Sight Winner and Armada in good order
Trainer John Size has issued a 'steady as she goes' report on his two Yasuda Kinen hopefuls after Armada and Sight Winner travelled without incident to Japan last week and settled in comfortably.
Sight Winner is making his first overseas assault, while Armada was runner-up in the HK$17.5 million Group One mile last year behind Vodka, but Size said both had handled the trip well.
'They are both normal in the quarantine station. They travelled well, there was no significant weight loss for either horse and they are eating and drinking well,' Size said.
'I'll be there Tuesday afternoon [today], after the horses move from quarantine to the racecourse so I'll know more then, but all the reports are good.'
Armada has not been quite up to his best form, but Size is hopeful the change of environment will produce improvement as it did 12 months ago.
'He thrived there last year, improved as soon as he got off the plane, so hopefully that will be the case again,' Size said.
Like any race, the field quality can vary from year to year, but Sight Winner and Armada will need to be on top of their game to be competitive as the Yasuda Kinen is particularly strong this time, featuring three of the highest-rated Japanese horses.
Last year's Japanese Derby winner, Deep Sky, multiple Group One winner Super Hornet and an ominously in-form Vodka will be waiting for the Hong Kong pair and are arguably the best horses in Japan.
All come to the race in good form, but Vodka looks certain to be the favourite to score back-to-back wins after a devastating seven-length win last start in a Group One race restricted to her own sex.
As the winner of the Asian Mile Challenge third leg, the Champions Mile, Sight Winner is eligible for a US$1 million bonus if he can take the Yasuda Kinen as well.