Kitasan Black: crowned Japan’s horse of the year for 2016
PICTURE: Masakazu Takahasi
By MaSAKAZU TAKAHASHI 1:00PM 29 JAN 2017
Japan: Horse of the Year Kitasan Black is set to be given the chance to end the country’s lengthy pursuit of the Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe crown in the autumn.
Twice a Grade 1 winner last year, the five-year-old will sidestep a trip to Meydan for the Dubai Sheema Classic with connections instead plotting a domestic campaign prior to a trip to France.
“We have his plan the same as the last year,” said trainer Hisashi Shimizu. “I want the Japanese fans to see him in Japanese racing. Yes, his target would be the Arc in the fall but before that, we have to be at the top of Japan in this spring.”
Another with the Arc on the radar is Satono Diamond, who got the better of Kitasan Black in the Grade 1 Arima Kinen on Christmas Day.
“We have decided that the goal of his racing career was the winning of the Arc de Triomphe, before his debut,” said trainer Hajime Satomi. “In this spring, I will set his first target of the Tenno Sho.”
Makahiki made the trip to Chantilly last October, finishing 14th, and a return now looks unlikely with trainer Yasuo Tomomichi aiming for domestic top level prizes.
Ryan Moore will head to Japan to partner him in the Grade 2 Kyoto Kinen on February 12.
Real Steel was steered to Dubai Turf victory by Moore and a defence of that crown is on the cards, with a warm up race in the Grade 2 Nakayama Kinen beforehand.
Vivlos, last year’s Shuka Sho winner, will also head to that race, while the Hong Kong Vase winner Satono Crown looks set for a tile at the Dubai Sheema Classic, in which his stablemate Duramente was defeated by Postponed last year. Sounds Of Earth could also represent Japan in the race.