By David Morgan in Japan
Beauty Only and Contentment, Hong Kong’s representatives in Sunday’s G1 Yasuda Kinen, this morning (Thursday, 1 June) continued their preparations for Japan’s mile feature under the eyes of their respective trainers, Tony Cruz and John Size.
Beauty Only opened his airways and stretched his limbs with a solid workout over much of the strip he will traverse at the weekend – work rider Cody Mo was in the saddle. Cruz’s charge broke from the starting gate at the 1600m point of Tokyo’s turf track, galloped down the backstretch into the home straight and eased gradually to pull up a little way short of the winning post.
“That was a serious gallop he had this morning,” the trainer said after watching from the home turn viewing gallery. “He jumped out and the plan was to go seven furlongs but the last two he was just relaxed.
“The most important was the 500m hit out down the back, he needed that good blow out because he’s a pretty lazy type of horse and to get him to top condition this is what he needs to do. He was blowing a bit and he should come on very strongly from this gallop,” he added.
This season’s G1 LONGINES Hong Kong Mile winner, a closing runner-up to Contentment in the G1 Champions Mile at Sha Tin a month ago, appeared at ease in negotiating Fuchu’s left hand turn. Sunday’s contest will be the six-year-old Italian import’s first race going counter clockwise.
“I’ve never thought that he’d be worried by the left-handed turn but that’s one of the reasons we did the hit-out this morning,” Cruz revealed. “When he hit that turn he was on his near fore, he changed leads very well, so I’m very happy with that.”
Cruz, who won the Yasuda Kinen with Bullish Luck in 2006, is pleased with his charge’s overall condition.
“He lost weight in transit but now he’s settling – he’s eating and drinking really well. The journey across was very good, he’s a much more professional horse these days, he’s a quick learner and I believe he’s putting that weight back on. He’s a pretty relaxed type of horse now,” he said,
Contentment retains strength
Size, too, expressed satisfaction with his Yasuda Kinen challenger. Hong Kong’s current champion trainer is hoping that the experience of running almost eight lengths 12th in this race a year ago will prove beneficial to Contentment this time around.
“Because he came last year he’s benefited from that experience and seems to have settled into quarantine a lot quicker. When he came to Fuchu he also settled in a little bit better and was a little more relaxed,” he said.
The six-year-old weighed in at 502kg this morning, some way shy of the approximately 517kg at which he tipped the scales ahead of the Champions Mile last start. Size was unperturbed, focusing instead on the gelding’s muscle.
“He’s still maintained his strength, he looks strong,” he said. “He’s lost a similar amount of weight to last year through transport and he probably won’t put that back on. But even with that he still looks ok. He might carry a little bit more condition at home but the weight that he’s lost in transit is only water and it shouldn’t worry him – his muscles still look strong.”
Contentment stuck to a usual pattern this morning, trotting in the ring before moving across to the dirt track for a stretch out under work rider Pang Sing Hon. The two-time G1 winner cantered around to the top turn and quickened his tempo into the straight before easing down to a steady canter after the post, then continued back around to the top of the home straight once more.
“He seems ok for him – he’s probably a little bit stronger this time,” Size reiterated. “I thought he moved very well and showed plenty of strength.
“It’s a normal progression – the experience and the fact that he’s a little bit older and stronger, just through maturity. He generally should be in better condition than last year and it appears that he is. Whether he can put that on the race track of course is a different matter.”
Hong Kong’s two challengers face 16 Japanese rivals, including last year’s winner Logotype, star sprinter Red Falx, and high-class performers such as Isla Bonita, Ambitious, Staphanos and Satono Aladdin, as well as the emerging talent Greater London.
Beauty Only has a serious gallop on the Tokyo turf this morning.
Tony Cruz inspects Beauty Only during trackwork.
Contentment exercises on the dirt track today.
John Size with Contentment at Tokyo racecourse.