Vivlos Tops Loaded QE II

By Alan Carasso

The Japan Autumn International series gets under way Sunday with an intriguing and wide-open renewal of the G1 Queen Elizabeth II S. (2200m) at Kyoto Racecourse.

A full field of 18 turf distaffers is set to face the starter and a slight edge goes to Vivlos (Jpn) (Deep Impact {Jpn}), though she will have to overcome barrier 16 in the field of 18. The mount of leading rider Christophe Lemaire, the 4-year-old filly, winner of the 2016 G1 Shuka Sho (2000m), was fourth to the talented Neorealism (Jpn) (Neo Universe {Jpn}) in the G2 Nakayama Kinen in February, then caused a minor upset when carrying Joao Moreira to victory in the G1 Dubai Turf in March. Sidelined off that effort, she resumed with a very good runner-up effort to Crocosmia (Jpn) (Stay Gold {Jpn}) in the G2 Fuchu Himba S. (1800m) Oct. 14.

“This past week in training, she’s worked well with good times and done it easily,” said trainer Yasou Tomomichi. “She’s improved from her last race and looks to be more muscular. I think she’ll be able to handle the distance and however the race is run.”

Lemaire singled out Deirdre (Jpn) (Harbinger {GB}) as the main threat to Vivlos, and the Frenchman would know, having guded the bay filly to a 1 1/4-length defeat of Lys Gracieux (Jpn) (Heart’s Cry {Jpn}) and G1 Yushun Himba third Mozu Katchan (Jpn) (Harbinger {GB}) in this year’s Shuka Sho Oct. 15, her third consecutive success. Yasunari Iwata, who was in the saddle for Deirdre’s win two back in the G3 Shion S., returns Sunday, while Mirco Demuro partners with Mozu Katchan.

Queen’s Ring (Jpn) (Manhattan Café {Jpn}) has the look of an interesting and logical longshot. Winner of this event last season, with Mikki Queen (Jpn) (Deep Impact {Jpn}) book-ending a royal trifecta, the 5-year-old was sixth in the G1 Victoria Mile in May, but rallied from far back to be fourth in the Fuchu Himba in her return to action. Mikki Queen, seventh in the Victoria Mile, goes first up for 4 1/2 months, having filled third spot behind Satono Crown (Jpn) (Marju {Ire}) in the G1 Takarazuka Kinen June 25.

Rouge Buck (Jpn) (Manhattan Café {Jpn}), who defeated the talented Staphanos (Jpn) (Deep Impact {Jpn}) in the Sept. 24 Sankei Sho All Comers S. (2200m) first off a May absence, also merits a look with Ryan Moore at the controls.

The JAI series continues with the G1 Mile Championship S. Nov. 19 and the G1 Japan Cup Nov. 26.

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