The Satsuki Sho Preview And Betting Tips
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The Satsuki Sho Preview And Betting Tips

The Grade 1 Satsuki Sho, also known as the Japanese 2,000 Guineas, marks the start of the Japanese Triple Crown - one of the most coveted titles in racing worldwide. The 1m 2f contest, which is held at Nakayama on Sunday, will filter the best three-year-old colts from those who haven’t trained on from their juvenile campaign, or simply do not have the ability to contest on the biggest stage.




The dam of Salios is Salomina, a German-bred mare who won the 2012 German Oaks, so he is certainly bred to achieve great things in his racing career.

He has done nothing to dispel that belief either, notching three successes from as many starts in his juvenile season, the last of which came in the Group 1 Asahi Hai Futurity Stakes at Hanshin, under Rya

Salios completely dominated his rivals that day but was fully expected to do so given his starting price of evens. The runner-up, Taisei Vision, won a Group 2 on his previous outing and has since landed the Grade 3 Arlington Stakes at that track.

Salios steps up in trip from a mile to 1m 2f to contest the Satsuki Sho, but he is bred to relish longer distances and he appears to have a leading chance of maintaining his unbeaten record. Bookmakers make him around the 5-2 mark to win the contest, in the colours of Silk Racing Co Ltd - whose blue and red spotted silks are famous thanks to sparkling mare Almond Eye.

However, this is his first outing of the season after a four-month break and he is set to be partnered by crack Australian rider Damian Lane, who doesn’t know the Nakayama course as well as others, albeit his strength and tactical nous in the saddle won’t go amiss and he knows the horse having ridden him to victory on debut.



His chief threat looks to be the similarly-unbeaten Contrail, who was the most exciting juvenile to hit the track last year and represents trainer Yoshito Yahagi and rider Yuichi Fukunaga.

A son of Deep Impact, therefore bred to handle this track and trip, Contrail bids to emulate the successes of his sire and his victory in the Grade 1 Hopeful Stakes - a key trial for this contest - over this course and distance on December 28, marked him down as the most likely favourite.

Currently priced at 15/8, Contrail will look to add a rare success for a favourite in this contest to the record books, with only three jollies coming home victorious in the last ten years. The latest to do so though was Saturnalia 12 months ago.

Although he has only had three starts, Contrail has already bagged well over ¥100million in prize-money and is reported to be in good shape by his talented trainer Yahagi, who is having an exceptional season.

Ryan Moore, who is sitting at home unable to ride in this race due to travel restrictions, has also ridden Contrail. He partnered the then two-year-old to win the Tokyo Sports Hai Nisai Stakes at Tokyo in October. The duo romped home by five lengths and earned rave reviews from his experienced British rider - it would have been interesting to see who Moore would have ridden.




Although Moore can’t compete, there are several other European-born riders who have moved to Japan in recent years that will take mounts in the Satsuki Sho, not least Christophe Lemaire, who is one of the best jockeys in the world.

Lemaire broke Yutake Take’s long-standing record of winners in a calendar year record (215 v 212) back in 2018 and also won the Fillies Triple Crown, aboard the aforementioned Almond Eye, so it’s fair to say he has been rather prolific since moving to East Asia.

He gets on the Sukae Kunieda-trained Satono Flag, the likely third favourite, who has won three of four starts in his career.

Lemaire’s mount has improved for each start and won another key trial for this race, when landing the Hochi Hai Yayoi Sho Deep Impact Kinen on a yielding surface over this course and distance last month.

The trip will be no problem given all of his starts have come over 1m 2f, while his ability to handle testing conditions will also come in handy.

Italian-born Mirco Demuro has made waves since moving to Japan in the last few years and he partners Darlington Hall, a two-time winner for trainer Tetsuya Kimura.

He doesn’t boast an unblemished record like those at the head of the market, but Darlington Hall clearly has plenty of ability and potential, so he will attract some support thanks to being owned by Godolphin.

Sired by five-time Group 1-winner New Approach and by a Pivotal mare, Darlington Hall brings a British and Irish aspect to the contest and is sure to stay to the trip well.

Others to hold a chance include the unbeaten L’Excellence, who appears the second string for owners Silk Racing Co Ltd, Group 3-winner Crystal Black and Weltreisende, who finished behind Contrail in Group 1 company last year.



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V: 1.22.1 All rights reserved. August 2021