The attractive program at the Japanese tracks continues on Sunday with the G3 Fukushima Stakes at Nakayama Race Course, where a competitive field of sixteen horses will clash over the distance of a mile and a quarter. The real gem of the day is the G1 2022 Queen Elizabeth II Cup, held at Hanshin Race Course. Some brilliant fillies and mares will line up there, including the G1 Shuka Sho victress Stunning Rose, the runner-up Namur, and also brilliantly-bred Geraldina.
Queen Elizabeth II Cup
One of the most prestigious Japanese races attracted a full field of eighteen three-year-old fillies and older mares. They will cover the distance of a mile and three furlongs on the turf surface while competing for the purse of 253,400,000 Yen.
The field is, indeed, packed with high-class participants, and it’s quite challenging to pinpoint the top five as most of the fillies and mares caught the eye in the past; however, the position of the favorite seems more or less clear. Three-year-old Stunning Rose showed some talent as a junior, while in 2022, she won four of five outings. After bagging a Stakes race, she triumphed in the G3 Flower Cup, upon which she ran a great race in defeat in the Japanese Oaks.
The daughter of King Kamehameha recorded another G3 victory in September and then aimed at the G1 Shuka Sho, where she was perceived as the main threat for Stars On Earth, attempting to complete the Triple Crown for fillies. It turned out that Stunning Rose’s chances were estimated quite accurately as the Tomokazu Takano trained filly scored her premiere G1 win back then, bettering Namur half a length.
Until the Shuha Sho, Stunning Rose belonged among the progressive lot, and if she manages to prolong that progress for a bit longer, she should prevail again. Still, Namur delivered a beautiful turn of foot in the mentioned G1, cementing her position among the elite three-year-old fillies. She was disappointing in the G1 Japanese 1000 Guineas after she won the trial, the G2 Tulip Sho, but since then, she has placed both in the Japanese Oaks and Shuka Sho. Another solid performance is expected of her also on Sunday.
Three-year-olds really seem to be prolific in this race, as we should mention the Irish raider Magical Lagoon as well. The Jessica Harrington trained bay traveled to Japan, especially with the G1 Irish Oaks triumph under her belt, and even though she didn’t repeat the effort in the G1 Yorkshire Oaks, she lost to a couple of outstanding rivals – the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe heroine Alpinista and Tuesday, winning the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf last time out. Although we side with the local participants, Magical Lagoon deserves some respect here.
Regarding the rest of the field, Izu Jo No Kiseki caused a huge upset in the G2 Ireland Trophy Fuchu Himba Stakes in October as, thanks to her breath-taking finish from the rear of the field, the four-year-old outran preferred Sodashi.
She could also be good enough to achieve a satisfactory result on Sunday, while four-year-old Geraldina is undoubtedly watched closely by all fans of her mother, Gentildonna. Geraldina finally displayed what we have always wanted to see from her when winning the G2 Sankei Sho All Comers in September. Judging from her performance, she looks to be on the right path to eventually become a G1 victress; however, even taking a place on Sunday would be excellent for the brilliantly-bred daughter of Maurice.
2022 Queen Elizabeth II Cup Betting Prediction
Stunning Rose, whose victory in the Shuka Sho could be only the beginning of something big. Namur won’t be easy to defeat again, though.
|HORSE||JOCKEY||ODDS BY JAZZSPORTS|
|Izu Jo no Kiseki||C.Lemaire||+1360|
The Fukushima Kinen
The purse of 82,630,000 Yen lured in sixteen three-year-old and older horses who will cover a mile and a quarter distance. On the turf surface, they will carry different weights as the G3 race is a handicap; therefore, the participants should ideally have an equal chance to score it.
But as we’re not living in an ideal world, some horses look more interesting here than others, such as six-year-old mare Satono Cecil. The daughter of Frankel should benefit from the small weight, and even though she’s never won at the Graded stage, her results are pretty solid for Sunday’s race. In 2022, she placed in the G3 Queen Stakes in June, and upon her return to the tracks in October, Satono Cecil ran a good race in the G2 Ireland Trophy Fuchu Himba Stakes.
Back then, she secured fourth place behind victorious Izu Jo No Kiseki and second Sodashi, which sounds promising on its own. Five-year-old Arata achieved similar success on his most recent start as the bay finished fourth in the G2 Sapporo Kinen in August. He was defeated by a G1 performance Jack d’Or; moreover, he took third place in the last year’s Fukushima Kinen, which renders him a respectable contestant in this renewal.
Arata will carry a bigger weight than Satono Cecil, though, and that also applies to Belenus and Catedral, who fought for victory in the G3 Toyota Sho Chukyo Kinen. In July, Belenus prevailed over his rival and recorded his premiere Graded success, while Cathedral scored at the G3 scene in 2021. Although they’d need some luck to triumph on Sunday, both of them are smart enough to impact the race under certain circumstances.
Besides Satono Cecil, Forward Again is another participant who could benefit from the lighter weight as last time out, the five-year-old gelding was fifth in a G3 and scored a Stakes race prior to that. The last to mention is six-year-old horse Cosmo Calendula, who is yet to deliver a good run among Graded company; however, he triumphed in the Cepheus Stakes in September. Although it was only a Stakes race, it was a rich one and demanded a fine horse to score it.
|HORSE||JOCKEY||ODDS BY JAZZSPORTS|
|Satono Ailes d’Or||M.Muto||+7010|
|Vin Quet Domingo||M.Sakai||+7010|
Fukushima Stakes Free Betting Pick
Satono Cecil due to her most recent performances, good weight, and certain freshness, which Arata might lack as he has been absent at the tracks since August.
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