The Hopeful Stakes December 28th at Nakayama Racecourse is the final Class 1 event of the Japanese season, but more importantly, the effective start of the classics in 2022.
Fifteen two-year-olds are set for the 2,000-meter (approximately 1 1/4 miles) run.
contrails won in 2019, won the Triple Crown in 2020, and retired after winning the Japan Cup in 2021. Saturnalia won in 2018 and won the Satsuki Sho (Japanese Two Thousand Guineas, G1) the following year. Danon the child won the 2020 edition and, although he had no influence on the classics, was most recently third in the Mile Championship (G1) last month.
At the beginning, the Hopeful 2021 is a mixed mix with 10 of the 15 wins and six of these already stakes winners.
The pari-mutuel favorite on the eve of the race with odds of almost 3-1 was Command line, one Deep Impact Colt who won the Saudi Arabia Royal Cup (G3) on October 9th at Tokyo Racecourse 2 to 2. With the royal connections of breeder Northern Farm and owner Sunday Racing Co., his early success comes as no surprise, but coach Sakae Kunieda expects more when he travels.
Sign up for Bloodhorse Daily
“On his last start the pace was slow and jockey Christophe Lemaire read it well and made his move. It was a very good ride and the colt gained good ground in the last stage. He came back and looked a size bigger. ” “Said Kunieda.
“The extra distance is a plus. He’s a big horse but not fat and I think he has just matured,” added the trainer. He lived up to expectations from his debut so I’m excited to see how well he does in first grade. “
To add to its appeal, Lemaire returns and the colt pulled gate number 6.
Killer ability, Justin Palace, Ask Wild more, and Onyankopon also sought early support.
Another from Deep Impact, Killer Ability was also bred by Northern Racing and runs in the colors of Carrot Farm. He won his second start over 2,000 meters and finished second in the Hagi Stakes at Hanshin Racecourse on his last appearance.
“He looks good when he goes into the race,” said Killer Ability trainer Takashi Saito. “He is still mentally and physically immature and has a somewhat difficult temperament. But he has a nice big step and moves well.”
The third Deep Impact colt in the race, Justin Palace, is 2 for 2 with both wins over 2,000 meters. In his last, he performed the Kigiku Sho at Hanshin, which coach Hariuki Sugiyama described at a slow pace as “a nice, smooth journey”. “When you look at him like that, he hasn’t changed that much. But he’s much stronger and more solid now,” said Sugiyama.
Ask Wild More, from Kizuna He broke into the Victory Column on his third start in Hakodate in August, then finished second Geoglyph in the Sapporo Nisai Stakes (G3) on September 4th at his last start. Geoglyph returned, finishing fifth in the Asahi Hai Futurity over 1,600 meters (about 1 mile) at Hanshin on December 19.
Onyankopon, a Ice in Flash Foal is over Chariot d’Or, a daughter of Victorie Pisa, 2011 Dubai World Cup winner, sponsored by Emirates Airline (G1). He’s also 2 for 2 with his latest win at the Hyakunichiso Tokubetsu at Tokyo Racecourse.
The Hopeful begins at the top of the Nakayama route and continues around two corners of the inner oval.