Romantic Warrior Gets Green Light For Yasuda Kinen

Romantic Warrior | Horsephotos/Tomoya Moriuchi


Romantic Warrior (Ire) (Acclamation {GB}), who recently overcame a difficult trip and soggy underfoot conditions to win the G1 FWD QE II Cup (2000m) for the third consecutive year, will cut back to a mile for the June 2 G1 Yasuda Kinen at Tokyo Racecourse, trainer Danny Shum confirmed Friday.

“He will go to Japan,” Shum told the Hong Kong Jockey Club's Leo Schlink. “He will leave around the 21st of May,” and the conditioner is of the opinion that Romantic Warrior's recovery from the QE II Cup merits the decision.

“He should be okay–he can be better,” Shum said.

A victory in the Yasuda Kinen, where he will be joined by G1 Stewards Cup winner Voyage Bubble (Aus) (Deep Field {Aus}), would complete a season for the ages for Romantic Warrior. The 6-year-old began the campaign in Australia, finishing a useful fourth in the G1 Turnbull S. before prevailing in the G1 W. S. Cox Plate. He emerged from quarantine just in time to successfully defend his title in December's G1 Longines Hong Kong Cup, just holding out a resurgent Luxembourg (Ire) (Camelot {GB}), and defeated Voyage Bubble in the G1 Citi Hong Kong Gold Cup in a battle of Hong Kong Derby heroes.

His margins of victory in his last four starts: nose, nose, neck, neck.

James McDonald, who has guided Romantic Warrior to seven wins from eight rides, will have the call in the Yasuda Kinen. Leading jockey Zac Purton takes the reins for trainer Ricky Yiu aboard Voyage Bubble.

In his most recent appearance over a mile, Romantic Warrior was beaten a length into second by Golden Sixty (Aus) (Medaglia d'Oro) in the 2023 Stewards Cup. His only previous try over the distance resulted in a half-length defeat of California Spangle (Ire) (Starspangledbanner {Aus}) in the 2022 Hong Kong Classic Mile.

The Japanese challenge for the Yasuda Kinen figures to include champion Jantar Mantar (Jpn) (Palace Malice), winner of the age-restricted G1 NHK Mile Cup over the course and distance May 5, and potentially Namur (Jpn) (Harbinger {GB}), a cracking second in the G1 Dubai Turf and the likely favourite in this weekend's G1 Victoria Mile at Japan racing headquarters.

The Yasuda Kinen is a 'Win and You're In' qualifier for the GI FanDuel Breeders' Cup Mile at Del Mar this November.


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