Shin Emperor Has Much In His Favour In Hopeful

Arqana August topper Shin Emperor goes for three on the bounce in the Hopeful S. | JRA


Perfect in two starts, including a victory over 2000 metres already at this early stage in his career, Susumu Fujita's Shin Emperor (Fr) (Siyouni {Fr}) can well and truly stamp himself a leading contender for next year's Japanese Classics when he takes on a full field in Thursday's G1 Hopeful S. at Nakayama, the final top-level event on the JRA circuit for 2023.

Bred by Ecurie des Monceaux, the chestnut is–as has been well documented–a full-brother to G1 Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe winner Sottsass (Fr) and was hammered down to trainer Yoshito Yahagi for a sales-topping €2.1 million at last year's Arqana August Sale in Deauville. The colt has done little to suggest his connections' lofty opinions are misguided, as he was visually impressive in taking out his maiden at first asking over 1800 metres at Tokyo Nov. 4 and he made it two-from-two with a half-length success in the G3 Kyoto Nisai S. Nov. 25, successfully stretching out to Thursday's distance. Yahagi has tabbed Bauyrzhan Murzabayev to ride.

“He has a lot of potential and it's not often you get to work with a horse with a pedigree like he has, so I'm feeling the pressure,” said assistant trainer Yusaku Oka. “He's still mentally immature, but he has shown a high level of ability and with his European bloodline, I think the tough turf at Nakayama will suit him. He has a lot of power and he should be able to handle the hill in the stretch. He already experienced the trip to Kanto for his debut, so I'm not worried there. I'm hoping he'll do his best.”




Regaleira (Jpn) (Suave Richard {Jpn}), one of two fillies taking on the boys here, graduated in a July 9 newcomers' event at Hakodate and most recently resumed with a sound third-place effort behind the talented JRHA Select Yearling Sale topper Danon Ayers Rock (Jpn) (Maurice {Jpn}) in the Listed Ivy S. at Tokyo Oct. 21. Christophe Lemaire sticks with the filly for Equinox (Jpn)'s trainer Tetsuya Kimura.

Bricks and Mortar is in a good battle for second spot on the list of leading first-crop sires in Japan by progeny earnings behind Suave Richard, and Gonbade Qabus (Jpn) stands a good chance to solidify that position Thursday. The dark bay colt opened his account at first asking in a 1600-metre newcomers' contest at headquarters June 10 and was not seen for four months thereafter, returning to cause a mild upset in the G3 Saudi Arabia Royal Cup over the identical course and distance Oct. 7. He must negotiate an extra two furlongs here, but on pedigree it is clearly well within his reach.

Velociraptor (Jpn) (Suave Richard {Jpn}) also brings an unblemished record into the Hopeful, having won his maiden over nine furlongs at Tokyo June 24 before adding a Sept. 23 conditions test at Hanshin over the same trip.

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