Can Brillante Bag A Big Race For Japan?
The Australians have already come over and plundered one of the biggest racing prizes of the Summer and now the Japanese are planning to do the same in the Betfair-sponsored King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Diamond Stakes.
Japanese Derby winner Deep Brillante has travelled around 6000 miles to race in Ascot’s mid-season showpiece on Saturday and according to his trainer, he certainly isn’t just here to absorb the beautiful Berkshire views! At a special press conference in Newmarket on Thursday morning, Yoshito Yahagi was in bullish mood about the prospect of his three-year-old facing older horses for the first time and claimed that “we are here to win”.
The three-year-old has won three of his six career starts but will face his toughest task to date in the Betfair King George against what looks a stellar line-up. Yahagi will be buoyed by the recent record of Japanese challengers in Europe, though, including that of Deep Brillante’s father, Deep Impact. Deep Impact had a huge cult following in Japan and thousands of his supporters came over six years ago to see him finish third in France’s premier race, the Arc de Triomphe (though he was subsequently demoted for failing a drugs test).
Other recent Japanese challengers to perform creditably have included Zenno Rob Roy (runner-up in the 2005 Juddmonte International at York), Heart’s Cry (third in the 2006 King George) and Nakayama Festa, who finished second in the 2010 Arc de Triomphe.
Deep Brillante will be partnered on Saturday by Melbourne Cup-winning veteran jockey Yasunari Iwata, who has ridden him in all his career outings so far. The pair certainly won’t lack for confidence as they aim to achieve the European Group 1 victory that has so far eluded the globe-trotting heavyweights from Japan.
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