7/01  Forward!

5:34 p.m. Daimei Princess didn't do well at all, did she? My first summer race challenge has been another blunder which only shows where I am at the moment. THIS is going to be my start and the important thing is that I'd taken my first step and there's nowhere else but forward to go.

Will have to look into the cause of my loss in order to set myself on the right track. Well, at least revise to get closer.

The End

Caterpillar

7/02  Exciting Challenge

4:29 p.m. I will look into my problems but after that we have the Tanabata-sho, Procyon Stakes and most of all there's the Kaisei-zan Tokubetsu.

Kaisei-zan Tokubetsu is a lower ranker race for horses aiming to win the prize of about ten million yen. What's special about this race is that Ojuchosan who's already won five G1 races is entering with Yutaka take on its back. Oju is a star horse in the world of steeplechase that has won five G1s already however, the horse's owner had announced about a month ago, that now they will start on a new challenge of winning o G1 on turf tracks. Not to mention the news ignited all us fans. What an exciting challenge!

So there is no wonder Ojuchosan is currently the most favored in the expected win odds of Kaisei-zan Tokubetsu, the 9th race at Fukushima on Saturday 7th of July which also falls on our traditional event Tanabata.

The End

Caterpillar

7/03  Always Wanted to Win

3:00 p.m. I am disappointed and frustrated by our loss in the World Cup. I mean, we were so close to getting in the top eight and then, we lost it all because we didn't have any world-class reserve players to replace our exhausted defenders. They lacked concentration for the last few minutes and look what happened. As for the other two Belgium goals, I blame the goalie for not realizing his weak points and the coach who kept him on the starting members' list though he had made unthinkable misses. However, this too was caused by the same problem, not having enough players that could perform well in a world class match. We ought to learn something from this match.

Meantime, I'm starting to work on Tanabata-sho, a race I've always wanted to win but have never. If I'm criticizing our team and coach, I ought to win the race.

The End

Caterpillar

7/04  How Disappointing!

3:48 p.m. The news came in last night that Real Steel was retiring.

What!? While Ojuchosan who is a 7-year-old champion horse in steeplechase is starting on a new challenge, Real Steel 6 years old who hasn't even won a G1 domestically is already retiring? How disappointing!

The End

Caterpillar

7/05  Seeing Light

2:25 p.m. News of training is coming in as usual, including Ojuchosan and some other horses entering Tanabata-sho. Oh yes, almost forgot about Makahiki who is coming back from a fraction break in Sapporo Kinen. Makahiki has come back to his stable and started his training for Sapporo Kinen, which I'm very skeptical about.

While these horses are training for their aimed races, I am stiching up my spare time to analyze the local summer races for lower categories. I have a hunch I might be seeing a light though tiny.

The End

Caterpillar

7/06  Oju Secures Post

2:40 p.m. The entry for this weekend's races have been closed and, Ojuchosan who was worried to be left out when there were too many horses entering Kaisei-zan Tokubetsu has secured his entry. The barrier has also been drawn to put him in post number 6. Not a bad draw. If the track softens with this rain, that might become an advantage for him, too.

As for Tanabata-sho the most favored Sable Or is in post number 6, while Kinsho Yukihime and Platinum Bullet has drawn post number2 and 1, respectively. Meiner Frost who has come in 2nd last year has drawn post number 3. Looks like a good draw to me, especially if the track stays soft.

The End

Caterpillar

7/07  Let's See

2:01 p.m. Unfortunately, I cannot watch Oju's race on real time basis as I've got a meeting, but will look forward to his success in his new challenge.

My call for Tanabata-sho which I've never won before has consumed too much time that I haven't been able to look into Procyon Stakes yet. So here's my call for Tanabata-sho. The key is Kinsho Yukihime. I've thought of making it Meiner Frost but decided against it, since his condition doesn't seem to be so good. On the wheel would be Platinum Bullet, Sable Or, Reiho Romance and Meiner Milano. Let's see what happens.

The End

Caterpillar

7/08  Might As Well

7:06 p.m. Have vacuumed the floor, done my washing, washed my umbrella and dried it with the washing, everything is crispy dry and feel very good except for my terrible loss for Tanabata-sho.

Fukushima tracks were announced to be firm though the earlier race records suggested that it might be softer. I'd took that into account and cut out Platinum Bullet and included Power Pocket instead, when I checked the loss and gains of the horses' weight, but that was as far as I could reach. The top three horses that staged a huge payout of 2,563,330 yen in triplet were all soft track experts. The track was much softer, almost muddy in fact however, it was beyond my imagination.

Right. Another lesson learned. The least blessing is that Ojuchosan has won in his first challenge on flat turf without hurdles. Might as well trudge on with mine.

The End

Caterpillar

7/09  Which Race?

2:43 p.m. Since Ojuchousan has won a race on flat turf course, now he can enter a G1 race on flat turf and we are getting even more excited.

In the JRA system, you need to win at least one race on flat course without hurdles in order to enter higher category races (Oju had started his steeplechase carrier without winning a flat course race). When that condition is cleared, it depends on the amount of prize money earned whether a horse can enter or not. Oju has already earned himself over 5 bilion yen with 5 steeplechase G1s, so he has enough money to enter a turf G1 if he wants to. That's why the talks have now moved onto which race he is going to enter this fall, Nakayama Grand Jump, Japan Cup or Arima Kinen?

The End

Caterpillar

7/10  Watch Out

3:16 p.m. About 10 minutes before Tanabata-sho was run, Matera Sky has won Procyon Stakes setting up a new race record.

Matera Sky has come in 5th place in Dubai Golden Shaheen against Mind Your Biscuits, X Y Jet, or Roy H, which turned out to be a bit of a surprise since the horse hadn't even won a G3 race in Japan yet. He would surely becomne a good rival for Le Vent Se Leve considering his high performance in Procyon Stakes.

However, you ought to watch out. I wouldn't buy him in his next race if I were in your place, because such high performance almost always leaves damage to the horse.

The End

Caterpillar

7/11  Do My Best

2:17 p.m. This week it's Hakodate Kinen which I also havne't won in my life.

As I've learned a lesson, I've already looked into the past ten years of results on this particular race, analytics waiting to be done. Though I have a feeling I can't come up with any specific clues to win it... Still, I will do my best. The air conditioner in my room has broken down about a week ago, after 20 years of devotion. I need to win that money to replace it when it's predicted to be 35 degrees outside.

The End

Caterpillar

7/12  Japan Dirt D'erby

3:21 p.m. In Japan Dirt D'erby that was held on Ohi tracks last night, Le Vent Se Leve has sweeped up the others to win his first 2,000m race. I bet the owner and the crew have already penned Champions' Cup in their calendar by now.

Meanwhile, I hadn't just been fiddling but working hard to narrow down my choices for Hakodate Kinen. It's coming out fine for now.

The End

Caterpillar

7/13  Haven't Yet Forgotten

4:40 p.m. The barrier draw for the weekend races have been announced, Hakodate Kinen not being an exception. The most favored Tricolore Bleu drew post number 7, while Black Bago the 2nd favored and Suzuka Devious the 3rd favored drew 1 and 5, respectively. So Black Bago has been pushed up to the 2nd favored, huh? Everyone must be worried about the track condition.

A heat wave is hitting Tokyo with the temperature only rising towards Monday. Though I haven't yet forgotten the lesson I'd learned last week, that things could be quite different on local turf. Will take that into account when calling the race tomorrow.

The End

Caterpillar

7/14  Hate To Have To

5:23 p.m. So now it's time for my spirited call for Hakodate Kinen.

My key horse is Meiner Honey. I'm too exhausted to write the reason why. On the wheel would be Sakura Empereur, Air Anthem, Curren Last Show and Nasuno Seikan. I hate to have to say it again, but I've never won this race before either.

The End

Caterpillar

7/15  Was I Close?

5:14 p.m. Meiner Honey and Curren Last Show both went up leading the other horses which I expected them to, but eventually sunk low in the results list giving way to horses that marked them right behind.

The lap time wasn't too fast so perhaps it was because of their condition? Or maybe I shouldn't have keyed Meiner Honey in the first place as he's from the wimpy five-year-old generation? Having Air Anthem and Sakura Empereur coming in 1st and 2nd, I don't know if I was close or not.

The End

Caterpillar

7/16  Can't Give Up Yet

7:52 p.m. It was even hotter than yesterday, and I'm counting fingers to the day my new air conditioner arrives. Might die in this heat before it arrives.

No, I can't just give up my life yet, as Mitsuba has won the Mecury Cup in Morioka and there will be Chukyo Kinen this week. It's true Tanabata-sho and Hakodate Kinen had been a complete loss, though my call was the closest I got in my career of losses in these two races. If I'm getting closer, I can't give up now.

The End

Caterpillar

7/17  Plausible Conclusion

2:34 p.m. Chukyou Kinen was originally run in 2,000 meters during March however, the race has been moved to summer whilst shortening its distance to 1600 meters. These changes have been made since 2012, so I will only have the past 6 years to refer to, to grasp the trend in winning horses.

I'm guessing it might be close to Tokyo 1600 meters, but you just don't know until you actually look into it. Personally, I can't shake off the image and memory of the spring 2,000 meter races, so I have no idea whether I could come to a plausible conclusion or not.

The End

Caterpillar

7/18  Unlike Last Week

5:29 p.m. How in the world am I supposed to write? From the lack of sleep possibly due to sleeping in an un-airconditoned room, it's getting harder and harder to stay awake during this time of day.

Let alone, search aimlessly for clues that might lead me to a win of Chukyo Kinen. So far, I haven't dug out anything unlike last week. Not that I win if I find one.

The End

Caterpillar

7/19  On The Brink

4:45 p.m. Hmmm... have been staring a hole into the entry sheet and past results of Chukyo Kinen, but still haven't found any specific clues yet.

Just a hunch that perhaps Relaible Ace might be able to perform well? Though it could be difficult for the horse to be in the race since his current prize money earned is one of the lowest. 16 horses is the maximum entering this race, and Reliable Ace seems to be on the brink.

The End

Caterpillar

7/20  Post Secured

2:45 p.m. Since it's Friday, JRA has announced the barrier draw for Chukyo Kinen.

The most favored and last year's defending champion Win Gagnant is in post number 13, while the 2nd favored Greater London is in 16 the outmost post, and the 3rd favored One To One is in post number 11. Reliable Ace also have secured a post in 4. So it's going to be a full-gate race.

The End

Caterpillar

7/21  Hope It Works

3:03 p.m. Eventually, I couldn't find any specific clues to which horse I should buy for Chukyo Kinen. So I decided to rely on my usual measurements; physical and mental freshness.

Given that, my key horse should logically be the most youngest and freshest, Frontier. On the whell would be Daimei Fuji, Win Gagnant, Mieno Succeed and Greater London. Hope it works.

The End

Caterpillar

7/22  As Usual

4:45 p.m. Air conditioning is a magical invention. Whoever must have invented it must be a genius. Back in my air conditioned pleasant life, I screwed it up again as usual.

My Frontier lost in a close fourth place, beaten by Reliable Ace which I had completely forgotten about in a confusion of things. Not that I would have won if I didn't forget him. Rather, I must have been rolling over in agony.

The End

Caterpillar

7/23  Queen Stakes!

2:49 p.m. I've been building a mountain of losses this summer as I'd expected, but well, I do feel like I'm getting closer to a hit.

In such situation, I wonder if the timing is right or not but Sapporo, Niigata and Kokura race tracks starts their summer schedule. And here comes Queen Stakes this weekend! Queen Stakes is the only race I've won in the past summer races. Last year, I called a triplet of 29,800 yen with Aerolithe as key however, missed the chance to actually buy betting tickets, thanks to Cow.

The End

Caterpillar

7/24  Awaiting

2:41 p.m. Speaking of Queen's Stakes, my attention goes to the 3-year-olds, not to mention.

I see 2 three-year-olds on the entry list, both with the lightest handicap weight of 51kg. Considering the career, it looks like Liberty Heights rather than Tszumimon though it will surely take more time to actually figure things out. An inner post would also advantage Liberty Heights, which must be awaited.

The End

Caterpillar

7/25  Has A Chance

3:47 p.m. Of course, Tuzumimon also has a chance especially, if she'd take the lead. But she hasn't experienced any distance extension, so I just can't be sure whether she can handle it in her first try. Assuming from her background, I think she has the features to perform well in this particular race.

Liberty Heights and Tsuzumimon are both young and fresh, so I'd probably choose one of them as my key. Though will have to take their post postions into account, so you will have to wait for my call for now.

The End

Caterpillar

7/26  What to Do?

2:03 p.m. I just read the news that João Moreira is going to ride from this Saturday... that means he'd probably ride in Queen Stakes, too.

Went to check out the entry form and discovered that he was riding Agreable. The horse is still in the 10 million class but who knows what will happen if the "magic man" is going to ride her. Besides, there is a chance that Hakodate tracks become soft affected by the approaching typhoon. If so, it will likely to advantage Agreable. Oh god, what to do?

The End

Caterpillar

7/27  Difficult to Win

2:26 p.m. The barriers for Queen's Stakes has been announced. The most favored Deirdre is in post number 9, while the second favored (I didn't think she was still that favored) Soul Stirring drew 2 and the 3rd favored Frontier Queen post number 5. The 3-year-olds Tuzumimon and Liberty Heights drew post numbers 4 and 6 respectively.

Because there are only 11 horses running in this race, the chances are that horses in inner posts will generally have the advantage. Adding the fact that horses that went up front has been performing well in the past ten years' results, I'm afraid it will be difficult for horses like Deirdre to win.

The End

Caterpillar

7/28  Ridiculous

5:42 p.m. The news of "my" Danon Ballad coming back to Japan as a stud after working in the U.K. and Italy has lighted me up in this turbulant weather. Don't mind his being a Deep Impact descendant, he bought me my iPad together with Gold Ship and I will never forget that.

I couldn't decide my key horse between the two 3-year-olds running in Queens Stakes and eventually, decided to change my key horse to Agreable. If João Moreira who has come within 3rd place in 6 races out of 7 he rode today, it would be ridiculous not to do so with this horse. On the wheel would be, Tsuzumimon, Frontier Queen, Liberty Heights, Andriette.

The End

Caterpillar

7/29  Completely Forgotten

9:16 p.m. I've forgotten. I've completely forgotten that Hakodate now has a fast track condition....

More than a decade ago when I used to buy betting tickets througouht the year, Hakodate turf was covered with Italian ryegrass which tend to consume power and speed for the running horses. As a result, it usually took a few more seconds to run the same distance compared to other race courses. I'm not sure if they'd changed the grass, but lately the track condition has changed on the contrary. It became firm and fast. But I had completely forgotten about that since I hadn't been buying tickets during summer season for a while.

The End

Caterpillar

7/30  Don't Feel Like

4:33 p.m. I'm adding to the top of my mountain of losses. Ant to make things worse, my lap-top hasn't been shutting down properly since last weekend...

I suspected the Windows Update and have done disk cleaning, defrag, everything I could think of and the situation is not improving so far. Exhausting. Don't feel like thinking about either the Leopard Stakes or Kokure Kinen.

The End

Caterpillar

7/31  It Wouldn't Hurt

2:51 p.m. It's hot again and I had to run the checkdisk program on my laptop against my will. So I'm definitely not in the mood to search or think about the weekend races. But it wouldn't hurt to take a peek of the entry sheet, I reckon.

A brief look at Kokura Kinen made me think that it might be a good idea to start from San Martin rather than Satono Chronicle. Having finished in 2nd place in the same race last year at least proves the horse performs well on Kokura course. 92% done!

The End

Caterpillar