Japan's Boss targets Ascot upset

Given the lengths to which most people would go to shelter their horses from the searing talent of Frankel, it seems quixotic to fly one from the other side of the world in order to take him on. But there is another, more promising paradox in the participation of Grand Prix Boss in the St James's Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot on Tuesday.

Japan may still be one of the Turf's more insular nations – most races remain closed to overseas runners, and Sheikh Mohammed had to wait years before being permitted to invest – but in recent decades the country has shown increasing adventure on the international stage. In turn, punters have learnt that the best Japanese horses warrant more respect than their parochial instincts have tended to allow.

Last October, 11 years after El Condor Pasa ran the mighty Montjeu so close in the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe, his trainer and jockey lost out by just a head to Workforce with a 26-1 shot, Nakayama Festa, in the same race. Then, days after their homeland was stricken by natural disaster, Victoire Pisa rallied the Japanese industry by taking the Dubai World Cup in March.

Mirco Demuro, the Italian who produced such a splendid ride that night, will also be in the saddle when Grand Prix Boss goes on his intrepid mission next week. His team are hoping to introduce a proper spirit of competition to a race being treated as little more than a lap of honour by the bookmakers, with Frankel at odds as short as 1-4 while Grand Prix Boss can be backed at 16-1.

For all their regard for the favourite, those supervising the raider's preparation have hardly sent him all this way in meek obeisance. Pointedly, they had dressed his legs in red and white bandages when he appeared on the Newmarket gallops in the morning; and his bridle was in a similarly patriotic hue.

Koji Kubo, assistant trainer to Yoshito Yahagi, is a dashing young man with a ready smile. "Frankel is a superstar," he said. "Even in Japan everyone knows how good he is. But we're very excited by the chance of taking him on. He's the best miler in Japan. It's our best horse against yours.

"It's a long way to come here. The trip took over a day. But he was eating and drinking well throughout, and has settled well into his new environment in Newmarket, training just as we'd hope."

Japan's champion juvenile last year, Grand Prix Boss evidently needed his first two starts at three but last month showed striking acceleration to beat 17 rivals for a Group One prize in Tokyo. That performance came within days of the death of his sire, and confirmed his owner's ambition to come to Ascot.

His racing manager, Keita Tanaka, explained: "Sakura Bakushin O was one of our top sprint sires. With his death, our horse has an important goal as a stallion. The prestige of this meeting could raise his value for the future."

Tanaka was naturally in awe at how Frankel barrelled clear in the 2,000 Guineas. "Any plan you might have can have no meaning after a performance like that," he said. "It was amazing. But it's a different race, a different day. He's amazing, but we've brought a champion too, so we have a chance. If we thought Frankel unbeatable, we wouldn't be here."

Emboldened by the success of overseas sprinters at recent royal meetings, another posse of speedballs has arrived from the United States, Hong Kong and Australia. Jeff O'Connor, representing Peter Moody's Melbourne stable, rates their Hinchinbrook "terrific value at 12-1" in the Golden Jubilee Stakes but, excitingly, added that the mare rated the world's top sprinter, Black Caviar, is being aimed at the 2012 meeting.

The mare is unbeaten in 13 starts, including six Group Ones, and O'Connor said: "Everyone in the camp is all for bringing her over. She's got runs on the board, now it's time to get her some world-wide prestige."

Danny O'Brien, another Australian, could saddle Star Witness as favourite for the King's Stand Stakes. He looks forward to seeing So You Think, exported from Bart Cummings to Ballydoyle, on Wednesday. "In one season back home we had Black Caviar and So You Think," he said. "They could be the two best horses we have seen over the last 25 years."

Turf account


Meia Noite (6.55 Chepstow) Promising return at Kempton, travelling strongly, and likely to enjoy this drop in trip off what looks a very fair mark.

Next best

All Action (4.35 Sandown) Top pedigree, and easy to see him getting it together with a stiff test today.

One to watch

War Poet (David O'Meara) Looks capable of sustaining his improvement.

Where the money's going

Cape Blanco is 6-1 from 9-1 with Coral for Tuesday's Queen Anne Stakes at Ascot.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Clinical Lead / RGN

£40000 - £42000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: IT Sales Consultant

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This IT support company has a n...

Recruitment Genius: Works Engineer

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A works engineer is required in a progressive ...

Recruitment Genius: Trainee Hire Manager - Tool Hire

£21000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Our client is seeking someone w...

Day In a Page

Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones
Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

Why are we addicted to theme parks?

Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

Iran is opening up again to tourists

After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there
10 best PS4 games

10 best PS4 games

Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
Transfer window: Ten things we learnt

Ten things we learnt from the transfer window

Record-breaking spending shows FFP restraint no longer applies
Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent