The fillies and mares take centre stage at Hanshin racecourse this week. It’s the G1 Queen Elizabeth II Cup.
Top fillies and mares such as Sodashi, Chrono Genesis, Gran Alegria or Uberleben aren’t here, but we do have a top class field assembled for this G1 event. Can up and coming Three-Year-old Akaitorino Musume add a 2nd G1 to her resume or will Lei Papale return to her G1 Osaka Hai form?
Race 11 – G1 Queen Elizabeth II Stakes – 2200m (1m 3/8) Turf – 4yo & up F&M – 1:40 am ET/10:40 pm PT
9 Win Marilyn – Returns to this event as a four-year-old, having lost by a short margin to top class horses in the form of Lucky Lilac and BC F&M Turf winner Loves Only You. Has had four starts so far this year, all against males and top class company. Three starts back in the G2 Nikkei Sho she bested top rated horses Current Bouquet D’or and G1 winner World Premiere, who went on to win the G1 Tenno Sho Spring. She finally returns to face her own sex here and I feel she’s up to the task. Raced handily last out in the G2 All Comers at this same distance, beating Lei Papale and Win Kiitos who she’ll face again here. She looks to keep getting better and has already beaten two of her main foes. The lack of wins at Hanshin is a concern but willing to look past that. Will probably be third choice in this race so the odds will be right.
15 Win Kiitos – Another developing four-year-old by Gold Ship, this filly has shown glimpses of her ability this year. Was a winner of the G2 Meguro Kinen in May but didn’t beat anyone of note in there. Two back finished a lackluster ninth vs. Sodashi and Loves Only you but willing to forgive that effort, as despite it being listed as Good to Firm it was more on the good side that day. She also seems to relish more distance as shown in her last with a great closing effort to her Win colleague, Win Marylin (both owned by Win Co. Ltd). She makes her third start off of layoff and although the draw wasn’t great to her she should be able to sit mid-pack and come with a late kick.
1 Lei Papale – Has done little wrong in her short career, going from strength to strength over the past year. Started the year in the very tough G1 Osaka Hai and passed with flying colours over a boggy Hanshin that day, winning by four lengths. She beat some top horses that day including Contrail who just didn’t enjoy the off going. You can’t blame the connections for tackling G1 company again in the G1 Takarazuka Kinen, finishing a respectable third to top class mare Chrono Genesis, who was fresh off of a second place finish to Mishriff in the G1 Sheema Classic in Dubai. She made her return to the races last time in the G2 All Comers, finishing a mediocre fourth in a race she really should have won. I can understand trainer Takano not wanting her at 100% for that race. I do feel there maybe some distance limitations for her, that this may be a little further than she wants to go as witnessed by both losses going longer than 1 1/4. I think she’s a very talented filly with the world ahead of her but think her best is shown at distances up to a 1 1/4. She’ll take a ton of money in here (rightly so) and has every reason to improve off of her last effort. She loves Hanshin but can beat me here to show me that I am wrong.
2 Clavel – Going for an absolute bomb play with this selection. I don’t think she’s good enough for these types but do think she can make some noise on the bottom end of exotic wagers. She’s regally bred to go at least this long being by Epiphaneia out of a mare who finished third in this race in 2014. She closed with a rush last time out in the G3 Niigata Kinen, just finishing a half length behind the winner. She is two for two in the money at Hanshin and looks to be improving at the right time. I like that she’s been given more time from her last start and that veteran jockey Yokoyama stays aboard (had a choice of another in here). Look for her to be closing late in this event and maybe blow up the toteboard at long odds!
3 Akaitorino Musume – Think she has the ability but usually runs better with more rest in between starts. She ran hard in that G1 win in her last vs. fellow three-year-olds and think it may have taken some of the punch out of her for this event. Can certainly win but will be another one that I will let beat me.