2023 Fukushima Himba Stakes Odds & More Japanese Races

Taking place this Saturday, Fukushima has one of its best cards of the year which is headlined by the G3 2023 Fukushima Himba Stakes

Flora Stakes

Grade 2 – Purse $738,000 – 2000 meters (1 mile 2 furlongs) – Turf – 3-Year-Old Fillies

Can England Eyes take another step forward and frank the form of 1000 Guineas fourth Harper, who she ran well behind last time?

England Eyes is one of the interesting lightly raced fillies here. She broke the maiden tag first time when taking a newcomers race back in November over 2000 meters (1 mile 2 furlongs) at Hanshin. She immediately stepped up the class ladder, and run well to finish fourth in the Grade 3 Daily Hai Queen Cup in Tokyo in February, and the horse she finished behind (Harper) has since given that form a boost by finishing fourth in the Japanese 1000 Guineas.

Golden Hind has already performed to a decent level and ran well in this spot last time when she tackled graded stakes foes for the first time in the Grade 3 Flower Cup back in March. She’ll need to take another step forward but could be interesting for underneath spots.

Another improver is Kiminonawa Maria who stepped forward again last time when taking her first stakes race by winning the Kunshiran Sho at Hanshin racecourse. She went gate to wire there and could well adopt the same tactics stretching out by a furlong.

Both Queen Of Soul and Reciprocity look interesting runners, with Queen Of Soul having performed well behind the highly regarded Tosen Laurier last time to finish third in the Listed Anemone Stakes and Reciprocity who was fourth on her only start as a two-year-old, but made a sparkling reappearance as a three-year-old to break the maiden tag second go. These will both need to step forward, but that is a possibility.

Of the others, Bright Jewelry, So Dazzling, and Tiffany Donna can all be given chances with So Dazzling maybe coming out on top between those three. She did not run at two years old but patience has been rewarded after she finished second on debut and then followed up to break the maiden tag second time. She is likely to be on the speed from her gate post near the inside.

Flora Stakes Odds & Betting Pick

HorseJockeyOdds by Jazzsports
Bright JewelryK.Sameshima+880
So DazzlingK.Tosaki+310
AmmaliareY.Yoshida+6760
Queen of SoulA.Tsumura+530
AufhebenK.Dazai+6760
Kiminonawa MariaR.Sameshima+1620
Golden HindA.Sugawara+760
Itokawa SakuraT.Ono+1620
ReciprocityR.Wada+6760
Barossa ValleyS.Ishibashi+6760
Deux MoulinsD.Lane+480
Tiffany DonnaH.Kitamura+3330
England EyesK.Yokoyama+330
PixilationT.Yokoyama+3330

We like the chances of So Dazzling who should get a nice run from gate two and having won on her second start, she has plenty of upside stretching out by a furlong here.

On the form, it is difficult to get away from ENGLAND EYES who has already got the best piece of form on the card and after two runs she is sure to improve again.

Golden Hind and Queen Of Soul are just a couple with strong chances of grabbing a share underneath in this competitive race.

Milers Cup

Grade 2 – Purse $840,000 – 1600 meters (1 mile) – Turf – 4-Year-Olds and Up

Soul Rush aims to make it a double in the Yomiuri Milers Cup after winning the race in 2022.

We start with last year’s winner Soul Rush who has had three runs since winning this race last year with the last of those in the Grade 1 Mile Championship at Hanshin in November. He was second two back in the Fuji Stakes, a Grade 2 run at Tokyo Racecourse. He is definitely one of those in the right class spot and will put in a strong effort to defend his crown.

Another top-class runner here is Schnell Meister who has not been in top form on recent starts but has plenty of back form, including when just behind Soul Rush in last year’s Mile Championship. He was well beaten when in the Hong Kong mile in December but has since run well when class dropped to this spot last time.

Another to run well in this last year was Air Lolonois who was fifth beaten around four lengths when closing very late. He would need to improve on that but finished second in a Grade 3 two back in the Kyoto Kimpai Stakes at Chukyo racecourse, and it’s important to note he was just behind the two previously mentioned rivals in last year’s Mile Championship.

Others that look to hold a chance of a slice of this big purse include Gaia Force, Justin Sky, and Matenro Orion.

Justin Sky has won five of his eight races including when bringing up the hat trick last time when winning the Listed Rakuyo Stakes at Hanshin, and he is going the right way, while the grey Gaia Force is interesting cutting back in distance here.

He won the Asai Hai St.Lite Kinen three back in this same spot and was fifth of fourteen in the Jockey Club Cup, another Grade 2, last time. He will certainly be the strongest closer here.

Milers Cup Odds & Betting Prediction

HorseJockeyOdds by Jazzsports
GratiasM.Demuro+2000
Justin SkyY.Kawada+240
Ca VaF.Matsuwaka+4090
Golden SyrupY.Fujioka+8270
Daimei FujiK.Ikezoe+8270
Gaia ForceA.Nishimura+950
Matenro OrionN.Yokoyama+4090
Schnell MeisterC.Lemaire+130
Be AstonishedY.Iwata+4090
King HermesR.Sakai+4090
Air LolonoisY.Take+2000
Soul RushK. Matsuyama+400

A tough race to call, and little between Soul Rush and Schnell Meister with a slight preference for the latter who was unlucky in last year’s Mile Championship.

However, a bit of value on the boards is AIR LOLONOIS who has looked like a very decent horse in all of the top mile races in Japan but has been unlucky on a few occasions and could cause a minor upset.

Gaia Force is sure to be closing late and can grab a share underneath.

Fukushima Himba

Grade 3 – Purse $566,000 – 1800 meters (1 mile 1 furlong) – Turf – 4-Year-Olds and Up – Fillies & Mares

Can Kurino Premiun go one spot better and avenge her agonizingly close second in last year’s renewal?

Ginestra is proving a very consistent filly and she has hit the win and place in five of her last seven starts, including when winning the Makuhari Stakes last time. That followed on from her second spot two back on seasonal debut and although she is stepping up the class ladder, she is in solid form.

Ho O Emmy’s has already tried this spot several times without success but she should not be discounted at a big price with some solid minor stakes back form on the card including a win in the Niigata Himba Stakes back in October.

Two that stand out in this spot are Kurino Premium and Stellaria.

Kurino Premium filled the second spot in this race last year and has clearly been primed for a repeat. She traveled well in that race and made her move in the stretch and was just mowed down late at the wire. She ran well when second in the Nakayama Kimbai Stakes back in January at Nakayama.

Stellaria also has some solid back form and if able to reproduce her solid form in Grade 1 company late last year, she would be a danger. She was fifth in this spot last time but comes back here after a nearly one-year layoff and may just not be sharp enough.

Both Storia and Wyn Pyxis deserve a mention and of those, it is Storia who would be the most fancied. She has hit the board in eight of her ten races. She ran just OK on her seasonal debut but she stepped forward last time when second in this spot in the Nakayama Himba Stakes and she looks on an upward trajectory.

2023 Fukushima Himba Odds & Betting Pick

HorseJockeyOdds by Jazzsports
SlylyY.Tannai+3670
StellariaT.Danno+1320
Ho O IxellesK.Maruta+2730
Erika VitaA.Tomita+4610
StuttiY.Tsunoda+3220
Personal HighA.Saito+28100
Miss New YorkS.Kato+850
GinestraK.Miura+690
Big RibbonA.Nishimura+370
Ho O Emmy’sY.Hishida+2730
Kurino PremiumY.Shibata+750
Win PyxisM.Matsuoka+580
StoriaT.Yokoyama+230
Nishino Love WinkM.Katsuura+28100
A Shin ChillerK.Ogino+4250

Kurino Premium is clearly the one to beat on overall form and she will likely stalk the pace and aim to make a stretch drive late to take this valuable prize.

However, one that might be a bit more value on the boards is STORIA, and this improving filly gets the vote to come out on top.

Both the classy Stellaria and Ginestra should be battling for a slice underneath

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