Tower of London, Danon Smash Meet Again in Takamatsunomiya Kinen

Tower of London | Horsephotos

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Godolphin homebred Tower of London (Jpn) (Raven's Pass) and Danon Smash (Jpn) (Lord Kanaloa {Jpn}), two of the best sprinters the country has to offer, go head-to-head for the third time in their last four appearances in Sunday's G1 Takamatsunomiya Kinen (1200m) at Chukyo Racecourse.

Group 1-placed over a mile as a juvenile, Tower of London has amassed an imposing resume over 1200-1400m in the last year or so, having set course records when taking out the G2 Keio Hai Spring Cup (1400m in 1:19.4) and the G2 Centaur S. (1200m in 1:06.7) last season. The bay came from the latter half of the field to pip pacesetting Mozu Superflare (Speightstown), with Danon Smash third, in the G1 Sprinters' S. last September and he has one run since, a running-on third to Danon Smash in the G3 Ocean S. Mar. 7.

“I think third place was a good showing,” trainer Kazuo Fujisawa remarked. “I kept him at the training center after and he was in light work from that week and then we picked up the pace from there. He's a big horse and can be sluggish, so the long stretch at Chukyo should suit him.”

Darley won this event in 2018 with Fine Needle (Jpn) (Admire Moon {Jpn}).

Danon Smash got the better of Tower of London by 3/4 of a length in the G3 Keeneland Cup last August and closed the season with a decent eighth to Beat the Clock (Aus) (HInchinbrook {Aus}) in the G1 Longines Hong Kong Sprint Dec. 8. He sat handy to the pace in the Ocean S. and managed to outfinish Nac Venus (Jpn) (Daiwa Major {Jpn}) by 1 1/4 lengths.

“In the Ocean S., I was worried for a moment at the break, but he picked it up immediately,” said trainer Takayuki Yasuda. “Going in to the straight he looked to still have a lot left and I thought he had a chance if he got a clean run. He's looking more and more like his sire Lord Kanaloa,” Yasuda added, referring to the 2013 Takamatsunomiya Kinen champ and boom young stallion.

Defending champ Mr Melody (Scat Daddy) misses his title defence, having shipped to Dubai for the cancelled G1 Al Quoz Sprint, but Mozu Superflare looks to go one better. The chestnut, one of three U.S-breds in the field, exits a pacesetting fourth to A Will A Way (Just a Way {Jpn}) in Kyoto's G3 Silk Road S. Feb. 2.

Mozu Ascot (Frankel {GB}), winner on turf of the G1 Yasuda Kinen and on dirt of the G1 February S. last time, has had an intended trip to Australia for the G1 Doncaster Mile dashed by coronavirus. He tries the metric six furlongs for the first time in his career.

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