2024 Satsuki Sho: Group 1 Review

Venue: Nakayama
Distance: 2000m
Value: ¥432,000,000 (approximately US$3million)

Justin Milano remained unbeaten and set a new track record when winning the first leg of Japan’s Triple Crown, the Satsuki Sho. The Kizuna colt is out of the British-trained sprinter Margot Did, whose racing peak came when successful in the G1 Nunthorpe Stakes over five furlongs (1000m).

There was poignancy in the aftermath as trainer Yasuo Tomomichi, best known in recent times for his handling of Do Deuce, acknowledged the role played in the horse’s education by Kota Fujioka who died earlier in the week as the result of a race fall at Hanshin.

Sunday Racing’s star filly Regaleira was pointed at this test rather than the fillies’ equivalent over a mile a week earlier and she was the 3.6 favourite in a field of 17. Justin Milano was the 4.8 second choice.

The G1 Asahi Hai Futurity winner Jantar Mantar broke sharply and settled third, a sensible distance behind the all-too-fast pace-setting Meisho Tabaru. Justin Milano cruised along in fifth under Keita Tosaki. Regaleira, on the other hand, started slowly and settled a long way back in 14th.

Jantar Mantar swept to the lead off the home turn and kicked clear, but as his stride shortened through the inclining final 200 metres, Justin Milano and the Joao Moreira-ridden Cosmo Kuranda, galloped past. That pair was separated by a neck at the line. Regaleira was sixth.

2024 Satsuki Sho: Race Replay

JUSTIN MILANO / G1 Satsuki Sho // Nakayama /// 2024 //// Video by JRA

What They Said

Keita Tosaki: “The pace was fast but Justin Milano ran in his own rhythm. His response weakened a bit at the third corner but he regained his focus after the fourth corner and stretched well to win the race. He’s a smart horse with a lot of potential. He’s easy to ride, and I think he can handle the longer distance.”

The Eyecatchers

Regaleira did not have the clearest run on the home turn and gave 12th placed Sunrise Earth a hefty sideways bump. But she quickened when faced with open ground in the straight, posting the fastest final three-furlong split of any runner.

Take another look at Silk Racing’s Urban Chic, too. He was keen racing back in the field, advanced wide on the turn and stayed on for a closing fourth. The son of Suave Richard is out of a granddaughter of the great producer Wind In Her Hair and could be better at 2400m.

What Next

On to the Derby, the Tokyo Yushun, for the principals. Justin Milano, after only three starts, is entitled to find improvement. While he races as if 2400m won’t be an issue, his speedy dam does raise a doubt. A bigger threat could be Carrot Farm’s Sixpence, impressive when defeating some Satsuki Sho also-rans in the G2 Spring Stakes last time.

David Morgan is Chief Journalist at Idol Horse. As a sports mad young lad in County Durham, England, horse racing hooked him at age 10. He has a keen knowledge of Hong Kong and Japanese racing after nine years as senior racing writer and racing editor at the Hong Kong Jockey Club. David has also worked in Dubai and spent several years at the Racenews agency in London. His credits include among others Racing Post, ANZ Bloodstock News, International Thoroughbred, TDN, and Asian Racing Report.

View all articles by David Morgan.

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