A Shin Hikari: red-hot favourite for the Prince of Wales’s Stakes
By Scott Burton 9:07PM 14 JUN 2016
THOSE who have had their noses and rulers pressed up against television and computer screens trying to measure the exact winning distance of Japan’s latest star in the Prix d’Ispahan may be lacking a little perspective.
Of course the number of lengths – officially ten – matters greatly in terms of producing a raw rating, but the sheer power A Shin Hikari has now shown twice against top international opposition may be beyond simple maths.
Bar the fact they are both right-handed, two more differing course layouts would be hard to find, while ground conditions also varied considerably between the hard-baked Sha Tin and a sodden Chantilly.
With five and a half months between those two starts, connections are entitled to hope there might even be further improvement to come from A Shin Hikari, who is now the highest-rated son of the mighty Deep Impact ever to run.
Following a blistering final piece of work in France at the weekend, trainer Masanori Sakaguchi said: “I think he’s progressed and that he’s in better condition than before the Prix d’Ispahan.”
That is a frightening thought for his five opponents and, while yesterday the team were playing a straight bat, there is no hiding that A Shin Hikari’s performance in France has given them plenty of confidence for this latest international assignment.
“He’s prepared very well,” said Masahiro Watanabe – owner Katsuhiko Hirai’s representative – who has accompanied the five-year-old throughout his European adventure.
“He prefers faster ground but overcame heavy at Chantilly. I understand it is different at Ascot and I’m hopeful the horse can overcome the ground situation.”