Japan Derby & Meguro Kinen Odds and Betting Predictions

Can Sol Oriens do the 2000 Guineas/Japan Derby double after defeating a large number of these in the colt’s first classic of the season?

Belmont Stakes Odds

Tokyo Yushun (Japan Derby)

Grade 1 – Purse $4,082,000 – 2400 meters (1 mile 4 furlongs) miles) – Turf – 3-Year-Olds

Sol Oriens put up one of the performances of the season as he came from last to first in the stretch run to gun down his rivals late in the 2000 Guineas back in April. He renews rivalry with a lot of his defeated foes hre and not many have a chance to turn around that form.

However, one that could make a race of it with the stretch-out giving plenty of upside is Shazzan, who was sixth and beaten around four lengths. He was inconvenienced by the winner who caused the rider to rein back as he went past. He lost his stride for a moment before closing late at the wire. Prior to that first try in graded stakes company, he won the Listed Sumire Stakes at Hanshin.

The horse on a strong upward curve is Skilfing who took a Grade 2 last time when winning the Aoba Sho here at Tokyo Racecourse. He was way back early but made a mid-race move to sit mid-pack and as they hit the top of the stretch he pitched into the five lane to make his challenge and closed late to edge ahead near the wire. It was only a three-quarter length victory but the margin did not tell the whole story.

Others that finished not far behind the chalk in the 2000 Guineas include Tastiera (2nd) Phantom Thief (3rd) and Metal Speed (4th) and of those three it was Phantom Thief who was closing strongest to the wire. He finished a strong fourth in the Grade 1 Hopeful Stakes as a two-year-old and then came back the next time to win the Grade 3 Tokinominuru Kinen on his first start of 2023 when closing late over 1800 meters, (1 mile 1 furlong) and he looks sure to be involved.

Satono Glanz is a definite improver here. He was well beaten on his introduction last year but broke the maiden tag second time, and has since won the Yukayinagi Sho, a minor stakes race over 2400 meters (1 ½ miles at Hanshin), and then registered his first graded stakes victory last time in the Grade 2 Shimbun Hai where he sat mid-pack and rallied well to lead right under the wire. He looks to have the required stamina but is he classy enough against some proven Grade 1 performers? this is a step up the class ladder, but he is going to be a strong closer here.

We have to mention Dura Erede who was a Grade 1 winner at two years old but has not been since finishing second in the UAE Derby behind compatriot Derma Sotogake. That is still top-class form and he may well be the one on the speed here.

Japan Derby Odds & Betting Pick

HorseJockeyOdds by Jazzsports
Bellagio OperaK.Yokoyama+4500
Top KnifeN.Yokoyama+4500
Sol OriensT.Yokoyama-200
Shonan BashittoM.Demuro+8500
Metal SpeedA.Tsumura+10000
Hearts ConcertoK.Matsuyama+3000
Season RichK.Tosaki+12500
Phantom ThiefY.Take+350
Dura EredeR.Sakai+2200
Satono GlanzY.Kawada+4000

Sol Oriens is the likely chalk here, and the way he closed in the 2000 Guineas means he is very likely to get the stretch-out in distance and will be a tough cookie to beat.

However, the performance of SKILFING last time was one of a highly progressive horse and he could cause a bit of an upset on the board here under Christophe Lemaire from a great post draw in gate two.

Shazzan, Phantom Thief, and Dura Erede can be fighting to hit the board and grab a slice of the $4 million purse.

Meguro Kinen

Grade 2 Handicap – Purse $775,000 – 2500 meters (1 mile 4 ½ furlongs) – Turf – 4-Year-Olds and Up

Can Saliera take his career record to four wins from five and register his first graded stakes career success over his more experienced foes?

This is a battle of the unexposed four-year-olds against the older horses and the most unexposed horse here is Saliera who has had four career starts so far and has won three of them, including the Listed Shirafuji Stakes last time. Her only defeat came two back in this spot when second in the Sho Rose Stakes behind last years Japanese Oaks seventh Art House.

Another of the younger horses that looks to hold a strong chance is Pradaria who ran two fine races in the Japanese Derby and St Leger as a three-year-old and has come back this year to hit the board on his last two tries in this spot. He was third in the Grade 2 Shinshun Hai in January and followed that with a better effort against Grade 1 winner Do Deuce in the Kyoto Kinen and he’ll appreciate the stretch-out in distance.

One of the older horses with solid back form is Heat On Beat who was second in this race in 2021 and was a good 6th behind Titelholder over this distance in the Grade 2 Nikkei Sho back in March. He’ll aim to stalk the pace here and strike late.

The best piece of form in this field is probably held by Lilac who was second behind the highly talented Geraldina in the Grade 1 Queen Elizabeth II Cup last year.

She is another of the four-year-olds here and has clearly improved since going these staying distances. She was fourth behind Titleholder in this year’s Nikkei Sho, so has the advantage over Heat On Beat on back form.

Last Draft (5th last year) and Dandyism (7th last year) can only possibly hope for a share underneath at best but Zeffiro could be interesting at big odds having hit the board on all nine career starts, and that includes four wins.

He has top jockey Yuga Kawada on board, and two back won a minor stakes before stepping up the class ladder to finish third in the Listed Metropolitan Stakes. This requires a serious jolt of improvement but his consistency and gradual improvement make that a possibility.

Meguro Kinen Odds & Betting Prediction

The improving Saliera is the least exposed horse here and having already produced a solid run against top-class rivals, she looks sure to be fighting for a spot on the board.

However, as mentioned above, LILAC has the best piece of form of these and this can be considered a class drop. She’ll be a deep closer here but there is plenty of speed and she can come out on top in a close affair.

Pradaria and Zeffiro can be battling for a slice underneath.

HorseJockeyOdds by Jazzsports
You Can SmileS.Ishibashi+11200
Forward AgainY.Shibata+5500
Heat on BeatD.Lane+720
Sefer RasielH.Yoshida+11200
Last DraftM.Matsuoka+2700

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