Romantic Warrior Draws Perfectly For G1 Yasuda Kinen

Danny Shum and Ricky Yiu both reacted positively following the barrier draw for the G1 Yasuda Kinen (1600m) at Tokyo Racecourse on Sunday (2 June), when Romantic Warrior will jump from gate seven, while Voyage Bubble will start from stall 15.

Shum and Yiu had contrasting reasons to feel satisfied ahead of the JPY388.8 million (approx. HK$19.47 million) feature as rain drenched the Japanese capital with Shum pointing to Romantic Warrior’s impeccable record from barrier seven and Yiu welcoming the prospect of an uninterrupted passage for Voyage Bubble.

“We’re happy with (barrier) seven and the owner is also lucky with seven,” Shum said. “It should be easier for James (McDonald) to hold a position from there – very happy.”

Romantic Warrior has had four starts from barrier seven, winning them all – a Class 3 at Sha Tin over 1200 in December, 2021 and, more famously, the 2022 G1 LONGINES Hong Kong Cup (2000m), the 2023 G1 W. S. Cox Plate (2040m) and the 2023 LONGINES Hong Kong Cup.

Chasing an eighth Group 1 triumph – and a fifth this season – Romantic Warrior worked lightly on the inner dirt track with stablemate Romantic Charm at Tokyo Racecourse this morning (Friday, 31 May) as Shum eyed gloomy skies.

“The weather forecast is not too bad and not too wet, so hopefully a good track and it’s fair for every horse,” Shum said. “You can see he is happy from his eyes, from his appetite and how he responds to you. I’m very close to him and I can tell he’s very happy.

“He’s a very smart horse and he’s very quiet. I’ll just keep him happy and relaxed. Hopefully on the race day he is relaxed and he can save his energy for the race.”

Ricky Yiu was pleased with Voyage Bubble’s gate, pointing to the five-year-old’s effort to win the BMW Hong Kong Derby (2000m) from barrier 14 – the widest barrier – last year, especially after the gelding’s torrid run from gate one in the G1 Dubai Turf (1800m) in March.

“I’d have rather seen him draw the middle or the outside because we had the bad experience in Dubai where we had too good of a draw in barrier one. That’s why I prefer the middle or the outside because in Dubai, the horse couldn’t get a run,” Yiu said.

“The outside (draw) gives him more options. Zac Purton has won on him before and knows the horse. I’ll ask the jockey to ride him as he finds him, somewhere midfield. He knows the horse.”

Voyage Bubble will have to create Yasuda Kinen history to win, however, with no horses succeeding from barrier 15 stretching back to 1984.

Leading Japanese contender Soul Rush, to be ridden by Joao Moreira, drew barrier 10 alongside expected leader Win Carnelian in gate 11. Geoglyph and Namur will jump from gates four and five, respectively, while Elton Barows, Serifos and Danon Scorpion will start from the outside three gates, respectively, in the 18-horse field.

Voyage Bubble and Romantic Warrior are attempting to deliver Hong Kong’s third Yasuda Kinen success after the victories of Bullish Luck for Tony Cruz and Brett Prebble in 2006 and Fairy King Prawn in 2000 for Ivan Allan and Robbie Fradd.

The G1 Yasuda Kinen (1600m) will be run at Tokyo Racecourse on Sunday (2 June) at 16:40 (AEST).

– News from Hong Kong Jockey Club

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