It’s a battle of ages and genders in the Mile Championship (G1) at the Hanshin racecourse on November 21st with a 5-year-old mare Gran Alegria looking for a repeat win before retiring and some promising 3 year old colts stand in the way.
Gran Alegria, a daughter of Deep Impact She is also aiming for her sixth win at the highest level. Four of her previous Class 1 victories were the mile distance and her victories in the Yasuda Kinen (G1), Sprinters Stakes (G1) and Mile Championship earned her the 2020 Champion Sprinter / Miler honors.
In 2021, Gran Alegria has only clinched one victory of four starts and was third in the Tenno Sho (autumn, G1) at 2,000 meters (approx. 1 1/4 miles) on their last start on October 31st.
“There’s not much time between the Tenno Sho and this race,” said Kazuo Fujisawa, Gran Alegria Meter coach.
“Last year didn’t work out that much in her favor, but she did well until the end,” added Fujisawa. “This year there is a fantastic young horse in the mix and this one is retiring. She is a horse that has given everything since she was two years old, but I ask her to please give it all one more time.”
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In fact, there are several promising 3-year-olds in the 16 horse field.
Danon the child won the Hopeful Stakes (G1) in 2020 and was named the best 2-year-old in the country. Quick master won the NHK Mile Cup (G1) for the 3-year-olds in spring. and Grenadier Guard won the Asahi Hai Futurity Stakes (G1) last year.
Danon the Kid, op Only one way Colt, finished fourth in the Fuji Stakes (G3) when he returned from a summer break and coach Takayuki Yasuda is expecting better.
“The firing had something to do with it,” said Yasuda of the Fuji Stakes loss. “But I didn’t expect that he would be overtaken as he was. I think he will be able to keep up on Sunday.”
Schnell Meister, a son of King man , won his fall debut on October 10th at Mainichi Okan (G2) at Tokyo Racecourse. This win, said coach Takahisa Tezuka, “means he can win the grade 1. But Gran Alegria is strong and with jockey Christophe Lemaire it is quite an opponent.”
Grenadier Guard, by Frankel , from the Harlington mare Wavell Avenue He is winless in three 2021 starts, but finished third in the NHK Mile Cup in May and again third in the Keisei Hai Autumn Handicap (G3) at the Nakayama Racecourse after a four-month holiday.
Assistant coach Taku Fukunaga said the Grenadier Guards’ preparations are going “extremely well. I think he has a lot more to do as a three-year-old.”
The 3 year quota also includes Ho O Amazon and Ripresa.
Some of the older runners also have potential for excitement.
Indy Champ , a 6 year old son of Stay gold , won the 2019 Mile Championship and returned after finishing second last year. Indy Champ is a consistent result and has only taken one win out of nine starts since winning this race two years ago.
Salios, a 4 year old son of Cry of the heart He finished fifth in the 2020 Mile Championship after a delayed start and was unplaced in two previous starts this year. He won the Asahi Hai Futurity in 2019 and was only second contrails last year in both Satsuki Sho (Japanese Two Thousand Guineas, G1) and Tokyo Yushun (Japanese Derby, G1).
Coach Noriyuki Hori said Salios had overcome a number of minor issues but is now in good shape, adding: “I’m sending him to the goal with confidence.”
The race is driven in a sweeping curve on the outer grass course. The long route climbs steeply just before the finish.