Feature Story

Can Through Seven Seas finally bring Japan Arc joy?

Can Through Seven Seas finally bring Japan Arc joy? Sep 25, 2023

By Masakazu Takahashi

Japan’s only Qatar Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe contender Through Seven Seas was put through her paces in preparation for the big day on October 1, with trainer Tomohito Ozeki opting to give her a six-furlong breeze rather than a relatively relaxed canter on the straight turf course at Les Aigles at Chantilly on September 22.

The 5yo daughter of Dream Journey is yet to strike at the highest level, having made three starts in Grade One company so far, including when beaten only by a neck by spectacular Longines Dubai Sheema Classic-winning Equinox in the Takarazuka Kinen at Hanshin on June 25. It was a race that followed her length and a quarter success in the Grade 3 Laurel RC Sho Nakayama Himba Stakes at Nakayama in March.

Bred by Northern Farm and owned by Carrot Farm Co. Ltd, Through Seven Seas could have what it takes to bring Japan a first ever victory in France’s biggest race as she boasts a pedigree to boost her connections’ aspirations with her sire, Dream Journey, related as full brother to dual Arc runner-up Orfevre. Furthermore, she is unbeaten when partnering Christophe Lemaire, who has been booked for the ride at Paris Longchamp.

Speaking of Through Seven Seas’ first workout at Chantilly, trainer Ozeki commented: “Both horse and the work rider were a little confused as it was their first time training at the course. “But, in the end, she was able to run well with great strides. The rider felt good in the saddle, and her breathing has improved, so I think she has been in good condition.”

Time will reveal if Through Seven Seas is to be the one to end the long-running hoodoo that has kept the trophy from travelling to the “land of the rising sun”.

Dubai winners Ushba Tesoro, Shahryar preparing for Breeders’ Cup challenges

Stunning winner of the Group 1 Dubai World Cup, Ushba Tesoro is set to run in the Nippon TV Hai (NAR Funabashi, a local Grade 2, dirt 1800m) on Wednesday, as he prepares for his Breeders Cup Classic title bid.

The 6yo full son of Orfevre returned to trainer Noboru Takagi’s yard in mid-August after a long break that followed his terrific performance in the showpiece at Meydan Racecourse in March. And, according to connections, his appetite for success has remained intact with Takagi keen to give him a prep race before he travels Stateside for the prized event of the Breeders’ Cup World Series. 

Takagi believes Ushba Tesoro’s form will improve tremendously after his outing at Funabashi and, irrespective of the result there, he will board the flight bound for the US.

Another Dubai World Cup night winner being aimed at the Breeders’ Cup programme is Hideaki Fujiwara’s Shahryar. The 5yo Deep Impact entire won the 2021 Japanese Derby and the 2022 running of the Longines Dubai Sheema Classic and will target the Grade 1 Breeders Cup Turf, his owners Sunday Racing Co. Ltd. announced on their website last week.

Shahryar underwent throat surgery on August 24 for the epiglottic entrapment he was diagnosed with after finishing 11th in the Grade 2 Sapporo Kinen on August 20. He has recuperated well since and is due to be ridden by Cristian Demuro.

Shahryar could be joined in the starting gates by another son of Deep Impact, the dual Epsom and Irish Derby winning Auguste Rodin, who is trained by Aidan O’Brien.

Equinox, Do Deuce to renew rivalry in Tenno Sho

Longines Dubai Sheema Classic winner Equinox is expected to go head-to-head with Do Deuce, one of two horses to put a black mark against his record, in the Grade 1 Tenno Sho Autumn on October 29.

Yasuo Tomomichi’s Do Deuce proved the better horse by a neck in the 2022 running of the Japanese Derby at Tokyo in May and the pair have been separated ever since. And while Tetsuya Kimura’s Equinox progressed from that disappointment to win four consecutive top-tier events, including the Takarazuka Kinen in June, Do Deuce’s career went in an opposite direction.

He was dispatched twice in France last year but failed to hit the target on both occasions, finishing a distant 19th of 20 in last year’s Arc. 

In his only competitive outing as a 4yo, the Heart’s Cry colt landed the Grade 2 Kyoto Kinen by a cosy three and a half lengths in February. He was due to contest the Group 1 Dubai Turf but was forced to miss the event after picking up an injury two days before the race. However, having recovered during the summer at Northern Farm in Hokkaido, Do Deuce returned to trainer Tomomichi’s yard at Ritto Training Centre on September 8, with connections instantly announcing big plans for him starting with the Tenno Sho Autumn. The Japan Cup and Arima Kinen have been put down as future targets.