JRA (Japan) Racing – G1 Satsuki Sho Stakes Analysis

You don’t have to wait for the first Saturday in May for 3yo’s going a mile and a quarter!. It’s the start of the Japanese triple crown season, the G1 Satsuki Sho.

A strong field of 16 horses have assembled to see who can take down the first G1 classic.  Danon the Kid looks to be the early favourite in here, coming off a 2yo champion campaign.  His first race back showed there may be some holes in that armour.  A host of challengers stand in his way!

Race 11 – G1 Satsuki Sho – 1 1/4 Turf (2000m) – 3yos – 2:40 am ET/11:40 pm PT

7 – Efforia – You can find little fault with this son of Epiphaneia (2nd in this race in 2013), who has gone from strength to strength in his short career.  3 for 3 so far including an impressive score in the G3 Kyodo News Hai in his last start.  That race has been a key prep race for this event, with the winner coming back to score in four of the past ten years (Gold Ship, Duramente, etc).  In addition, this years Kyodo News Hai has produced numerous next out winners including Victipharus (mentioned below).  Has the breeding to suggest this distance will pose no issue and drew the right post position to utilize his talent.  With little speed signed on can see him sitting a similar trip to that of Sodsahi last week, just in behind the leaders (2 to 3 lengths) and having first jump on the closers.  The pick to stay undefeated!

1 – Admire Hadar – Along with our top selection he seems to be the other buzz horse going into this event.  He won the listed Wakaba Stakes last time out in a VERY impressive fashion and time.  You can question who he was beating but the fact he drew the services of Christophe Lemaire speaks volumes.  He takes a big leap into G1 company today but is 2 for 2 at the distance.  The rail draw should suit him perfectly, allowing him to sit in behind horses, wait for a hole and explode on through.  Think it will be a battle between this son of Lord Kanaloa and our top selection for all the marbles.

5 – Victipharus – You really couldn’t ask for a horse with more regal bloodlines than him.  By Dubai Sheema Classic winner Heart’s Cry out of a Galileo mare who was out of the graded stakes winning mare Silverskaya.  He appears to have a ton of stamina and heart as shown in his last effort the G2 Spring Stakes (another key prep for this event), having to go 8 wide on the turn over a very boggy surface to run down the leaders.  That effort was over this same Nakayama racecourse so it won’t be an issue of a new locale today.  Jockey Ikezoe was aboard for that effort (his first) so should have learnt a lot.  Has yet to try this distance but as mentioned above should have no problem with it.  See him sitting mid pack and charging home late.

13 – Titleholder –  The speed of the race.  In his last start was a winner of the G2 Yayoi Sho over this same track and distance.  He did walk the dog on the front end that day, putting the field to sleep and digging in for the win.  He beat favourite Danon the Kid that day and can see him working out the same trip today.  He’s 2 for 3 at Nakayama (best in this field) and can hold his own vs. graded stakes company.  This son of Duramente (won this in 2015) is the Rodney Dangerfield of this race, keeps performing but gets no respect.  You’ll get a good run for your money (double digit odds) and think he can be right there if they let him do his thing on the front end.

11 – Deep Monster –  Champion sire Deep Impact passed away in 2019, meaning we’ll only have another two to three years for his progeny to win a classic race.  This son of Deep Impact has taken the less conventional route to get here, slowly working up the class ladder.  He beat listed stakes company for the first time in his last at a distance longer than today (11f) in a workmanlike fashion.  I do feel he may be suited to the Derby more than this event and this race may be more of a prep for that race.  He has a world class trainer in his corner (Yasutoshi Ikee) that I would never doubt.  He wouldn’t shock with a top performance here here but think his time may come in May.   Will use him in savers and the back end of exotics.

Best of luck with your wagers!

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