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8/01  Maybe This Year

4:50 p.m. Have read the jockey comment but Yutaka said there was nothing wrong about the condition of Water Navillera.

Personally, I think the reason for her loss was not simply the distance. If the trainer (Koshiro) thought the distance was too long he probably wouldn't have entered Water Navillera in Queen Stakes, let alone Oaks. Can't quite figure it out yet.

Letting the past be the past, I'm thinking of calling Elm Stakes this weekend. As you know, I'm not good with dirt races however, I'm counting on last year's notes to save me this year. Have learned a wee bit about summer races by now, so if I add that to my notes maybe I could win this year.

The End

Caterpillar

8/02  Repeater-Friendly

1:56 p.m. My notes from last year's Elm Stakes says "horses that could either take good position up front from the outside or speed horses that could smoothly take the lead perform better". This is because the front runners starting from inner posts tend to give up the race in the position battle during the downhill around the 2nd corner.

Last year, I've underestimated Suave Aramis being caught up in these words. The pace became tight and Suave Aramis seemingly didn't get too cramped. From the results of the past 10 years, you can see that Elm Stakes's pace tends to become tight although it rarely runs as a full-field race. Guess it's thanks to the course layout.

Perhaps since Elm Stakes has a characteristic race setting, it's a repeater-friendly race. Lord Bless is not entering this year, so there might be a chance for either Suave Aramis or Omega Rainbow.

The End

Caterpillar

8/03  Possibility to Sink

2:32 p.m. Even though Elm Stakes is a repeater-friendly race, there's a possibility for both Suave Aramis and Omega Rainbow to sink below 4th place.

Omega Rainbow currently the most favored in expected win odds, have lost in 4th place in his previous race Marine Stakes. In order to comme back this weekend, the horse will need at least conditions similar to last year for example, tight pace or outer post.

On the other hand, it looks like Suave Aramis would need much more. Although his competitors in the previous race Teioh-sho hae been higher in level compared to Marine Stakes, 2.7 seconds' gap from the winning horse isn't easy to recover. If it was the choice between these two horses, I'd want to choose Omega Rainbow.

The End

Caterpillar

8/04  A Little Rain

3:56 p.m. The entry for Elm Stakes has been closed and there will be 14 horses running this year, the same as last year. If Suave Aramis or Omega Rainbow draw the same barrier as last year, that could become an advantage.

However, Suave Aramis carried 56kg two kilograms lighter weight last year, and he also seemed well conditioned assuming it was the second win for him last summer following Marine Stakes. Whereas this year, he hasn't won since Tokai Stakes in January.

One thing I learned through losing the summer races this year was that well-conditioned horses perform better than horses not winning recently although they have grade race achievements. Grade winners and runner-ups are well-remembered and tend to become favored, but they don't perform well. The ones that perform well are the rather unfavored achieved horses that recently have been losing. They need good reasons for their previous losses, though as well as advantages such as the course layout, the barrier, the pace or the track condition.

Given that, perhaps a little rain might be a help for Suave Aramis.

The End

Caterpillar

8/05  Hearts of Steel

6:49 p.m. The barrier draw has been announced for Elm Stakes and I'm not quite sure whether the pace would be tight or average. Generally thinking, I'd say the possibility for a tight pace is higher.

From the results of the past 10 years, don't think I should wory about which horse takes the lead as leading horses mostly perform well either when Elm Stakes has become a small-field race or the dirt wet and fast. The forecast for Sapporo this weekend is not showing signs of rain, so I guess I wouldn't have to worry about leading horses.

Now that leading horses are off my target, the ones to focus on would be horses that could sweep up from the outside and inner post drawers that have hearts of steel and could survive the fierce position battle. But then again, I bump into the question of A or B, Omega Rainbow or Suave Richard?

The End

Caterpillar

8/06  Tears, Tears

6:42 p.m. I wanted to go for a walk but it's already become dark. Have rushed my call as best as I could though in vain. Tears, tears.

After much thinking I decided to key Omega Rainbow. If it was the choice between Suave Aramis, I figured Omega Rainobow would perform better. The inner post he drew is a nuissance, but well, it might not turn out bad afater all since Omega Rainbow could stay back if necessary.

As for the top two performers from Marine Stakes, I thought this race could be too tough for frmale horses and left out Well Done. Also, I wanted to include Lord Eclair but dismissed the idea as it wasn't a small-field race. Resultingly on the wheel are Bratty Kid, History Maker, Full Depth Leader, Black Armet, and Lord Regalis.

The End

Caterpillar

8/07  Mischoice

4:23 p.m. Argh! Close! As a matter of fact, I'd been torn between Full Depth Leader and Well Done behind the struggle of choosing between Omega Rainbow and Suave Aramis.

Somehow I thought I had to choose one horse from the winner and runner-up of Marine Stakes though actually, there were times like last year when both of them have performed well in Elm Stakes. Have to admit it was a mischoice as well as misjudgement.

I wish someone would have told me beforehand, though that this year was the time to keep both on the wheel.

The End

Caterpillar

8/08  Not Any Choice

5:06 p.m. Trying to be careful not to mischoose this week but there isn't any choice between Sekiya Kinen at Niigata and Kokura Kinen, as I've won Kokura Kinen last year.

Kokura Kinen has annually been held as a small-field race apart from a few exceptional years. Last year, the slightly soft track condition and R Star's scratch-off has tipped in a trio win for me.

As of today, I see 20 horses entered this year which might or might not narrow down to the annual 10 or 12 however, if the barriers would be filled there could be a chance for a longshot like Tagano Diamante, Humidor, Double Sharp or even Cadenas, who knows?

The End

Caterpillar

8/09  Kokura 2000m Turf

2:38 p.m. Come to think of it, perhaps Niigata would have muddy tracks from heavy rain? If so, maybe Sekiya Kinen would end with front runners.

I've checked the weekly forecast for Niigata race tracks but couldn't be sure about the track condition. That was a hare-brained. Have dismissed the idea and told myself to focus on Kokura Kinen. Oh, but have noticed something about Sapporo dirt 1700m and want to try it on a Saturday race.

Oops, getting back on track. Basically, I'm focusing on horses that have performed well on Kokura 2000m turf. That's how I won last year, that should help me again this year. Among this year's entrees, Ardently, Win Liberment, Cadenas. Sifflement, Super Feather, Tagano Passion, Double Sharp, Humidor, Hindu Times, Maria Elena, Musica, and Mozu Nagareboshi. Phew, there's quite a few.

The End

Caterpillar

8/10  Not Especially

1:59 p.m. Checked out if there were repeaters in Kokura Kinen as usual. A necessary process considering this local race track is unique in its own way.

Looking back the past 10 years, there were only two of them the Kokura specialist Meisho Naruto and Beruf. Not especially repeater-friendly, I'd say. Both horses made it to the top 3 in their first challenge to older horses' grade race and performed as highly in their second challenge.

This year the horses that have the possibility to become repeaters are Super Feather and Mozu Nagareboshi. Super Feather apparently seems to be aiming for Kokura Kinen but Mozu Nagareboshi I'm afraid, hasn't been performing well lately. It might be better not to get too caught up in repeaers.

The End

Caterpillar

8/11  Impressive and Inspiring

2:23 p.m. Have watched a recorded program on Daisuke Fukumoto and Mighty Heart, Canadian double crown winning jockey and horse. Impressed as well as inspired. Mighty Heart looks like he could handle turf, the loss of his third crown rather seemed to be caused by the pace and his rival front runner that stuck to him until the end of the backstretch.

The entry for Kokura Kinen shall be closed in a while. I could start thinking then. Meanhile the only 3-year-old entering this race Piece of Eight is being favored, the 3rd favored at this point in expected win odds.

Piece of Eight is carrying 4kg lighter weight than in his previous race D'erby. That's almost cheating. He's won Kokura 1800m turf in his debut race so obviously, the crew are targeting Kokura Kinen. A tight pace would give him another advantage in my humble opinion.

The End

Caterpillar

8/12  Wasting

4:33 p.m. The entry has been closed and the barriers have been drawn for Kokura Kinen. 16 horses would be running this year, so there might be a chance for a long shot.

Wasting the precious opportunity of a full-field race, the pace might not become that tight. If so, the position during the race and instantaneous speed would be important. However, it will be difficult for horses with instantaneous speed to take over from the outside when the pace lags to a slow especially with this many horses running, so outer starters could be diadvantaged depending on the pace.

Since I can't pin down the pace, will have to wait till tomorrow's results to seek other options such as track condition.

The End

Caterpillar

8/13  Brewed Confidence

8:42 p.m. My try out for today's Sapporo dirt 1700m turned out to be a loss as a result, but have brewed a bit of confidence with it. A tiny little fire of hope.

As for Kokura Kinen I feel no certainties at all. Just trying desperately to make use of the information gathered from today's race results that, the track seems to be firm and fast, front runners with instantaneous speed are doing well, and outer starters will be disadvantaged when ths pace lags.

Since I'm guessing the pace to be slow or average at best, I'm keying Piece of Eight on a wheel of Maria Elena, Musica, Tagano Diamante, Sifflement, and Cadenas. Have ditched the idea of outer post starters.

The End

Caterpillar

8/14  Bombed Again

4:27 p.m. Bombed again, really. I've been trying to improve but so far nothing seems to be working.

The pace turned out to be average which meant that horses performing well in their previous races could perform well again however, such idea had completely fallen out from my memory even when I'd guessed the pace right.

Felt a twinge of alert when I saw Hindu Times has lost 12 kg and now I know I should have switched him with Cadenas, bcause Vincent Ho Chak-yiu is doing fairly well. As for Piece of Eight, can understand it wasn't easy to make up from the huge loss in D'erby but 5th place having been blessed with a close-to-cheating condition, it can't be just washed away as unlucky. This year's 3-year-olds might not be worth my attention.

The End

Caterpillar

8/15  Sapporo Kinen Search

5:55 p.m. Haven't done my review yet since I've been busy gathering information on Sapporo Kinen. Also had to copy music data onto a microSD from iTunes.

My 13-year-old iPod nano is still working despite the battery deterioration however, the bluetooth transmitter I'd bought a couple of years ago has gone posiibly, because of overcharging. Didn't imagine the transmitter didn't have a circuit to prevent overcharging since my other devices do. So finally, decided to put music onto my smartphone which I've been avoiding to save storage.

Anyway, learned a few things from the Sapporo Kinen search. One, the most favored in win odds somehow can't win. Two, post numbers one (or two) is the lucky draw, and three, G1 winners perform well if or when there are any running.

The End

Caterpillar

8/16  The Findings

1:35 p.m. About the findings of yesterday.

The most favored in win odds of Sapporo Kinen smehow can't win. Well, at least for the past 10 years they haven't won. They've either finished 2nd or 3rd except for 2015 when the most favored Toho Jackal finished in 9th place.

This could be considered as a rare case since Toho Jackal wasn't run in any race for over six months after he'd won Kikka-sho in 2014. In his previous race to Sapporo Kinen, Toho Jackal raced in Takaraduka Kinen losing in 4th place nad perhaps everyone thought he'd come back in Sapporo Kinen where there were no other G1 winners. However, the horse deieved expectations.

It seems Toho Jackal has reached his best performance in Kikka-sho while stepping up the ladder by extending the distance (and race grade). Such horses could be a boobie trap but oterwise you might be able to think that the most favored in win odds could be a good candidate to put on the wheel.

The End

Caterpillar