NOVEMBER 23, 8:00 P.M.Didn’t hear from Barry W. for the first two days after he and Justy were released from quarantine and transferred to Fuchu racecourse in Tokyo. Unlike the quarantine facility, there was no internet connection available for his laptop. He found an internet café (shouldn’t that be an internet tea room?) got online, and then purchased a phone card. He called at 7:00 this evening and said Just As Well was doing great, that the Japanese people are extremely observant and polite.Somehow, he helped a Japanese woman with her bicycle and he said, “You would have thought I saved her life. And the life of her children and grandchildren! She kept bowing and thanking me.”I told him, “You will do well over there, because you are soft spoken and extremely polite.” After that nice little compliment, I had to tell him that Rosco removed the “Major Dog” blanket from Gizmo, his little dog that is staying here until after the Japan Cup. Rosco ripped the hell out of that little coat. Either he didn’t think Gizmo should wear a coat, or he was jealous. But Rosco seems to adore Gizmo, and when the two dogs play rough, Gizmo always makes Rosco, who is ten times larger, back down. The only down side is that Rosco has death-breath and since he licks Gizmo all the time, Gizmo smells dreadful.Barry said he’s had Justy out on the Tokyo race track and the horse seems to like it. This race will be very tough! If Just As Well can get a peice of that $5.3 million purse, it would be wonderful!The most important thing is that everyone gets through it without any injuries or trauma.God bless them both, and keep them safe! Sasscer Hill ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
JAPAN RACING ASSOCIATION REPORTS: Training Report of Foreign Entrees November 23, 2009 (Monday) FOREIGN ENTRIES - JAPAN CUP *The following comments are excerpts from quotes given by the connections and transcribed as faithfully to the original text as possible. At Tokyo Racecourse INTERPATATION (USA, g7, dark bay or brown) - lightly cantered 1 lap (appr.1,900m) on dirt course (ridden by Robert Sigouin from 7:30 to 7:42) “His condition is fine and he’s in good form. We had no problems traveling here from the quarantine center yesterday, and he has a good appetite. The racecourse here is wonderful and looks beautiful. Tomorrow we intend to work him faster than this morning. The trainer, who is coming on Wednesday, will decide when his gallop will be, but it’ll probably be on Thursday or Friday.” (Comments taken from Robert Sigouin)
JUST AS WELL (USA, h6, dark bay or brown) - jogged appr.1,700m, cantered lightly ~ gradually stronger appr.2,100m, jogged 200m on dirt course (ridden by Barry Wiseman from 7:32 to 7:45) “He is in good condition - he’s eating well and drinking well. He’s an intelligent horse, so he can adjust to new surroundings very quickly. I’m glad his bedding is wood shavings, because he always eats the straw. He loves to sand bathe, so when he’s taken out of his stall for some fresh air, we let him go once in the morning, once after training, and once in the late afternoon. The Tokyo Racecourse is beautiful - everything is very clean and organized. The dirt on the track had just the right cushion, and the uphill felt very good. We do a lot of training using hills, so the horse seemed happy too. We intend to train our horse like we did this morning - light at first and then gradually faster, let him do what’s comfortable. Tomorrow and the day after that will be more or less the same, maybe a little faster, on the dirt course.” (Comments taken from Barry Wiseman) ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
News From “THE AUSTRALIAN” Report Five foreign horses will compete with 13 locals -- Marsh Side, Interpatation and Just As Well from the US and Conduit and Scintillo from England stables. Conduit is prepared by Sir Michael Stoute who has brought Japan Cup winners Singspiel (1996) and Pilsudski (1997). As the winner in June of the Group I King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes and of the recent Breeders Cup Turf (for a second year) in the US, Conduit is in line for a special bonus. If Conduit adds the Japan Cup next Sunday, he will collect a winner's cheque of $3,026,000 and a bonus cheque of $1,588,435 for an all-up collect of $4.6m. Fellow England candidate Scintillo, by Fantastic Light, has a French Group II in June as his best effort for the year but he will need to find plenty to make any mark on his distant ninth in Conduit's King George in July. The American trio have good credentials but it seems unlikely the stars and stripes will fly for a fifth time over Fuchu. Golden Pheasant was the last US-trained runner to deliver, in 1991. March Side (by Gone West) tried for last year's Japan Cup but fell ill and was a late scratching. He has had solid form in smart company in six starts this year, with a fourth in the Group I Canadian International (2400m) at his latest outing. Interpatation, a seven-year-old gelding by former shuttler Langfuhr, also had handy form before breaking through in the Group I Aqueduct Turf Classic (2400m) in early October. Just As Well, by noted US dirt sire A.P. Indy, has made good progress on turf this year with a last-start fifth in the Canadian International at Woodbine, having won the Group I Northern Dancer Turf Stakes over the same course and distance at his previous start. Japan regularly saw foreign horses conquer their own in the early years of the Japan Cup but huge advances of the breeding industry have brought a swing towards the local product to a point where honours are now equal with 14 for foreign horses and 14 for locals. The best form pointer out of Japan in recent weeks was the Group I autumn Emperor's Cup, over 2000m late last month, in which nine possible Japan Cup runners took part. Rejuvenated galloper Company won decisively but he is not an entry to the Japan Cup. However the next three to finish, Screen Hero (2nd), Vodka (3rd) and Okan Bruce Lee (4th), are expected to be right there at the finish of the 29th Japan Cup. Screen Hero will bid to become the first to win the Japan Cup twice while Vodka will make her third attempt to become the first female runner from Japan to win. Screen Hero, by the former Australian shuttle horse Grass Wonder, was a mild upset winner last year, resisting a rally by 2008 Japan Derby winner Deep Sky to win by a half length, with Vodka third. Vodka, now five years, created history when beating the males in the 2007 Japan Derby. She made her first attempt at the Japan Cup that year, finishing a creditable fourth. Vodka, by the Sunday Silence horse Tanino Gimlet, had no luck in the Emperor's Cup last time out -- a race she had won in record time 12 months earlier -- but she powered to the line when her rider finally found her a clear passage in the closing 150m. Eishin Deputy, also by another former shuttle horse to Australia, French Deputy, found the 2000m of the Emperor's Cup a bit sharp, but he finished well to be ninth. Eishin Deputy showed his class taking the Group I Takarazuka Kinen (2200m) in mid-2008 and has run only twice since. Classy three-year-olds have left their mark on past Japan Cups and the principal contender from the classic generation among this year's Japan Cup entries is Logi Universe, by Sunday Silence's classic-winning son Neo Universe from a mare by Cape Cross, sire of this year's European champion Sea The Stars. Logi Universe will attempt the Japan Cup on a first-up preparation, having not run since winning the Japan Derby, over the Japan Cup course and distance, in late May. +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
The second novel in the "Nikki Latrelle" series is now out: RACING FROM DEATH! In addition to the new novel, Hill has produced Agatha and Macavity Best First Mystery Novel Finalist, FULL MORTALITY, and several mystery/suspense short stories and a number of articles in publications like the "Mid-Atantic Thoroughbred."
CONTACT SASSCER HILL: Hillerroo@gmail.com