Mozu Ascot Aiming for Second G1 in Mile


Mozu Ascot | Yuki Shimono

US-bred Mozu Ascot (Frankel {GB}) is aiming for his second top-level triumph in Sunday's G1 Mile Championship S. at Kyoto. Receiving the services of Christophe Lemaire, the chestnut has not finished worse than second in his past five starts, with runner-up performances in the G3 Hankyu Hai at Hanshin in February, the G2 Yomiuri Milers Cup at Kyoto in April and in the Listed Azuchijo S. sprinting 1400 metres at Kyoto on May 27. Successful in the G1 Yasuda Kinen S. over the reopposing 2017 G1 Mile Cup victress Aerolithe (Jpn) (Kurofune) in June, the 7-2 crowd's pick found only Lord Quest (Jpn) (Matsurida Gogh {Jpn}) too good in the G2 Mainichi Broadcast Swan S. at Kyoto on Oct. 27.

Said trainer Yoshito Yahagi, “I think his loss last time was because it was his first race in a while and he had to carry quite a bit of weight. His condition has really improved since, so hopefully this will show in his run this time.”

The mantle of second favourite goes to 5-1 chance Aerolithe, who rebounded from her Yasuda Kinen defeat with a win in the G2 Mainichi Okan over Sunday's 9-1 shot Stelvio (Jpn) (Lord Kanaloa {Jpn}).

“Looking at her on a daily basis, I've been able to see her get bigger and progress in a good way,” said trainer Takanori Kikuzawa. “Her footwork has been terrific in training, and she doesn't need any particular training pattern, nor do I worry about her times. If she jumps well in the race, she'll be handy, but I don't think this has to be her only way of racing. A smooth run is the most important.”

Persian Knight (Jpn) (Harbinger {GB}) won the 2017 edition of the Mile Championship, and although winless since, has run second in the G1 Osaka Hai on April Fools' Day as his best finish in four 2018 starts. He was a most recently fifth in Logi Cry (Jpn) (Heart's Cry {Jpn})'s G3 Fuji S. at Tokyo on Oct. 20.

A trio of Group 1 winners are also returning in search of further top-shelf glory-2017 G1 Japanese 2000 Guineas hero Al Ain (Jpn) (Deep Impact {Jpn}), who wan fifth last out in the G1 Tenno Sho (Autumn) going 2000 metres on Oct. 28; May's G1 Victoria Mile heroine Jour Polaire (Jpn) (Deep Impact {Jpn}), a fourth-place finisher in the G2 Ireland Trophy Fuchu Himba S. at Tokyo on Oct. 13; and 2018 G1 NKH Mile Cup victor Keiai Nautique (Jpn) (Deep Impact {Jpn}). The latter was fifth in the Oct. 7 G2 Mainichi Oakan.

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