Makahiki is being aimed at the Prix Niel in the autumn
PICTURE: RP GRAPHICS
By Scott Burton 2:01PM 12 JUN 2016
Japan’s challenge for the Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe is likely to include at least one three-year-old after connections of Tokyo Yushun (Derby) winner Makahiki said he will be sent to Europe in the autumn, with the Prix Niel identified as his likely prep run.
Japan’s 2013 Derby winner Kizuna finished fourth in the Arc, while the following year their Oaks runner-up Harp Star was seventh.
Trainer Yasuo Tomomichi is convinced the weight-for-age concession means this is the year to travel with Makahiki, while the success of A Shin Hikari in the Prix d’Ispahan at Chantilly – where the Arc will be run on October 2 – seems also to have played a part in the decision.
Tomomichi said: “He’ll get a 7lb allowance being up against older horses and I think this year there’s a big chance for the Japanese as it will be held at Chantilly, which is a flat course.
“Makahiki has stamina as well as speed so I think he’ll be suited by the European style of racing.”
Makahiki is by Deep Impact and carries the silks of his owner-breeder Makoto Kaneko.
Christophe Lemaire was aboard Satono Diamond – who is also entered in the Arc – and believes the current Classic crop in Japan are capable of ending the country’s long wait for a first Arc success.
“Right from the start they have looked a very high-quality group and I think they can put it up to the European three-year-olds in the autumn,” said Lemaire. “We saw two very nice races in the Epsom Derby and Jockey Club, but it remains to be seen who is the real leader of the generation in Europe.”
Lemaire added: “The Japanese generation still has margin to improve, in particular Satono Diamond. I said he would be a lot better in the Derby than in the Satsuki Sho [2,000 Guineas] and I think he’ll improve again by the autumn.”