‘He Was Amazing’ — Lemaire On Kitasan Black’s Skilfing In Japanese Derby Prep

By the same sire as the stunningly dominant Japanese Horse of the Year and multiple Group 1 victor Equinox (Jpn) in Kitasan Black (Jpn), Skilfing (Jpn) appears he could be any kind with a half-length win over Hearts Concerto (Jpn) (Heart’s Cry {Jpn}) in the G2 TV Tokyo Hai Aoba Sho at Tokyo on Saturday. The 2400-metre G1 Tokyo Yushun (Japanese Derby) pointer was covered in a slick 2:23.90 over firm turf.

Favoured at 3-5, the formerly two-for-three Carrot Farm colourbearer settled near the rear of the field behind fairly even splits doled out by Asakara King (Jpn) (Kizuna {Jpn}). Improving after the first 1000 metres, the son of Rossweisse (Jpn) (Symboli Kris S) was eager to do more under Christophe Lemaire and inched closer to the front at the 600-metre mark. Spun wide on the turn, Skilfing was given his cue at the quarter-pole and began picking off foes in earnest down the lane. He engaged fellow closer Hearts Concerto inside the final furlong, but was always going better of the pair to win with something in hand. The top two finishers earned spots in the May 28 Tokyo Yushun.

“I did not want to race aggressively,” Lemaire told www.netkeiba.com. “The pace was slow and that made me worried if we could catch up to the pacemakers, but I knew he has got potential. He was amazing after the uphill section of the course.

“He is a Group 1-level horse. His growth was a bit slow compared to other horses but he has matured as he has gained more racing experience. He will be in top condition on Derby day.”

Second on debut in October facing newcomers, Skilfing broke his maiden over 2000 metres a month later at this venue and handled the step up to 2400 metres with a victory in the Feb. 5 Yurikamome Sho.


Pedigree Notes

Skilfing is the sixth stakes winner and fifth group winner for his Shadai Stallion Station-based sire, who is by Deep Impact’s full-brother Black Tide (Jpn). Kitasan Black is also represented by G1 Satsuki Sho hero Sol Oriens (Jpn), and fellow group winners Gaia Force (Jpn) and Ravel (Jpn).

The second foal out of his dam, a three-time winner and full-sister to the multiple stakes-placed Weitblick (Jpn) (Symboli Kris S), Skilfing is followed by half-sisters by Kizuna and Satono Diamond (Jpn) born in 2021 and 2022, respectively. His dam was covered by Mikki Isle (Jpn) last spring.

The March-foaled colt is also related to G1 Yasuda Kinen victress Songline (Jpn) (Kizuna {Jpn}), Japanese/English Group 1 winner Deirdre (Jpn) (Harbinger {GB}), and Japanese champion-turned-sire Logi Universe (Jpn) (Neo Universe {Jpn}).

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