Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Latest News From Japan Cup Entrant Just As Well

Barry G. Wiseman pictured above out on the track in Tokyo on Just As Well. A JRA photo.

Training Report of Foreign Entrees

November 25, 2009 (Wednesday)


At Tokyo Racecourse

*The following comments are excerpts from quotes given by the connections and transcribed as faithfully to the original text as possible.

JUST AS WELL (USA, h6. dark bay or brown)

- jogged 1/2 lap, lightly cantered ~ gradually stronger 1/2 lap (dirt course), schooled saddling and paddock area
(exercised from 7:27 to 7:35, ridden by Barry Wiseman)

“He's in good condition. It was raining when we went out on the track this morning, but being in the rain is like being in the ocean-he can relax mentally. We will breeze him at around eight o'clock tomorrow morning on the grass. I'm not worried about the long stretch of the Tokyo course. We intend to get the feel of the turf course tomorrow. ”

(comments taken from Barry Wiseman)

Additionally, an email received by Sasscer Hill in the wee hours of Wednesday morning confirms that Barry will breeze Just As Well tonight (US time) which is tomorrow morning in Japan. This time thing is confusing!

Below is the Japanese Racing Association (JRA) profile of some of the "Foreign" participants.

Japan Cup (G1) - Profiles of Conduit, Interpatation, Just as Well, Marsh Side and Scintillo

Conduit (c) JRA
CONDUIT: Hoping to add to a legacy
Has there ever been a horse of Conduit's class in the Japan Cup? The 4-year-old trained by Sir Michael Stoute and sired by 2003 European horse of the year Dalakhani has won the last two Breeders' Cup Turf races, this year's King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes and last year's St. Leger Stakes. So there's a good reason why Big Red Farm shelled out a hefty fee for Conduit to stand in Japan starting next year. The Japan Cup will be the final start of the colt's career and should Conduit win, he will be eligible for the Japan Autumn International bonus of 130 million yen. Bred by Ballymacoll Stud, the turning point of Conduit's career came on Sept. 13, 2008, when he won the St. Leger – Stoute's first victory in the race in 24 tries. The Classic triumph was followed a month later by Conduit's first win in the Breeders' Cup Turf, a win that landed him the Eclipse Award as American Champion Male Turf Horse of the year. In 2009, he won the King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes on July 25 as the first choice before finishing fourth in the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe and defending his title in the Nov. 7 Breeders' Cup Turf as the overwhelming favorite.

The 64-year-old Stoute is still the only trainer to win multiple Japan Cups, prevailing in 1996 and 1997 with Singspiel and Pilsudski, respectively. This season, Stoute, a nine-time participant in the Japan Cup and a four-time winner of the Epsom Derby, cleaned up in the King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes, producing the top three finishers including Conduit. The nine-time champion trainer also won the Coronation Cup as well as the Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud in June, and is expected to finish the year as leading trainer once again. Ballymacoll Stud has produced 27 different Grade 1 winners since 1960 under the ownership of Lord Weinstock and his family. A bulk of the farm's horses are trained by Stoute.

Ryan Moore has ridden Conduit in all but two starts – the European Breeders Fund Maiden Stakes at Wolverhampton, which the horse won for his first victory, and the St. Leger which saw Lanfranco Dettori step into the irons. In 2006, Moore became the second youngest champion jockey of all time at the age of 23 with a 182 victories. Moore, who comes from a big racing family (he is the son of trainer Gary L. Moore and brother of jump jockey Jamie and top amateur rider Hayley), also broke through at the Grade 1 level that year, winning the International Stakes under Notnowcato. He has been the chief jockey at Stoute's stable since 2008, when he again became champion jockey. Moore defended his title this season, with wins in the Queen Elizabeth II Cup aboard Presvis in Hong Kong and Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud with Spanish Moon to show for.

Interpatation (c) JRA

INTERPATATION: Still going strong
The 7-year-old gelding showed persistence does pay off as Interpatation won the Joe Hirsch Turf Classic International Stakes for the first Grade 1 victory of his career – in his 50th start. His only other graded win dates back to the Grade 3 Palm Beach Stakes he captured as a 3-year-old, although he has placed once shown twice at the highest level. Interpatation, owned by Elliot Mavorah, went off as the last choice among six in the Joe Hirsch Turf Classic International Stakes, but took the field by surprise as he burst on to the lead off the blocks. And Robby Albarado's mount never looked back in the 2,400-meter race held on yielding turf, holding off four-time Grade 1 champion Gio Ponti, runnerup at this year's Breeders' Cup Classic, to win impressively by a length and three-quarters.

Long Island-based trainer Robert Barbara quickly turned his attention toward the Japan Cup, saying after a workout earlier this month that coming to Japan was a “once in a lifetime opportunity.” Taking Interpatation's reins this weekend will be 25-year-old David Cohen, who has the 2005 Malibu Stakes and the 2006 Dubai Golden Shaheen titles with Proud Tower Too to his credit. Cohen relocated to the East coast this season, and led all jockeys in victories at Delaware Park with earnings of more than $3.17 million.

Just as Well (c) JRA
The 6-year-old son by A.P. Indy out of 2000 Del Mar Oaks runnerup No Matter What has had a decent season in 2009, marked by his first Grade 1 victory in the Sept. 20 Northern Dancer Turf Stakes after a charge of interference cost Marsh Side the win at Woodbine. Trained and owned by Jonathan Sheppard, Just as Well, bred by Augustin Stable, took second in the Arlington Million to Gio Ponti after winning the Grade 3 Arlington Handicap, his only outright win in nine starts this year. Up until the Northern Dancer Turf Stakes, the horse had never run at 2,400 meters. But Julien Leparoux, who has won the Santa Anita Handicap and the Woodford Reserve Handicap aboard Einstein, settled his partner well before making a late rush, and the jockey did the same in the Canadian International Stakes, also at 12 furlongs at Woodbine (Just as Well finished fifth). And Leparoux, the French-born current money leader in North America, should find the strategy effective at Tokyo where the final straight runs more than 500 meters.

Sheppard, the Hall of Fame trainer who has found success in both steeplechase and flat racing, returns to Japan after eight years, previously having entered Ninepins in the 2000 Nakayama Grand Jump and With Anticipation in the 2001 Japan Cup. The president of the U.S. National Steeplechase Association is only one of two men who have trained a champion on both flat ground and in the jumps.

Marsh Side (c) JRA
The Neil Drysdale-trained Marsh Side, owned by Robert Evans, is back for the Japan Cup after pulling out a day before the race last year with a fever. The 6-year-old, however, remains winless in starts in 2009, his best result being a second-place finish in the Woodford Reserve Manhattan Handicap in June. Marsh Side crossed the line first in the Northern Dancer Turf Stakes, but was dropped to fourth after the stewards found him guilty of interfering on the home stretch. He had his moment in the Woodford Reserve Manhattan Handicap against red-hot favorite Gio Ponti, but finished a definitive length and a half behind. Drysdale, the Hall of fame trainer well known in Japan for taking Fusaichi Pegasus to the Kentucky Derby winner's circle, returns for a fifth serving of the Japan Cup, his Sarafan taking a narrow second to Falbrav in the 2002 race. Drysdale also entered Becrux in the 2007 Mile Championship, who came in eighth. Javier Castellano, one of the most accomplished jockeys in North American racing, will continue to ride Marsh Side who is keen for his first win since last year's Canadian International Stakes.

Scintillo (c) JRA
The 4-year-old by Fantastic Light has just one victory on turf this year, the Grade 2 Grand Prix de Chantilly in May; his winning time of 2 minutes, 34.6 seconds was more than 12 seconds off the pace of the Japan Cup record. Scintillo hasn't even been close in his last three starts, losing by a combined 90 lengths; he was said to have finished 50 lengths behind Conduit in the King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes. Britain's two-time champion trainer Richard Hannon will be throwing Scintillo, whose target is next year's Melbourne Cup, to the wolves on Sunday, but one has to hope the colt owned by Australian Leonard Lucas will find it within himself to bite back against a field as strong as the one on Sunday. Gerald Mosse, a three-time participant of the Japan Cup, is expected to ride in place of Richard Hughes.

1 comment:

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