Without the sovereign Champions Cup winner T O Keynes, Sunday’s February Stakes lack a clear favourite as most of the field hasn’t scored at such a level or hasn’t shown any resemblance of form recently.
The mile-long February Stakes is the second dirt race in Japan boasting the G1 status, while it works as a stepping stone towards the dirt race during the Dubai World Cup Night where Red le Zele ran a great race, and thus, he might be a victory candidate here.
Sixteen four-year-old and older horses line up for Sunday’s February Stakes held at the distance of a mile. The purse of 232,980,000 Yen is up for grabs in this G1 dirt race, where it’s quite challenging to pinpoint the participant with the most significant chance to win.
On the one hand, there are horses with bright past, but who performed below par recently, on the other one, there are some interesting horses, scoring in smaller races, showing some form, but in the past, they were unable to get close to the first sort of contestants. Moreover, we can talk of Arctos and Red le Zele as favourites at the odds suggested at the beginning, but the truth is they haven’t hit the track since autumn.
Of course, they scored victories back then; still, it happened at smaller racecourses and in the Listed company. Red le Zele finished second in the G1 Dubai Golden Shaheen in 2021 after taking fourth place in last year’s February Stakes; however, he’s always looked like a sprinter, so on Sunday, he should play a role in the race, but he may be about to bump into horses preferring the distance more than him.
When considering the contestants with lower odds, T M South Dan looks good, given he won the trial, Negishi Stakes in January. However, whenever Yuzu Iida’s trainee has a weaker moment, it’s always at a distance longer than seven furlongs.
Sticking with the contestants yet to strike gold at the highest level, Soliste Thunder and Air Spinel ran a great race in the G3 Musashino Stakes in November, but their premiere 2022 starts resulted in ninth places. Still, Air Spinel finished second in last year’s February Stakes behind Cafe Pharoah . Speaking on this five-year-old son of American Pharoah, he recorded his first G1 victory back in 2021, but since then, he hasn’t shown basically anything of interest.
Eight-year-old Inti is the winner of the February Stakes 2019, and even though he suggested to be in fine form in December, he doesn’t look to repeat his success on Sunday. White Sodashi is trying again to score on the dirt track, but after failing to shine in the G1 Champions Cup, it’s difficult to imagine she’s about to come on top this time. The last to mention is Suave Aramis, who bagged the G2 Tokai TV Hai Tokai Stakes in January, and shortening of the distance shouldn’t bother him much.
|Horse||Jockey||Horse Racing Odds courtesy of JazzSports|
|Red le Zele||Y.Kawada||+300|
|K T Brave||A.Sugawara||+6500|
|T M South Dan||Y.Iwata||+800|
Our betting pick for the February Stakes is:
Red le Zele, who looks like a sprinter, but he performed well here in 2021, and if he shows a similar turn-of-foot as he did in Dubai, he could strike this. For places, we like the previous winners Cafe Pharoah and Inti.
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