An older fillies and mares' race, held at Tokyo Racecourse, the Gr.1 Victoria Mile, has thrown up its fair share of big-name winners in a relatively short period of time: Vodka in 2009, Apapane in 2011, and probably the greatest of them all just last year, when Almond Eye ran out a four-length winner of the race and became just the fourth first favourite to win the race since 2006.The 16th running of this Group event sees 20 nominations for a maximum 18 runner field. Ten Furlongs takes a closer look at the runners
Gran Alegria: The now 5YO mare needs no introduction, being a four-time Gr.1 winner already, and having a record of five wins over a mile from her total of seven wins altogether. She was trying the distance of 2,000 meters for the first time in the Gr.1 Osaka Hai in April, her last race, but had to settle for a fourth-place finish.
Resistencia: The 4YO filly by Daiwa Major has just had nine career races, but she’s won four times (once over a mile) and has only ever been unplaced once. She was second in last year’s Gr.1 NHK Mile Cup, and is coming off a bold showing in her latest race, when she finished second in the Gr.1 Takamatsunomiya Kinen over 1,200 meters at Chukyo in March.
Danon Fantasy: Another Gr.1 winner, although for not some time, three of the 5YO six career wins have come over a mile, and she finished fifth in last year’s Victoria Mile. Looking to rebound from her worst ever placing last time, when she finished twelfth in the Gr.1 Takamatsunomiya Kinen, assistant trainer Yuya Katayama said, “She had a break at the farm after her last race, and since returning to the stable she’s worked on the turf track, where she posted a recent five furlongs time in just over 68 seconds.
Terzetto: Looking like Mirco Demuro’s big race ride, the 4YO filly by Deep Impact impressed last time when winning the Gr.3 Lord Derby Challenge Trophy over a mile at Nakayama in April. She’ll have to carry extra weight this time, and it is a jump up in class, but her current form suggests she has a chance.
Magic Castle: It’s been pretty much onwards and upwards for Magic Castle since she finished fifth in last year’s Gr.1 Yushun Himba (Japanese Oaks). She won the Gr.3 Aichi Hai over 2,000 meters at Chukyo in January, and is coming off a second-place finish in the Gr.2 Sankei Sports Hai Hanshin Himba Stakes over a mile in April. Trainer Sakae Kunieda, who has won the race with Apapane and Almond Eye, commented: “Given the long transportation to the track last time, and her weight loss that I attribute to the time of year, she ran a good race. It had been a while since she last ran over a mile, and the winner just had the advantage.”
Des Ailes: Trainer Yasuo Tomomichi is enjoying his fair share of success this year, bringing up his 600th career win recently, and with this Shadai Farm bred 4YO daughter of Deep Impact, he has another live chance of picking up a big race win here. Even though there wasn’t much to choose between the first four home in the Gr.2 Sankei Sports Hai Hanshin Himba Stakes last time, Des Ailes was the one that rattled home the strongest.
Dirndl: A win for the 5YO mare by Rulership would be a major Gr.1 breakthrough for trainer Yutaka Okumura, together with jockey Taisei Danno, who has just held a JRA license since 2019, as both of them seek their first top-level win. Dirndl just ran out the winner last time in the Gr.3 Fukushima Himba Stakes in April, where there was very little in it between the first seven home, but nevertheless her performance pleased her trainer. “She ran a good race last time, getting to the front early and running smoothly for the whole race, showing that mentally she has come on a lot,” said Okumura.
Maltese Diosa: Even though the Kizuna filly is versatile when it comes to distance, the 1,200 meters in the Gr.1 Takamatsunomiya Kinen last time was probably just a bit on the short side for her, but timewise she wasn’t beaten that much, and trainer Takahisa Tezuka doesn’t think she ran badly at all. “Given that she lost a shoe in her last race and the ground was soft, I think she still put in a good run, and there really wasn’t that much difference between her and the others,” commented the trainer. Jockey Hironobu Tanabe has ridden the horse in her last eight races, and continues his association with Maltese Diosa here.
Sound Chiara: A tougher mare would be hard to find, and the 6YO Sound Chiara is back for another try in the race where she finished seventh in 2019 and second in 2020. She maintains a good strike rate, although in her only race this year she finished sixth in the Gr.1 Takamatsunomiya Kinen in March.
Distance 1600 meters, (About 8 furlongs / 1 mile), Surface Turf,Track Left-handed, Qualification 4-y-o & Up, Fillies & Mares only, Thoroughbreds, Weight 55 kg, Purse ¥ 172,000,000 (as of 2015),1st: ¥ 90,000,000
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