Different approach to training pays off for Lord Kanaloa's Takayuki Yasuda
Trainer goes against conventional wisdom - but admits horse's quality was the key
One of the glories of international racing is that it showcases how many different ways there are to do things in the sport - nothing is set in stone and nothing is wrong. It's just different.
And Takayuki Yasuda's handling of his two Hong Kong Sprint runners this week was another reminder.
While all the other HKIR runners were out for gentle strolls, a pick of grass or the slowest of canters on Saturday morning, Yasuda put the pair of sprinters through some of their strongest work for the whole week and surprised anyone who makes it their business to watch horses being trained, anywhere.
The common wisdom, even in Japan, would say that working horses hard the day before their race is a short road to tired horses and failure but Yasuda is not your common sprint trainer - with Lord Kanaloa, Curren Chan and to a lesser extent Dasher Go Go, he has proved the man to beat in Japan's Group sprints in the past two years, including wins in the last three Group Ones run there.
"It is not unusual for me to work the horses like that but, yes, it would not be the normal pattern for other trainers in Japan either," he acknowledged after Lord Kanaloa blew away the Group One field.
"In Japan, the usual training pattern is to do the fastest work on Wednesday before racing on the weekend. My usual programme is to do fast work on Sunday, not very much work on Wednesday, in contrast to my counterparts, and then to work fast the day before racing."
So, the question begs: is that why Yasuda has succeeded in the Hong Kong Sprint when quite a few others from his country have failed to measure up over the years?
"I don't know if it is my style of training - but I do know it helps that Lord Kanaloa is a much stronger sprinter than the ones that came before," he smiled.