For whatever reason, there has been a real uptick in classy Japanese runners heading to overseas meetings of late. Collectively, they sent their biggest ever team to Dubai in March for World Cup night.
There was no shortage of success in the UAE for the team either.
Koichi Shintani’s Crown Pride took the Group 2 UAE Derby, Takayuki Yasuda’s Red Le Zele was second in the Group 1 Golden Shaheen, Hideaki Fujiwara’s Shahryar won the Dubai Sheema Classic (G1) and Ryuji Okubo’s Chuwa Wizard was third in the Dubai World Cup itself.
It didn’t stop there. The most successful Japanese trainer on the night was Yoshito Yahagi. His Bathrat Leon was a 66/1 scorer in the Group 2 Godolphin Mile, his Panthalassa dead-heated for first in the Dubai Turf (G1) and he was responsible for a certain Stay Foolish who saw off Manobo in the Group 2 Dubai Gold Cup.
Now, Stay Foolish is a major contender for the Melbourne Cup.
Stay Foolish Form Works Out
This horse really sprung to prominence when taking down odds-on shot Manobo at Meydan. The Godolphin horse himself is still pretty prominent in the betting.
Stay Foolish also beat Sonnyboyliston in Riyadh before that, a horse who of course won the Irish St Leger last year and was at one point himself a big shout for the 2021 Melbourne Cup.
The seven-year-old is a veteran now of some 30 career runs. He has experience and staying power, but unusually for a horse at this stage he is also getting better all the time and that’s a unique and positive combination.
When winning a 3000-metre Group 3 handicap in Saudi Arabia, he powered away from a good field. Sonnyboyliston (second), had been in top form in the UK and Ireland and is well regarded.
Back in third was another Godolphin hot-pot, Siskany. He’d reached a handicap mark of 11 in Britain in 2021, and was coming into the race in Riyadh having demolished a Listed class field by more than five lengths.
The form of his Dubai Gold Cup win is even more impressive.
Manobo had been unbeaten in his career to that point and was sent off at 4/9 favourite. Admittedly having pulled hard, Charlie Appleby’s runner was worried out of it by Stay Foolish near the line.
Although he didn’t win the race, Manobo was subsequently sent off favourite for the Coronation Stakes at Epsom over 2400m. That is a very prestigious Group 1 giving the form a solid look.
Are There Any Chinks in the Armour?
Stay Foolish appears to have it all. Age and experience. Progression. Clear staying ability. He also handles most types of ground conditions.
From the outside looking in, we’d say there are few weaknesses in his profile. He’s a 15.00 shot with the TAB just now, but around a 16/1 shot with bookies in Europe. Where he goes before Flemington will be fascinating to find out.
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