One of my favourite races of the year and the 2017 edition looks like it's going to be another cracker.
I backed two just over a week ago when B365 odds were all over the place. At the time I thought Soul Stirring's price was too big at 16-1 so I backed her EW and also added Cheval Grand at 20-1 EW. A few days later WHill put up their odds for the race, Soul Stirring was 25-1... I couldn't believe it, so I had to have another EW bet on her.
The Tenno Sho (Autumn) was run in Typhoon conditions and the Tokyo track was like a mud bath. Kitasan Black and Satono Crown slugged it out in the mud with big black repelling SC's late surge. I respect both these horses over the 12f trip and think both will more than likely be in the mix but both had a tough slog in horrible conditions and I get the feeling the race might of left a mark... I want to take both on!!
Soul Stirring was in the Tenno Sho (Autumn) as well (6th) but she hates yielding ground never mind a bog and I will forgive her that performance. Her best race was over course and distance in the Japanese Oaks staying on strongly beating a filly I really like and backed Mozu Katchan. Mozu has franked that form running two fantastic races at Kyoto. Should have won both IMO... lost a shoe in the Shuka Sho (G1) when narrowly beaten and then won the Queen Elizabeth II Cup (G1). Soul Stirring's Japanese Oaks was the joint best rated alongside Gentildonna (115) and if the track is rock hard fast I think she can go close and maybe become the second 3yr old filly to win the Japan Cup. The odds were too big IMO for a G1 winning filly.
Cheval Grand is a horse I've backed a few times over the last year and he's solid and very consistent. He might not be quite good enough to win but he will love the track (3rd last year) and if the weather forecast is correct the hard quick ground will be to his liking as well. He had a lovely prep run at Kyoto and the bonus news is the man of the moment Mirco Demuro will be onboard, a massive plus... the little Italian can do no wrong at the moment.
Rey de Oro is the one I fear the most, he's had the perfect prep and is the least exposed horse in the race. The 7-1 available a few days ago was tempting but the 3yr old colts haven't had a great record in this race over the years (Rose Kingdom won in 2010) so I left him out.
The Euro raiders are an OK bunch but I cannot see them getting involved if the track is rock hard. I did have a second look at Guignol but I know it's best to stick with the home team in this race!
It doesn't look like Mirco Demuro will be on Cheval Grand after all... more fake news. He stays on Satono Crown and it seems Hugh Bowman will be on Cheval Grand. I did think it was a bit odd!
I think I'm going to need it Roz!It doesn't look like Mirco Demuro will be on Cheval Grand after all... more fake news. He stays on Satono Crown and it seems Hugh Bowman will be on Cheval Grand. I did think it was a bit odd!
A well deserved win for Cheval Grand, stayed on strongly and finally got past Kitasan Black. I was worried when Rey De Oro was coming but it was a Grand Day for Cheval. Soul Stirring pulled hard and never settled. Euro raiders never landed a blow... again!
Awesome ride Hugh... who needs Mirco Demuro! A well deserved win for Cheval Grand, stayed on strongly and finally got past Kitasan Black. I was worried when Rey De Oro was coming but it was a Grand Day for Cheval. Soul Stirring pulled hard and never