A cavalcade of retired stars continues at Arima Kinen (G1) on Nakayama Racecourse on December 26th Chrono Genesis tries to imitate contrails, Gran Alegria , and just love you with a career win.
As always, the revolving door keeps spinning, and some savvy younger rivals are poised to rise at Arima Kinen to fill in the void.
Japanese fans are encouraged to vote for the horses they would like to see run at Arima Kinen. The participation of the top votes is of course not guaranteed, but this year, in addition to Chrono Genesis, 3-year-olds were also among the top three in the election Efforia and Defending champion and everyone is expected to participate.
Chrono Genesis, a 5 year old Bago Mare, won the Arima Kinen 2020 and will only start for the fourth time in 2021 as coach Takashi Saito has spread her efforts over an ambitious itinerary.
She started the year with a dramatic second, just a neck short Mixed reef (IRE) and a neck ahead of Loves Only You at the Longines Dubai Sheema Classic (G1) in Meydan in March. She came home to take a repeat win at Takarazuka Kinen (G1) in Hanshin in June, then stopped driving until she finished seventh on unsuitable ground at the Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe (G1) in Longchamp occupied on October 3rd.
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Christophe Lemaire received the call at Takarazuka Kinen after regular rider Yuichi Kitamura was injured in May, and Lemaire is expected to compete in the mare’s final race.
Loves Only You, part of this desperate fight at the Sheema Classic, said goodbye to the Longines Hong Kong Cup (G1) on December 12th at Sha Tin Racecourse after the Longines Hong Kong Cup (G1).
As the stars of the past seasons flash in the early darkness of winter, Efforia seems more than ready to take his place in the pantheon of Japanese horse heroes.
Efforia defeated Contrail in Tenno Sho (Fall) at Tokyo Racecourse
the Epiphaneia Colt has already mastered some of his elders and achieved a solid win over Contrail and Gran Alegria in the Tenno Sho (Fall) (G1) at Tokyo Racecourse on October 31st. He has five wins from six starts with his only loss in a runner-up at Tokyo Yushun (Japanese Derby, G1).
Trainer Yuichi Shikato expressed his satisfaction with the stallion’s last quick work.
“It was fine for a week,” said Shikato. “He came back from the farm happy and healthy and the training went well.”
Contrail, the 2020 Japanese Triple Crown Champion, started his breeding career after recovering from losing Tenno Sho with a win in the Japan Cup (G1) on November 28th. Gran Alegria also returned from the defeat and ended her career with an impressive score in the Mile Championship (G1) on November 21 in Hanshin.
Title holder, a length of time Colt, was more in and out during his 3 year season. After finishing second behind Efforia in Satsuki Sho (Japanese Two Thousand Guineas, G1), he finished sixth in Tokyo Yushun and 13th in Asahi Hai St. Lite Kinen on September 20 when he was seriously hampered by traffic. He reversed his form completely on October 24th in the 3,000-meter (about 1 7/8 mile) Kikuka Sho (Japanese St. Leger, G1) and won by five lengths.
Four of the last 10 winners of the Arima Kinen came straight from the Kikuka Sho – three winners of this marathon and the other, the fourth. This year’s Kikuka Sho fourth, Stella Veloce, another very promising 3-year-old colt, is also in the field of Arima Kinen.
The 2,500 meter long Arima Kinen begins on the outer loop of the Nakayama Racecourse lawn, passes the grandstand for the first time and then follows the inner loop a second time on the route to the winning post.
The Arima Kinen is the penultimate grade 1 on the Japanese racing calendar in 2021, two days later the Hopeful Stakes (G1) for 2-year-olds follow on the same track. The elite sport will then be interrupted until the stakes in February (G1) take place on February 20th at Tokyo Racecourse.