Sapporo Kinen An Important Jumping-Off Point For Big Names

Shahryar | Dubai Racing Club

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The return of Group 1 racing in Japan is officially about six weeks away, but Sunday's 2000-metre Sapporo Kinen–a Group 2 in name only–sees the return to action of some familiar names who are potentially looking to prep for big spots further afield over the coming months.

Shahryar (Jpn) (Deep Impact {Jpn}), the 2021 G1 Tokyo Yushun hero, makes his first start since finishing fifth to world's top-rated racehorse Equinox (Jpn) (Kitasan Black {Jpn}) in defence of his title in the G1 Longines Dubai Sheema Classic Mar. 25, with a trip to America for the GI Breeders' Cup Turf in the offing, all things equal. The 5-year-old son of Dubai Majesty (Essence of Dubai) will be ridden for the first time by Takeshi Yokoyama. Loves Only You (Jpn) (Deep Impact {Jpn}) was just defeated in the 2021 Sapporo Kinen before going on to annex the GI Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf.

The progressive Prognosis (Jpn) (Deep Impact {Jpn}), third to Shahryar in Group 3 company in 2021, earned his first success at pattern level when prevailing by 3/4 of a length in the G2 Kinko Sho last March. It was off to Hong Kong for his next and a meeting with local champion Romantic Warrior (Ire) (Accalamation {GB}) in the G1 FWD QE II Cup in late April, and Prognosis covered himself in glory in finishing two lengths adrift of the course-and-distance specialist in second. All roads could lead back to Sha Tin for the Longines Hong Kong International Races meeting in December.

Win Mighty (Jpn) (Gold Ship {Jpn}) steps out for the first time since finishing a narrowly beaten second when going for consecutive victories in the G3 Mermaid S. at Hanshin June 18. The 6-year-old, third in the 2021 G1 Yushun Himba, holds an entry for the G1 Caulfield Cup during the Melbourne Spring Carnival Oct. 21, but will need a strong effort to merit the journey down under.

Defending champion Jack d'Or (Jpn) (Maurice {Jpn}) won a star-studded renewal of the G1 Osaka Hai going this distance at Hanshin Apr. 2 and cut back to the mile for his latest in the G1 Yasuda Kinen, where he finished a determined fifth to the Breeders' Cup-bound Songline (Jpn) (Kizuna {Jpn}) after setting the pace. He would become the first back-to-back winner of this race since Air Groove (Jpn) in 1997-98. Danon Beluga (Jpn) (Heart's Cry {Jpn}), who ran on well to finish three-parts of a length adrift of the three-peating Lord North (Ire) (Dubawi {Ire}) in the G1 Dubai Turf at Meydan when last spotted, should also appreciate Sunday's 10-furlong trip. The 4-year-old is reunited with Joao Moreira this weekend.

 

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