On Tuesday, the feat of the last big meeting in Japan is meant to two-year-old colts who will clash at the distance of a mile and a quarter. The Hopeful Stakes is the only G1 race in the country where the juniors can try the middle trip in order to offer some hints on their staying capabilities for the upcoming season. Because Rey de Oro or Contrail won the event in the past and then went on to bag the Japanese Derby, it’s always good to keep an eye on the youngsters prominent in the Hopeful Stakes held at the Nakayama Racecourse.
The G1 turf race with the purse of 135,500,000 Yen attracted a field of 15 two-year-old colts, among which it is common they’ve already tried the distance of a mile and a quarter, but most of them haven’t met yet. Moreover, some of them run just once, so as usual with juniors, the race is a bit of a lottery, given that only one of the participants has scored at the Grade scene.
We’re talking about Command Line trained by Sakae Kunieda, who looks set to start as a favourite here as the son of Deep Impact has run twice, bagging two victories, including the one in the G3 Saudi Arabia Royal Cup in front of smart Sternatia. Still, he belongs among the contestants without experiencing the distance of a mile and a quarter, but the offspring of legendary Deep Impact don’t tend to have an issue with handling such a trip.
Big things are expected of Command Line also due to the fact he’s out of Condo Commando, a G1 winner in the USA, and as he’s about to be piloted by Christophe Lemaire, the colt really has strong claims in this race. Ask Wild More has competed already at the Grade level, finishing second in the G3 Sapporo Nisai Stakes behind talented Geoglyph. With four starts under his belt, he’s quite experienced, which he should benefit from on Tuesday.
In terms of seizing a place, Stakes winners Justin Palace and Satono Helios should be considered alongside Onyankopon , while Killer Ability looks the take up the position of the main challenger for the preferred junior. Sired also by late Deep Impact, the Takashi Saito bound colt has scored a victory over the mile and a quarter, upon which he finished second at the Listed scene behind an interesting prospect Danon Scorpion. Most of the field seems interesting enough to spring a surprise here, but regarding Killer Ability, he’s the only contestant who could better Command Line without causing a huge upset.
Although Killer Ability has already shown he handles the distance, our betting pick for the Hopeful Stakes is Command Line nevertheless. His pedigree is stellar; Christophe Lemaire aboard is always a big plus, while he simply looks capable enough to strike gold here.
|Horse||Jockey||Odds courtesy of JazzSports|
|Grand Line||K. Miura||+3280|
|Command Line||C. Lemaire||+180|
|Satono Helios||M. Iwata||+450|
|Justin Palace||C. Demuro||+540|
|Born This Way||S.Ishibashi||+1230|
|Crowned Magic||Y. Iwata||+9900|
|Ask Wild More||Y. Take||+2130|
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