Jantar Mantar Looks To Remain Unbeaten In Asahi Hai Futurity

Jantar Mantar | JRA photo

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It was announced just Thursday that American Classic winner Palace Malice (Curlin) would be joining the Japanese stallion ranks at Darley beginning in 2024, and Shadai Race Horse Co.'s US-conceived Jantar Mantar (Jpn) can provide his sire with a timely boost in Sunday's G1 Asahi Hai Futurity S. going a right-handed 1600 metres at Hanshin Racecourse.

A son of American Grade III winner India Mantuana (Wilburn) and bred on a variant of the wildly successful cross of Curlin over A.P. Indy-line dams, the dark bay colt debuted with an impressive 2 1/2-length victory going 1800 metres at Kyoto Oct. 8 and overcame a penchant to overrace with a fast-finishing defeat of Enya Love Faith (Jpn) (A Shin Hikari {Jpn}) and Namura Hooker (Jpn) (Suave Richard {Jpn}) to win the G2 Daily Hai Nisai S. over this distance Nov. 11 (see below, SC 2). Leading jockey Yuga Kawada takes over in the saddle Sunday afternoon from a low draw.

 

 

“There have been no problems with him, and his responses at the finish in training have been good, and he's moving well,” said trainer Tomokazu Takano. “He's had the same four-week period of time between races as he had before his last race. I'm not worried about it being his first time at the Hanshin track.”

Carrot Farm's Strauss (Jpn) (Maurice {Jpn}), whose dam Blumenblatt (Jpn) (Admire Vega {Jpn}) won the G1 Mile Championship S., demolished a field of Toyko newcomers by nine lengths in soft ground June 3, but was not seen again for four months, resuming with a third in the G3 Saudi Arabia Royal Cup at headquarters in October. He stepped out to nine furlongs in the G2 Tokyo Sports Hai Nisai S. Nov. 18 and returned to winning ways with a 1 1/2-length victory. Tom Marquand has the riding assignment from barrier 17 of 17 Sunday.

“He might be a 2-year-old, but he feels quite mature,” the jockey said. “He stood out among the other horses in his last race, so I hope he can run in a similar way to how he did last time.”

Danon McKinley (Jpn) (Maurice {Jpn}), a ¥220 million (£1.22 million/US$1.62 million) purchase out of last year's JHRA Select Sale, tries the mile for the first time, having easily won his 1400-metre unveiling over the Hanshin course Sept. 30 before overcoming a tardy dispatch to easily scoop a 1-win class conditions test over the same trip Nov. 19. His time of 1:20.7 was 0.6 seconds quicker than the 1400-meter split of the Mile Championship S. a few races later.

With Strauss drawn widest, it seems fitting that Ecoro Waltz (Jpn) (Black Tide {Jpn}) jumps from the inside box as he looks to make it three-from-three in his young career. He most recently carried Yutaka Take to a six-length victory in an 1800-metre conditions test at northern Sapporo Aug. 13.

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