Kitasan Black Tackles “WAYI” Takarazuka Kinen


Kitasan Black winning the G1 Osaka Hai in April | Horsephotos

Winner of 10 of his 16 career appearances, Kitasan Black (Jpn) (Black Tide {Jpn}) shoots for a sixth Group 1 success as the heavy favorite in Sunday's G1 Takarazuka Kinen (2200m) at Hanshin, a “Win and You're In” test for the GI Breeders' Cup Turf.

Conqueror of future G1 Dubai Turf hero Real Steel (Jpn) (Deep Impact {Jpn}) in the 2015 G1 Kikuka Sho (Japanese St Leger), Kitasan Black went on a tear in 2016, landing the G1 Tenno Sho (Spring) (3200m) and the G2 Kyoto Daishoten (2400m) ahead of a popular score in the G1 Japan Cup. Just turned over by the talented Satono Diamond (Jpn) (Deep Impact {Jpn}) in the season-ending G1 Arima Kinen (2500m), he is perfect in two starts this term and enters off a successful title defense in the Tenno Sho in which he broke the track record previously held by Deep Impact. He'll look to improve on his close third to Marialite (Jpn) (Deep Impact {Jpn}) 12 months ago.

“I think he ran a very strong race in the Tenno Sho (Spring),” his trainer Hisashi Shimizu commented. “He was more powerful that I had imagined he would be and he really has matured into an incredible horse. He's really something.”

At 15-2 ante-post, Satono Crown (Jpn) (Marju {Ire}) is closest in the market to the 1-2 chalk. Sixth in last year's Takarazuka Kinen, Satono Crown was given a perfect ride by Joao Moreira and cut down Highland Reel (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}) in the G1 Longines Hong Kong Vase (2400m) in December. Subsequently too classy in the G2 Kyoto Kinen at this trip Feb. 12, he couldn't quicken with Kitasan Black in the G1 Osaka Hai and settled for sixth.

The somewhat unexposed Sciacchetra (Jpn) (Mahnattan Café {Jpn}) won four of his first six career trips to the post, including the G2 Nikkei Sho (2500m) at Nakayama Mar. 25, but was soundly defeated in the Tenno Sho, finishing ninth. The significant cutback in trip could work in the 4-year-old's favour here.


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