The Crown Fits: Liberty Island Eases Home In the Shuka Sho

Given a Yuga Kawada ride befitting a $1.10 (1-10) mortal, Sunday Racing Co. Ltd.'s Liberty Island (Jpn) (Duramente {Jpn}) became the seventh filly to win the Japanese Triple Tiara with a deceptively easy one-length victory in Sunday's G1 Shuka Sho before a packed grandstand of better than 45,000 onlookers at Kyoto Racecourse. Masked Diva (Jpn) (Rulership {Jpn}), the 12-1 third favourite, flashed home for second ahead of narrow second pick Harper (Jpn) (Heart's Cry {Jpn}). Making her first start since smashing her rivals by six lengths in the 2400-metre G1...

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Kitasan Black in Demand at Record JRHA Sale, 97% Clearance

HOKKAIDO, Japan--"Welcome from the USA, from Europe, from Down Under," said Naohiro Goda at Sunday evening's party on the eve of the JRHA Select Sale. The welcome in Japan is always warm, but what is clear is that the extraordinary demand for racehorses in the country makes it difficult for those overseas visitors to make much of a mark in the ring where, once again, new record prices for turnover and average were set on Monday.  The names on the list of buyers were exclusively Japanese, bar that of David...

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Star Graduates Point to Hot Trade at JRHA 

HOKKAIDO, Japan--Things are hotting up in the Northern Horse Park, literally and figuratively. As the mercury nudged 30 degrees on Saturday, the English and Irish in town for the JRHA Select Sale swooned and wilted while the many attendants showing the horses, mostly clad in jackets, went manfully and womanfully about their hot and tiring work without so much as a whimper. Both they and the young horses in their care are well prepared for the two inspection days ahead, despite having only arrived on the sales ground that morning....

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Could Another Double Triple Crown Be On The Cards in Japan?

We are poised midway between Japan's Oaks (Yushun Himba), which took place last Sunday, and Derby (Tokyo Yushun) this coming Sunday. What is not in doubt in the country that has led the way at so many international meetings in recent years, is that those two races over 2,400m are still very much targeted and revered by owners and breeders. In Japan, there is no shortage of horses bred specifically for that distance, or further.  In any country, it takes a special horse to win the Triple Crown. For the...

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Champagne Color Sparkles in Tokyo's NHK Cup

Over a course with conditions that could only be described as a soggy bog, Yoichi Aoyama's homebred Champagne Color (Jpn) (Duramente {Jpn}) earned his first Group 1 win and third win in five career starts with his head victory here. After a stumble out of the gate, the chestnut colt had no choice but to hang back in the early going and rate with the early trailers while From Dusk (Bolt d'Oro) set all the pace. The 22-1 outsider made a bold move toward the front around the bend while...

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Liberty Island From The Clouds In Oka Sho

Ridden with supreme confidence by Yuga Kawada, reigning champion Japanese 2-year-old filly Liberty Island (Jpn) (Duramente {Jpn}) was given her cue with 400 metres to race and stormed home down the centre of the course to post a breathtaking victory in Sunday's G1 Oka Sho (Japanese 1000 Guineas) at Hanshin Racecourse. Kona Coast (Jpn) (Kitasan Black {Jpn}) was swamped late and completed a Sunday Racing 1-2, while Carrot Farm colourbearer Perifania (Jpn) (Maurice {Jpn}) checked in a sound third. Void of early speed, the odds-on favourite was content to drop...

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Duramente's Dura Erede Ekes Out Hopeful Win

Making his fifth career start and his first in Group 1 company in Wednesday's G1 Hopeful S. at Nakayama, Dura Erede (Jpn) parlayed a close fourth-place finish last out in the G2 Tokyo Sports Hai Nisai S. on Nov. 19 to claim victory at odds of 89-1 by a nose over 17-1 outsider and pacesetter Top Knife (Jpn). The colt received a stalking trip to the outside of the frontrunner for the first mile before reaching even terms with his leading rival at the top of the stretch. After falling...

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Liberty Island Far Too Strong In Hanshin Juvenile Fillies

Sunday Racing's Liberty Island (Jpn) (Duramente {Jpn}) all but locked up champion 2-year-old filly honours in Japan with a thoroughly convincing defeat of 17 rivals in Sunday's G1 Hanshin  Juvenile Fillies. Yuga Kawada, who was forced to miss this past Wednesday's Longines International Jockeys' Championship in Hong Kong after testing positive for COVID prior to his departure, was cleared to ride the Sunday feature and settled the 8-5 favourite right in midfield and a few paths off the inside for the opening half-mile. Traveling with cover as they raced around...

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Japanese Globetrotters Boost Record JRHA Select Sale

Clearance rates narrowly in excess of 95% for both days of the Japan Racing Horse Association (JRHA) Select Sale speak to the consistent demand for fledgling racehorses in the country where the leading bloodstock auction has once again set new high markers in all sectors of the market. At the final count, 447 foals and yearlings (from 469 offered) changed hands for a new record aggregate of ¥25,762,500,000 (£159m/€187m), up 14% on last year's previous high. The average also increased significantly, by 12%, to ¥57,634,228 (£355,000/€419,000) for the sale as...

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Yoshida Hails 'Amazing Market' As JRHA Records Tumble

It doesn't seem to matter where you are in the world: bloodstock sales are booming. That was certainly the case for the opening day and sole session of yearlings at the JRHA Select Sale, which reached new highs after last year's record-breaking trade. At Y12,870,000,000 (£78.7m/€93m), the aggregate for the session improved by 10.6% from 2021 with a staggeringly high clearance rate of 95.3%, which was yet another record. Only 11 of the 233 yearlings offered returned unsold to their vendors, with the average price driven up 12.6% to an...

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Promising Japanese Stallion Duramente Dies

Duramente (Jpn) (King Kamehameha {Jpn}--Admire Groove {Jpn}, by Sunday Silence), Japan's champion 3-year-old colt of 2015 and the country's leading first-crop sire in 2020, passed away Tuesday after being struck by a case of acute colitis. He was just nine years old. Duramente, whose dam was Japan's champion older mare of 2004 and whose granddam Air Groove (Jpn) (Tony Bin {Ire}) took home Horse of the Year honours in 1997, never finished outside the top two in nine career starts, winning five of those, including the 2015 G1 Satsuki Sho...

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American Mares Make An 'Impact' at Niigata

A pair of immaculately bred 2-year-old fillies by the late Deep Impact (Jpn) and produced by two mares of considerable importance in the U.S. broke their maidens about 30 minutes apart at Japan's Niigata Racecourse Sunday, Aug. 11. Sunday Racing Co. Ltd's Catulus Felis (Jpn), the first foal out of 2015 GI Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf winner Stephanie's Kitten (Kitten's Joy), validated 3-10 favoritism to graduate over 1800 meters. Drawn gate 12 in the field of 14, the February foal was off a beat slowly then settled about...

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