'Milano' Aiming To Leave Rivals Half-Baked In Tokyo Yushun

Justin Milano | Horsephotos


Record-setting G1 Satsuki Sho (Japanese 2000 Guineas) hero Justin Milano (Jpn) (Kizuna {Jpn}) faces 15 colts and one filly in Sunday's ¥611,240,000 G1 Tokyo Yushun (Japanese Derby) at Tokyo over 2400 metres on Sunday.

Flawless in three starts, the Masahiro Miki runner won his career bow over 2000 metres on this course in November, and added the G3 Kyodo News Hai with Jantar Mantar (Jpn) (Palace Malice) second in February. He knocked 0.70 seconds off of the Japanese 2000 Guineas record, covering that trip in a sparkling 1:57.10, with Group 2 winner Cosmo Kuranda (Jpn) (Al Ain {Jpn}) second and Japanese Champion 2-Year-Old Colt Jantar Mantar third on Apr. 14. The last-named would win the G1 NHK Mile Cup cutting back in trip locally on May 5.

“He was pretty tired after the race, but recovered quickly and we had him back in work by the Thursday after the race,” said trainer Yasuo Tomomichi. “By the weekend, he was back to his normal self and feeling good.

“He has a big stride and I've always wanted to race him over a spacious course. He settles well, stays in tune with the rider well, and can maintain at a good speed for quite a while. There are horses he hasn't raced against before, but I think he'll be fine if he can run his own race.”

One of his main rivals, and the only filly in the field toting four pounds less than her male counterparts, is Regaleira (Jpn) (Suave Richard {Jpn}), sixth in that Classic and a winner of the G1 Hopeful S. at two in open company.

Trainer Tetsuya Kimura said, “She hadn't changed that much, but she seemed to have maintained her health well. She settles well, so I'm not worried about the distance. She's not good at getting a position, so the wide-open Tokyo Racecourse will make things easier.”

Group winner and G1 Hopeful S. runner-up Shin Emperor (Fr) (Siyouni {Fr}) ran fifth in the Satsuki Sho and is looking for some redemption. The distance should hold no fears, as his full-brother, French Classic hero Sottsass (Fr), won the G1 Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe over the same distance. He breaks from stall 13 under Ryusei Sakai.

Yukihiko Araki, assistant trainer to Yoshito Yahagi, said of the €2.1-million Arqana topper, “He had a good position in the Satsuki Sho and I think it was really an ideal trip, but in the end, three horses put some distance between him and them. There hadn't been any great damage from the race and he recovered easily. The jockey [Ryusei Sakai] rode work last week and this horse looked good, pulling away from his training partner. It was a very good workout. He's still very young at times, but the longer distance should be good for him. He has a much better air about him than he did before the Satsuki Sho.”

Like Justin Milano, the three-for-three Sixpence (Jpn) (Kizuna {Jpn}) is also aiming to preserve his unbeaten record. A winner of the G2 Spring S. in March, the Carrot Farm runner is booked in stall 12. However, he has yet to venture beyond 1800 metres.

Trainer Sakae Kunieda said, “He moved well in work on May 8 and his overall time last week on May 16 was good. He has grown a lot since his debut and he has no problems working well with the rider, which means I'm not worried about the distance. I also don't think the left-handed track will cause any problems.”

Another challenger with an enviable record is Sugar Kun (Jpn) (Duramente {Jpn}) who has won his last three starts after running second at first asking in February. The G2 Tokyo Hai Aoba Sho hero will have the legendary Yutaka Take at the controls in this step up to Group 1 company.

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