Kyoto Racecourse place host to the International Group 1 Queen Elizabeth II Cup, which was little known amongst European racegoers until Ed Dunlop sent the “great” Snow Fairy to take the contest in 2010 and 2011.
The race was first run in 1976 and was initially the restricted to three ear old fillies, to form the final leg of the Fillies Triple Crown. Since 1997 the race has been open to older mares and has been won by four-year-olds on three of the last four occasions.
It’s disappointing that we won’t get to see either filly triple-crown champion Almond Eye or the globe-trotting Deidre as they skip this for the Japan Cup and Hing Kong Cup respectively.
Last season’s winner Mozu Katchan bids to land back to back victories and although the daughter of Harbinger hasn’t won in three starts since last year’s win, she ran well to finished third on the back of a five-month break when last seen.
Trainer Ippo Sameshima recently said:
“She worked in tandem up the hill last week. The ground was slow but her movement was good.”
Lys Gracieux would a be a very popular/deserving winner as she is yet to make the breakthrough at Group 1 level but has finished runner-up on four occasions. She finished eighth in this contest twelve months but was hampered by a slow break and then ended up too far back in a tactical affair. Interestingly, seven of the last ten winners were landing their first Group 1 when winning this and Lys Gracieux could add to this record.
Cantabile is one of the leading three-year-olds in the field and has only been out of the money once in seven career starts. The only time she ran poorly was in the Japanese Oaks and she showed her well-being when finishing third behind Almond Eye. She has to carry less weight than she did when last seen and she looks sure to run a big race.
The final horse of real note is Red Genova who is very consistent and has earned herself a crack at a Group 1 for the first time. Last time out, she took on her first graded-stakes race in the Kyoto Daishoten and she is on an upward curve.