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Contentment draws five for Yasuda Kinen


Contentment will break from gate five of 12 in Sunday’s G1 Yasuda Kinen (1600m) at Tokyo racecourse, with the defending champion Maurice drawn eight and G1 Dubai Turf (1800m) victor Real Steel in 11.

The Hong Kong raider’s handler, John Size, is not overly concerned with which gate his stable star will break from, placing more emphasis on where the pace, and the big guns, will be.

“It’s a relatively small field, just 12 runners, and it just depends where the other horses are, that’s more important than the gate number,” Size said of this season’s G1 Queen’s Silver Jubilee Cup (1400m) hero.

“The importance of the barrier is which horse is drawn beside you rather than the number and he would probably enjoy a leader or a horse to follow. He has good gate speed and normally runs behind the leader, so if he could find a horse with a bit more speed than him that would be very suitable.”

With no confirmed front-runner in the field, the question of which horse will set the tempo is something of a quandary. Contentment has Decipher immediately inside (gate four) and Logotype one spot outside in six – both can race handily but neither would be deemed a definite pace-setter.

“If nothing goes on, he might have to,” Size said. “But it would be nice to have some company.”

As for this morning’s (Friday) track work, Size looked on as Contentment trotted left handed in the ring and then slow-cantered two laps of the dirt track.

“Things are normal, there’s not much to be worried about,” said the handler. “Wednesday morning he was very bright and he hasn’t changed since then. He’s probably learning his way around the track and he’s beginning to know where he is so he looked a little more confident this morning. I think that’s just from the number of days he’s been here.”

Sha Tin racecourse, Contentment’s usual arena, is right-handed but Size envisages no problems for the chestnut going counter-clockwise at racing pace on Sunday, nor with the likely firm turf.

“He seems okay going left-handed,” Size said. “Most racehorses can run well in either direction, particularly the good ones, they seem to make that adaption. The race situation helps them as they run in a herd and they follow and run in conjunction with other horses. Sometimes when they’re running in isolation they can be awkward but I think in race conditions they mostly adapt to it immediately.

“I don’t think there’d be much difference between the ground conditions here and at home,” he added. “We’re not going to get any rain and it’s windy, so it will be very quick. Normally, Sha Tin is a pretty fast track, so he’s used to that, he’s used to the hard ground. I think he’d be suitable.”

With the pressure cooker of a big crowd at Tokyo in two days’ time, Size is banking on Contentment’s relaxed nature to help him through what will be a tough test.

“His strength is his temperament, he’s a very quiet horse and intelligent,” said the trainer. “He’s not easily too upset so I think this type of horse saves a lot of energy and uses his energy very well on race day.”

As for the Hussonet gelding’s chances of snaring a second G1 win, which would hand his trainer a coveted first Yasuda Kinen success, Size is realistic.

“I think Maurice and Real Steel are very strong and Contentment might be third or fourth pick in the race, so we need one or two of the other horses to perform not as well as they normally do.”

Photo 1, 2<br>
The John Size-trained Contentment canters on the dirt track of Tokyo Racecourse this morning.
Photo 1:
Photo 1, 2
The John Size-trained Contentment canters on the dirt track of Tokyo Racecourse this morning.

Photo 2


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