New Zealand Trophy & Hanshin Himba Stakes Odds

On Saturday, there is a couple of interesting Graded races held at Japanese tracks. The Hanshin Racecourse offers a fascinating G2 event – the Hanshin Himba Stakes, where some outstanding fillies and mares clash at the distance of a mile, including Akaitorino Musume.

The G1 winner is about to be challenged by solid performers like Des Ailes and Magic Castle. The card at the Nakayama Racecourse features a G2 race as well, but just at first sight, the field is a bit disappointing when the only Graded victor, Matenro Orion, could be easily bettered here by any of the improving rivals.

Although the G2 New Zealand Trophy is a trial for the G1 NHK Mile Cup, almost none of the participants look like a G1 horse in the making. But who knows, maybe Saturday’s race will considerably boost credentials of one of the contestants.

New Zealand Trophy

This G2 event is meant for three-year-old colts and fillies who will clash at the distance of a mile, while the race itself serves as a trial for the G1 NHK Mile Cup, but at first sight, the field lacks some quality as neither of the contestants looks to have a say at the top stage at this point.

The purse of 103,500,000 Yen attracted a field of eleven participants, while the leading chance on the turf surface could be Matenro Orion. The Mitsugu Kon bound son of Daiwa Major broke his maiden at the second attempt in 2021, upon which he commenced the new season with a victory in the G3 Nikkan Sports Sho Shinzan Kinen at the mile distance, making him the only participant in Saturday’s race with Graded win under the belt. He bettered Solitario back then, who subsequently didn’t impact a G2 race.

Hence, it’s a question how quality rivals Matenro Orion really left behind as Derma Gremlin finished fifth in the mentioned G3 and then failed to score even at the Stakes level. Last time out, he couldn’t hold a candle to Empezar who, indeed, had only a maiden win to him; still, his performance suggested he’s mature enough to hold off a dangerous challenger and eventually fight for the win if necessary. Lubeck recorded a Listed victory in January, but whenever faced with a fiercer opposition, he finished below the board, which was the case of Teegarden in March when he was only eighth among the G3 competition after winning a Stakes.

The race is just tricky to decipher, so we should also mention Jean Gros with a Listed triumph under his belt; still, his best results occurred at shorter distances.

Our New Zealand Trophy Top Choice is:

Empezar, who hasn’t scored at the Graded stage; he even doesn’t have experience with such a competition, still, unlike some of his rivals, Empezar just looks ready to improve and develop into a very decent performer. 

HorseJockeyHorse Racing Odds courtesy of Jazzsports
A Shin SturmY.Ishikawa+7970
Bellwood BravoG.Maruyama+3040
Derma GremlinM.Demuro+1520
Jean GrosY.Take+290
Matenro OrionN.Yokoyama-100
Thermal WindY.Iwata+1160

Hashin Himba Stakes

The G2 race is held on the turf surface and open to four-year-old fillies and older mares who will compete for the purse of 104,800,000 Yen.

The field of 12 participants will clash at the distance of a mile, while last year’s victress Des Ailes attempts to become a back-to-back winner here. Five-year-old mare trained by Yasuo Tomomichi had a good first part of the year 2021 as she scored a Stakes race, upon which she was pointed towards the Hanshin Himba Stakes, where she bettered Magic Castle and recorded her premiere G2 success.

Still, she didn’t add any subsequently because she showed nothing of interest in her both G1 outings and utterly failed to deliver in the G2 Ireland Trophy Fuchi Himba Stakes. In 2022, Des Ailes has hit the track already when finishing third in the G3 Aichi Hai at the Chukyo Racecourse, suggesting her form isn’t bad, and she could build on that to strike gold on Saturday once again.

Five-year-old Magic Castle used to be a very decent runner for the connections, too, collecting places at the Graded scene, including the G1 Shuka Sho and Victoria Mile, plus second place in last year’s Hanshin Himba Stakes. After taking second place in a G3 race in August, she showed up twice; however, she was totally lacklustre both at the G2 and G3 scenes. Without a hint of a doubt, Magic Castle is a very good mare but based on her ninth place in the Aichi Trophy; she just seems to be out of form currently. 

Four-year-old Andvaranaut didn’t deliver in the Aichi Hai, too, recording her worst result in her career when finishing eleventh. In her previous seven starts, the talented filly always crossed the wire in the first trio, and it won’t surprise anybody if she returns to that form.

Akaitorino Musume is another participant to be considered, given she scored the G1 Shuka Sho where Andvaranaut took third. After that, she was disappointing in the G1 QE II Cup; however, she’s been displaying a certain class throughout her carrier, and even though she might prefer a more extended trip, it’s necessary to take her into account here.

The last to mention is another four-year-old filly, Geraldina, with some Stakes victories under the belt and there could be something more about her than she’s already shown.

Our Hanshin Himba Stakes Betting Pick is:

Akaitorino Musume. If she is in a similar form as in most of the 2021 season, she should better every single of her Saturday rivals. 

HorseJockeyHorse Racing Odds courtesy of Jazzsports
Akaitorino MusumeK.Tosaki+230
Des AilesY.Kawada+260
Kurino FlashY.Fujioka+9800
La Luna BrillareR.Wada+2610
Laurel IrisK.Kawamata+9800
Magic CastleS.Hamanaka+790
Meisho MimosaK.Sameshima+2030
T O LafiteM.Iwata+3400

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