T O Keynes Stands Out in Champions Cup

T O Keynes | JRA photo


Horse for the course T O Keynes (Jpn) (Sinister Minister) appears a very tough nut to crack in Sunday's G1 Champions Cup (ex Japan Cup Dirt) at Chukyo Racecourse, a race in which he bolted up by a half-dozen lengths over the classy Chuwa Wizard (Jpn) (King Kamehameha {Jpn}) twelve months ago.

The 5-year-old earned a berth in the 2022 G1 Saudi Cup with his victory here last year, but he was disappointing in eighth behind Emblem Road (Quality Road) in Riyadh back in February. He regrouped and validated odds-on favouritism in this track's G3 Heian S. in May and was fourth in the Listed Teio Sho June 29 before bouncing back to defeat this year's G2 UAE Derby hero Crown Pride (Jpn) (Reach the Crown {Jpn}) in the valuable Listed JBC Classic over the metric mile and a quarter at Morioka Nov. 3.

“He ran a strong race last year, so I'd like things to be the same this time too,” said jockey Kohei Matsuyama. “His experience overseas has helped him mature more. He took a bit of time to recover from his last race, but just recently in training he's done things in his usual way and has responded well.”

Thirteenth in the GI Kentucky Derby following his Meydan success, Crown Pride was given plenty of time to recover from his travels and resumed with a narrow loss in the Listed Nippon TV Hai at Funabashi Sept. 28. He made the running in the JBC Classic and held well, but was no match for the classy T O Keynes late and will try to even the score while backing up to 1800 metres Sunday.

Vela Azul (Jpn) (Eishin Flash {Jpn}) made a successful switch from dirt to turf to win last weekend's G1 Japan Cup and Jun Light Bolt (Jpn) (King Kamehameha {Jpn}) looks an entirely different proposition since moving from the grass to the dirt. A four-time winner and stakes-placed from 21 turf starts, the bay was runner-up in listed company in his main-track bow in July and has since won the Listed BSN Sho in July and the G3 Sirius S. over course and distance Oct. 1, defeating the 3-year-old Hapi (Jpn) (Kizuna {Jpn}) and Auvergne (Jpn) (Smart Falcon {Jpn}).


WATCH: #13 T O Keynes reels in #4 Crown Pride in the JBC Classic

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