 3 at this venue ahead of the Classics, but he was somewhat disappointing when fourth in both the Guineas and–as the 5-2 favourite–in the Derby.

Last year's Japanese Derby hero Shahryar (Jpn) (Deep Impact {Jpn}) makes his first start at home this season, having contributed to a massive Dubai World Cup program for Japan with a victory over GI Breeders' Cup Turf hero Yibir (GB) (Dubawi {Ire}) in the G1 Longines Dubai Sheema Classic in March ahead of a forgettable effort when fifth to State of Rest (Ire) (Starspangledbanner {Aus}) in the G1 Prince of Wales's S. at Royal Ascot in June. The Sunday Racing runner clearly deserves his place in this field, but it can be argued that he'll be using this as a prep for next month's G1 Longines Japan Cup, in which he was third last season.

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