The previous weekend offered a couple of Graded races at the Japanese tracks. In Chukyo, the Silk Road Stakes meant for sprinters was held on the turf surface where four-year-old filly Meikei Yell confirmed her class and form after grabbing a fourth place in last year’s G1 Sprinters Stakes.
She used to shine at the mile trip, but apparently, she could be excellent also at the shorter ones. Shortly after her triumph, T M South Dan properly made amends for his below-par performance in last year’s Musashino Stakes as he scored the G3 Negishi Stakes in Tokyo.
The Silk Road Stakes
At first, this G3 turf race saw four-year-old Meikei Yell (3-1) strike gold in the field of four-year-old and older horses at the distance of six furlongs. With the purse of 78,210,000 Yen being up for grabs, the race attracted a large field of 18 participants, including the Hidenori Take bound Meikei Yell, who finished fourth in the G1 Sprinters Stakes last time out.
Kenichi Ikezoe gave her a lovely ride on Sunday as the filly had a great start, then settled in third, and once the field turned for home, the jockey promptly pointed her into a gap between the other contestants. Meikei Yell then smoothly charged for the lead, and even though some of her rivals were making some powerful moves on the outside, the daughter of Mikki Isle was still going strong and scored the race in 1m 23.10s. Rallying from the outside, Shine Gernet (105-10) took second ahead of Naran Huleg (6-1), coming home in third.
Hopeful Sign (104-1) was fourth, and Taiser Avenir (203-10) earned the final money, while Curren Moe (27-10), coming off to the race as the leading chance here, faltered in the closing stages and had to settle for seventh place.
At the distance of seven furlongs, 16 four-year-old and older horses clashed for the purse of 76,820,000 Yen. The G3 turf race featured some hugely interesting horses, including T M South Dan (105-10), whose chances weren’t perceived that well due to his lacklustre performance in November’s Musashino Stakes. Still, he then went on to win a Listed, and on Sunday, he transferred his form to Tokyo to score by a length.
Although he lost to some of the rivals he met in the Musashino; his turn-of-foot was definitely the most powerful this time. Under Yasunari Iwata, T M South Dan galloped in the midfield, and as soon as he’s found his spot in the final stretch, he rallied forward, held Helios (57-10) at bay, and won the race after a fine effort in 1m 23.10s. Tagano Beauty (37-10) finished late to snatch third place in front of big outsider Justin (73-10).
Omega Rainbow (43-10) crossed the wire in fifth to be the last to earn some money as preferred Soliste Thunder (29-10) struggled with the lack of space in the final stretch, and once he could surge forward, he was already empty and finished as ninth.
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