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2018/ 01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10 11 12

1/01  Successors

5:20 p.m. Happy New Year everyone! Hope we have a geat year ahead of us!

It is exciting just to imagine what kind of horses we might meet this year after Kitasan Black has retired. Things are going to change and I personally expect other great horses to take over Kitasan's place, although honestly I won't ask for much for the new 5-year-olds.

The End

Caterpillar

1/02  Being Too Gentle

8:40 p.m. Starting to think about Nakayama Kinpai.

The most favored would probably be Seda Brilantez, though he will need a middle to outer barrier to avoid getting squashed in the pack. I was apalled to see ths horse has only run in four races although he's turnng 4 years old. That's being too gentle.

Win Bright will also need an outer barrier unless the track condition is soft, but if he goes up front and the lap lags, he'll get a chance to perform well.

The End

Caterpillar

1/03  Too Risky

11:34 p.m. Meanwhile, the most favored in Kyoto Kinpai would probabaly be Red en Ciel.

This horse also wouldn't want to get squashed in the pack so would need an outer barrier unless Kyoto's course conditin is either soft or exceptionally firm and fast like the year-end Hanshin tracks.

Another troubling thing for this horse is that the gap since his previous race seems to be too short, which means he might not have recovered from his damage. Well, a slow lap might help, though. Still, many things depend on the barrier he draws. So I wouldn't set him as the top of my trifecta, he's too risky.

The End

Caterpillar

1/04  Almost Irrelevant

10:00 p.m. There is another grade race next Monday. Since the 8th falls on a national holiday, JRA races will be run three days in a row starting Saturday with the east and west Kinapi.

Shinzan Kinen, a mile grade race for the 3-year-olds will be run on Monday. Every year expressions like "gateway to success" or "passport to the classics" dance around in the media, though I can't recall any recent horses that won a classic race after winning Shinzan Kinen. I've always thought winning a Kyoto mile race doesn't necessarily lead to winning Satsuki-sho or Japanese D'erby, as the ability required to win a Kyoto mile is different from that of the classics, almost irrelevant.

The End

Caterpillar

1/05  Let's Get Ready!

7:18 p.m. The barrier has been announced while I was out trying to sell off unwatned things to Hard Off and having the two most unwanted stuff thrusted back as unable to buy. Humph.

Have been troubled as the usual Kinpai, but decided the key horse for Nakayama, Meiner Milano. On the wheel would be Win Bright, Outliers, Seda Brilantes, Black Bago and Kento O.

As for Kyoto Kinpai, I'd key Kluger on a wheel of Rabbit Run, Danon Major, Red en Ciel, Black Moon and Suzuka Devious.

The End

Caterpillar

1/06  How It Would Turn Out

3:00 p.m. The track condition of Nakayama is not taking as much time as I'd thought, or so it seems. Some horses are obviously overweight as Kinpai is an irregularly scheduled race, including Win Bright, Black Bago and my key horse, Meiner Milano. Wonder how this would turn out.

As for Kyoto, there aren't any horses that are apparently overweight. Laps have been lagging in the earlier races so I can't be for sure, but Kyoto tracks could possibly be taking more time.

The End

Caterpillar

1/07  Would Have

6:03 p.m. The payout was low but a win's a win. Thanks for the cheer and congrats to those who believed my call and bought betting tickets! It seems Kluger needs another gear to win a G1, though. Black Moon might have a chance.

Nakayama was also close, since I was thinking of changing my key horse to Win Bright around noon yesterday. I had to finish up this Murmur in a rush and forgot the whole thing in the process. If I had done that, I would have had room to squeeze in Strange Quark on the wheel from my list. Darn.

The End

Caterpillar

1/08  The Next Gentil Donna

5:09 p.m. Oh yes, there was Gentil Donna on the chapmion list of Sinzan Kinen. But that goes back to 2012, six years ago. I think Rouge Buck has also won too, though she didn't win a G1.

Almond Eye has won this year's Shinzan Kinen. She seems to have high potential but then, you still can't tell whether she will become the next Gentil Donna or not at this point. At least she performed well on a soft track, lagged-lapped race which merely shows she has high potential in such conditions. Her short career proves that she performs better in a mile race rather than a seven-furlong, also when the distance becomes longer. That can be a great advantage considering the classic races to come in the spring.

Another thing that was secretly cheering for me was that Tsuzumimon has come in second after Almond Eye. She's the daughter of Katamachi Botan, who was the daughter of Tayasu Bloom, one of my favorite horses. Hope to see her in Ohka-sho like her mom.

The End

Caterpillar

1/09  Have No Intention

5:01 p.m. I had some spare time between work so I've took a peek on the entry form for Nikkei Shinshun-hai coming up this weekend.

I was a bit surprised to see Hit The Target on the list. He's ten years old and still running on turf, great! And then my eyes stopped on Mikki Rocket, five years old. He is assumed to be the most favored as he's the defending champion, though I think he has a lot of hurdles to clear in order to win. As I've said, I have no intention to buy five-year-olds unless I have to.

The End

Caterpillar

1/10  The Three Selectors

4:00 p.m. Best Horse Awards for 2017 has been announced.

Kitasan Black was chosen as the best horse of the year not to mention, but an article has revealed that he didn't win all the votes. There were actually three selectors who didn't cast their votes to Kitasan. I can understand that as long as they have plausible reasons, though these three votes were casted on Oju Chosan.

Oju Chosan is a horse that race in steeplechase. And there's a different award for the best steeplechase horse. I wonder what these three selectors had in mind?

The End

Caterpillar

1/11  Great Admire Groove

1:39 p.m. A filly has been born yesterday morning to Maurice the champion horse from 2015, reports Nikkan Sports.

What's impressive about it is that the colt's mother Admire Temba (broodmare Admire Groove) has Duramente and Rulership as her siblings. That means Admire Groove is the mother of Duramente! Great Admire Groove, or should I say great Air Groove!? I've been too caught up in his sireline that I'd totally forgotten about his mother.

The filly will make her debut in 2020 Olympic year at earliest. Can't wait to see her run!

The End

Caterpillar

1/12  Calling A Race

1:39 p.m. The barrier draw for Nikkei Shinshun-hai has been announced, and Mikki Rocket has drawn post number 8.

Four out of the twelve competitors are 5-year-olds, so suppose I cut them all out? And what if I cut out three more who are over 8 years old? Subtract seven from twelve leaves only five! Was calling a race this simple?

The End

Caterpillar

1/13  Can't Be That Simple

2:06 p.m. Well, calling Nikkei Shinhun-hai can't be that simple, I know.

I was thinking of putting Mondo Intero on the key, but then I dismissed the idea as the horse has been racing from the back. If the lap lags, that can become a critical damage. Instead, I chose Perform A Promise. Yes, he's the third favored in win odds thanks to Mirco, but I thought he could come within third place.

On the wheel would be Santa Fe Chief, Mondo Intero, Mikki Rocket (just in case), Soul Impact. I have a feeling though, that it's going to be a Deep Impact festival since the track isn't soft.

The End

Caterpillar

1/14  Performed A Promise

7:20 p.m. Perform A Promise did perform a promise to sin Nikkei Shinshun-hai. Nothing seems to be able to stop Mirco.

Mondo Intero was dodged to the outside in the last stretch, but that's the risk you need to take when going from the back. You could get your course blocked, or get bumped into. That's the price you pay when going from behind, though Mirco ususally gets away for free.

The End

Caterpillar

1/15  Interesting Combination

3:05 p.m. Surprising news has come in.

2015's Arima Kinen winner Gold Actor, who has been in recess since last year's Takaraduka Kinen, is running in AJC Cup this weekend. That itself isn't shocking, but the rider is going to be Yutaka Take.

Of course, Yutaka must be free after Kitasan Black has retired. But Gold Actor! That's going to be an interesting combnination. I wonder which race the crew are aiming at, Takaraduka or Tennno-sho(spring)? I mean, the horse's racing schedule would be decided, depending on the target.

The End

Caterpillar

1/16  Chukyo Nine Furlongs Dirt

2:10 p.m. Meanwhile, Tokai Stakes is going to be run on Chukyo dirt tracks. Nine furlongs on Chukyo dirt is the same as Champions' Cup.

T M Jinsoku is running and probably going to be the most favored, considering his performance in last year's Champions' Cup. He won't lose big as he's already proved he has a high potential in the G1 unless, the horse has considerable damage from consecutive races last year, and is not in the state to race.

The End

Caterpillar

1/17  The Bigger Goal

12:44 p.m. Ray De Oro, last year's Japanese D'erby champion has come back to his stable from recess. News reports that he has started his training for Kyoto Kinen (G2) held on February 11th.

His trainer Kazuo Fujisawa seems to have mentioned, "we have to work harder this year," but I wonder which race he is aiming for? Because Ray De Oro is scheduled to run Kyoto Kinen, surely that is going to be his prep race for a bigger goal, but what? It could be Tennno-sho (spring) or Queen Elizabeth II Cup in Hong Kong. Or it could be Dubai Sheema Classic. It's hard to guess.

The End

Caterpillar

1/18  See What Happens

2:28 p.m. It seems there has been an accident to Seda Brillantes, the winner of Nakayama Kinpai.

According to a news source, the horse has been diagnosed as "a slight chip fracture of the left foreleg." I don't know how slight or serious that imjury could be, but I'm sure the horse will go into recess again. If my memory is correct, Seda Brillantes had been in recess after Argentina Republic Cup held on 5, November last year until Nakayama Kinpai.

See what happens by being too gentle? The poor horse weren't given enough time or experience to build his strength and physics while he was growing.

The End

Caterpillar

1/19  Promising!

1:24 p.m. It has been officially announced yesterday that Hugh Bowman is going to ride Cheval Grand in the spring Tennno-sho.

Great! If it weren't for Hugh, Cheval Grand probably wouldn't have won last year's Japan Cup. It seems Cheval is entering Osaka-hai in which someone else is going to ride him, but his goal is Tenno-sho together with Hugh Bowman. I think Osaka-hai is going to be a good step for Tennno-sho. Promising!

The End

Caterpillar

1/20  Can't Beat Time

3:08 p.m. Usually, it would be natural to key Gold Actor for American Jockies' Club Cup. He's a champion horse winning Arima Kinen, and he's alreday proven his potential for this Nakayama 11 furlongs in All Comer. The horse is fresh back from recess and don't have damage from his previous race. Ideal key horse.

But the thing is, even a champion horse can't beat time. I feel it's too risky to take it for granted that Gold Actor would perform well, despite his excellent rider. Instead, I push Danburite as key horse. He needs to win the prize money in order to enter top category races this year, so the crew must have done their best. Plus, it's probabaly better not to go against Mirco for a while. On the wheel would be, Gold Actor not to mention, Shonan Bach and Legend Cellar.

The End

Caterpillar

1/21  Can't Believe

5:52 p.m. I'm not sure what happened to Gold Actor. Yutaka didn't seem to be pushing the horse so it could be that the crew ran him in this race as part of their training, actually aiming for a couple of races ahead possibly, Tenno-sho (spring) or even Takaraduka Kinen. It looked like the horse wasn't mentally in a state to race.

Mirco has done his job well as usual, topping up the prize money for Danburite. Presumably, Danburite is going to enter every G1 race this year except for February Stakes and Champions' Cup.

In Tokai Stakes, T M Jinsoku has shown how tough he was to win the race, taking the lead from wire to wire. Ah, I can't believe I'd left him out when I bought tickets for Champions' Cup while I bought Kopano Rickey.

The End

Caterpillar

1/22  Center Of February Stakes

3:21 p.m. Seeing T M Jinsoku win, I'm already thinking he could be the center of February Stakes.

Gold Dream, the defending champion and also the winner of Champions' Stakes last year, is probably going to February Stakes directly since he hasn't entered in any prep races so far. It's the same racing plan he's gone through last year so it's nothing unusual. But things might not work out like you plan, you see.

The End

Caterpillar

1/23  Ohi Tracks

2:25 p.m. Today's Ohi races have all been cancelled due to the track condition. No surprise there considering yesterday's snow, it must be piled up on the track and they must have decided it was unable to recover the track condition.

It seems they are holding races for tomorrow. I wonder if races have been run yesterday? They've held the races up until the 10th race, but seems to have cancelled the remaining two. That means they're going to do replacement races?

The End

Caterpillar

1/24  Interesting Member

2:06 p.m. It seems Ohi has held the races today without incident. Much of the piled snow must have melted away unlike my neighborhood, where most of it covering the streets have completely frozen in this temperature. It is rare for Tokyo to experience temperature below zero, you see.

Al Ain (last year's Satsuki-sho winner) and Clincher seem to be aiming for Kyoto Kinen and the news of their training has made the headlines. That reminds me of Ray De Oro who is also running Kyoto Kinen, which means the members are going to be interesting.

I'm afraid it's not going to be an easy race for Al Ain let alone Clincher, unless it snows in Kyoto to soften the track. And even the soft track could advantage Ray De Oro, too.

The End

Caterpillar

1/25  Spring Goal

2:01 p.m. It transpired that Ray De Oro's spring goal is Dubai Sheema Classic after all.

News reports that Kazuo Fujisawa, Ray De Oro's trainer is seeking for a chance to win Dubai Sheem Classic depending on the results of Kyoto Kinen, Ray De Oro's first race this year. If Ray De Oro enters Dubai Sheema Classic, he may be competeing against Cracksman, last year's Champion Stakes (U.K.) winner. That would be interesting, though I'd like to see Ray De Oro in domestic races.

Incidentally, my private goal for this spring was to get myself a pen-tab to draw manga. I've saved up enough to get one with my "walk-and-save" project, so will start searching and choosing one.

The End

Caterpillar

1/26  Not Necessarily

2:39 p.m. Tokyo has been met with a historical cold wave with the low temperature going several degrees below zero. They say it's the first time in the past half century.

Races on Tokyo track will be starting from this weekend including the annual Negishi Stakes (prep race for the coming February Stakes, G1) with the regular members. Although the members are regulars in dirt 1400m, it's probably not going to be an easy race. Just because he won last year, that doesn't necessarily mean Kafuji Take is going to win again.

The End

Caterpillar

1/27  Make Things Easier

2:15 p.m. Unfortunately, Best Warrior has scratched off from Negishi Stakes due to cellulitis, so the race will be run with 13 horses. That might make things easier for horses like Nobo Baccara or Love Bullet.

However, that might also make it easier for Sunrise Nova too, I'm afraid. So I will key Sunrise Nova on a wheel of Edenhall, Akito Crescent, Kafuji Take, and Bulldog Boss.

The End

Caterpillar

1/28  Nonko!?

6:31 p.m. I've learned from their web page that the 2018 model of the bike I wanted was now in store at a sports bike retail shop, I've been out to see that with my own eyes. The bike was beautiful and shouting that it wants to be bought, but 93,000 Yen is not a cheap price to pay.

I got back in the cold feeling bitter and then JRA tells me the winner of Negishi Stakes is Nonkono Yume... Nonko!? I can't tell how much I'd spent on you without having it payed back and you come now!

The End

Caterpillar

1/29  Sensational Comeback

3:48 p.m. Because Nonkono Yume has made a sensational comeback after his castration two years ago, will have to think about the possibility of Nonko performing well in February Stakes.

The biggest reason for the comeback was probably that the horse has finally recovered from both physical and mental damage of castration. The weight that once dropped to 438kg returned to 456kg, closest to that when the horse was performing its best in top category races. The fast lap and track condition also must have been stimulating for the horse. The problem is, you can't just cut out a winning horse from betting tickets, especially when they've won a short distance while the target race is also within mile's distance.

The End

Caterpillar

1/30  I Knew It

2:52 p.m. Fujisawa stable is well known to enter their horses in oversea races. So I wasn't surprised to see this news that big names in Fujisawa stable is targeting top category races abroad.

As formerly said, Ray De Oro is already announced to be aiming for Dubai Sheema Classic after Kyoto Kinen, while Soul Stirring is bound for a grade race in the U.S.A. after running Victoria Mile. Additionally, two 3-year-olds Tower Of London and Fast Approach are both planned to run in Europe after NHK Mile Cup. I knew it.

The End

Caterpillar

1/31  Big Chance

3:32 p.m. My, oh my! We're ranked in the top 5 of the ranking!!! Feeling a twinge of guilt as the ranking is for English learning websites...

Cheval Grand's plan for this spring was to start from Osaka-hai aiming Tenno-sho (spring), with Hugh Bowman on his back for Tenno-sho. The rider for Osaka-hai (also a G1) hadn't been decided at the time when this news was delivered, but it seems Daimajin Sasaki has made up his mind.

According to netkeiba.com, Kosei Miura has been chosen as the rider of Cheval Grand for Osaka-hai. I'm assuming that Sasaki (owner of Cheval) has placed his bet on this jockey who once broke Yutaka Take's record of winning 69 races in his debut year. It's a great chance for Kosei, though not easy to prove his worth.

The End

Caterpillar