Nakayama Racecourse stages the 80th running first colts’ Classic. There have been only seven horses that have claimed the coveted Japanese Triple Crown and it’s been nine years since Orfevre last claimed the title of Triple Crown winner in 2011. More recently, Duramente came close with his wins in the Satsuki Sho (Japanese 2000 Guineas) and Tokyo Yushun (Japanese Derby) in that year. SW lists some of the key horses in the field that are likely to make the uppercut.
Salios - One of a few unbeaten horses among the nominations, big things are expected of the Heart’s Cry colt, as he steps out for his first race as a 3YO. His three wins so far have all come over 1,600 meters, and have seen him always up with the pace, before producing an extra gear at the finish of his races.
Contrail - Another unbeaten colt, Contrail has already bagged over JPY100 million in prize money from his three victories, which have included the Grade 1 Hopeful Stakes over the Nakayama course and distance at the end of last year. The Deep Impact colt is trained by Yoshito Yahagi, who’s currently enjoying another good year.
Darlington Hall - Sired by five-time Grade 1 winner, New Approach, the Godolphin owned colt has two wins from four starts, including a victory in his latest race, the Grade 3 Kyodo News Hai (Tokinominoru Kinen) over 1,800 meters at Tokyo in February. Stable staff for trainer Tetsuya Kimura thinks the horse is coming along well.
Satono Flag - Christophe Lemaire gets the ride on the Deep Impact colt for trainer Sakae Kunieda, and the horse has only ever run in 2,000 meters races, proving he’ll have no problem seeing out the trip here. His latest win in his fourth career start came in the Grade 2 Hochi Hai Yayoi Sho (Deep Impact Kinen) over the Satsuki Sho course and distance in March when the going was yielding.
Weltreisende - Trainer Yasutoshi Ikee knows all about the progeny of Dream Journey, a horse that he also trained, and he’s so far been able to get good results from this son of the 2009 Takarazuka Kinen winner. The horse has never finished out of the top two places in his four starts, and the highlight has probably been his second-place finish to Contrail in the Grade 1 Hopeful Stakes. He also finished second in his one race this year.
Galore Creek - The colt by Kinshasa no Kiseki is two wins from four starts, having won on his debut over 2,000 meters at Tokyo, and then notching a win in his latest race, the Grade 2 Fuji TV Sho Spring Stakes at Nakayama over 1,800 meters in March.
Cortesia - Last week’s Oka Sho winning jockey, Kohei Matsuyama, is in the form of his life, and he gets another shot at a big win here when he partners the Symbolic Kris S colt, Cortesia. The horse showed what he’s capable of when he won the Gr.3 Kisaragi Sho over 1,800 meters at Kyoto in February.
L’Excellence - Another colt that goes into the race unbeaten, the Northern Farm bred son of Deep Impact will have to make the step-up to Grade 1, but after winning the Listed Sumire Stakes over 2,200 meters at Hanshin in March, he showed once again how powerful he is in a finish, and that he can see out a long distance.
Race Info: Distance: 2000 meters, Surface: Turf, Track: Right-handed, Qualification: 3-y-o, Colts & Fillies,Weight: Colt 57 kg, Filly 55 kg, Purse: ¥ 184,700,000 (as of 2015),1st: ¥ 97,000,000