Kizuna a promising third on return

Making his eagerly anticipated return following 8-months on the sidelines through injury, Kizuna (Jpn) (Deep Impact {Jpn}) was given a patient ride at the rear of the field in the G2 Kyoto Kinen, more than 10 lengths adrift from the strong pace set by Suzuka Devious (Jpn) (King Kamehameha {Jpn}). The dark bay started delivering his challenge turning for home under regular partner Yutaka Take and produced a jaw-dropping turn of foot, swallowing the field and only just failing to catch the early leaders. The race went to the progressive Lovely Day (Jpn) (King Kamehameha {Jpn}), who raced prominently throughout and was recording back to back victories at Pattern level, having previously set a new track record in a Group 3 event at Nakayama. The pace-setting Suzuka Devious held on gamely for second place.

Kizuna was reported to weigh in at an extra 22kg since his last start in May and will certainly improve for the run. Take was apologetic in his post-race statement, telling Racing Post, “I'm very sorry. I had a chance to close on the frontrunners but he couldn't accelerate to keep up. This was his first race after the long rest due to the leg fracture. I think this was not a disappointing result.” Trainer Shozo Sasaki added, “I was delighting with his race but the race was for the frontrunners. I wondered if he would come back like this after such a big injury with the fracture. I would like him to run the Grade 2 Osaka Hai in April.” All being well, a second trip to Longchamp is Kizuna's objective of the season.

G1 Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe sixth and G1 Sheema Classic-bound Harp Star (Jpn) (Deep Impact {Jpn}) raced in a handier position than usual and looked a threat a the top of the stretch, yet she couldn't maintain her acceleration and finished fifth. Lessons will surely be drawn after this disappointing effort, as trainer Hiroyoshi Matsuda told Racing Post, “I told the rider to be as near front as he could. I am not sure it was a match for her more than her usual style.” The conditioner indicated that the 4-year-old remained on course for Dubai.

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