Japan horse racing: How to bet the Yushun Himba

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May 22nd, 2020

Japan’s spring classics season continues Sunday with the Yushun Himba (Japanese Oaks, G1), which has attracted 18 sophomore fillies at Tokyo Racecourse.

The majority of the runners in this 2,400-meter test of class, speed, and stamina are exiting the 1,600-meter Oka Sho (G1) at Hanshin, the first leg of the Japan Filly Triple Crown. Conducted over a yielding turf course that produced slow times, the Oka Sho saw the promising #4 Daring Tact rally strongly in the straight to score by 1 1/2 lengths over Group 1 winner Resistencia, which brought Daring Tact’s record to a perfect 3-for-3.

Daring Tact will stretch out substantially in distance for the Yushun Himba, though her pedigree suggests the longer trip won’t be an issue. Daring Tact’s dam, Cesario, won this race in 2005, with a powerful rally from off the pace, while sire Epiphaneia claimed the 2014 Japan Cup (G1) over the same course and distance as the Yushun Himba.

But Daring Tact will face a formidable newcomer Sunday. #1 Des Ailes is undefeated in two starts under the care of trainer Yasuo Tomomichi, and her performances suggest the daughter of Deep Impact could be a superstar in the making.

Just look at her victory in the 1,800-meter Sweetpea S. running 1,800 meters at Tokyo. Des Ailes sprinted the final 600 meters in a freakish :32.50 to win going away by 1 3/4 lengths. None of her 17 rivals finished faster than :33.30.

Deep Impact has already sired five winners of the Yushun Himba, and hot jockey Damian Lane (winning at a 30% rate in Japan) will retain the mount.

Des Ailes’ pedigree suggests stretching out in distance won’t be an issue, either. Her dam, Avenir Certain, was a two-time classic winner in France. She most notably secured the 2,100-meter Prix de Diane (French Oaks, G1). Even better, the rail draw will give Des Ailes every opportunity to work out a ground-saving journey.

Splitting Daring Tact and Des Ailes is the tricky part, but if Des Ailes replicates her astonishing acceleration from the Sweetpea, it’s going to be difficult for anyone to defeat her. We’ll favor Des Ailes with a win bet and play her over Daring Tact in a straight exacta.

$20 to win on #1 Des Ailes
$10 exacta: 1 with 4

Good luck!