A Shin Hikari was a deeply impressive winner of the Prix d’Ispahan
By Scott Burton 7.00PM 11 JUN 2016
Confidence is growing among those closest to Japanese sensation A Shin Hikari, who completed his preparations for the Prince of Wales’s Stakes with a blistering piece of work on the all-weather Piste des Lions at Chantilly yesterday.
The son of Deep Impact bids to become his country’s first Royal Ascot winner and trainer Masanori Sakaguchi believes the five-year-old has come forward again for his devastating ten-length success in last month’s Prix d’Ispahan – although he confessed he would not like to see too much more rain at Ascot before Wednesday’s showpiece.
Sakaguchi’s assessment of the form of A Shin Hikari – who in the d’Ispahan was running for the first time since mid-December – will not fill his opponents with confidence.
“I think he has progressed and that he’s in better condition than before the Prix d’Ispahan,” he said. “I suppose I was a little bit surprised he was able to produce a performance like that. I expected him to lead at Chantilly, but the horse remained mentally strong with the change of tactics, and the way he finished was extraordinary.”
That performance came on very soft ground, a fact not lost on punters, with A Shin Hikari cut into a best-priced 5-4 favourite yesterday (from 6-4) and main market rival Time Test drifting to 5-1 (from 3).
The d’Ispahan is nearly a furlong less than the Prince of Wales’s but A Shin Hikari had previously proved just as hard to handle over the full mile and a quarter of the Hong Kong Cup.
“I’ve no worries about his stamina,” said Sakaguchi. “He has proved he handles different kinds of track and fights till the end. The only worry I’d have is the weather and the potential ground conditions. He’s a speed horse so I’d rather have good ground over soft.”