Glorious Days draws gate 6 and Helene Spirit gets 11 for Yasuda Kinen
Jockey Whyte is delighted with number six stall in Yasuda Kinen, while Gerald Mosse is looking on the bright side of gate 11 for Helene Spirit
Glorious Days was gifted an "ideal" gate that gives jockey Douglas Whyte options, and Gerald Mosse was still putting a positive spin on a double-figure draw for outsider Helene Spirit in tomorrow's Group One Yasuda Kinen in Japan.
Glorious Days will jump from barrier six, with Whyte happy to avoid the "squeeze" gates in what many are predicting will be a pressure-filled race. Helene Spirit drafted stall 11, from where Mosse said he would take advantage of the predicted fast tempo and revert back to run-on tactics with the versatile six-year-old.
Whyte said barrier six would allow him to maintain a place in the front third of the field on Glorious Days, but still avoid jostling for position in what could be a frantic opening 400m. "It's a fine balance," he said of where he would look to be positioned in the run. "From where I'm drawn, if they go fast I can slot in. We just want to be comfortable.
Video: Hong Kong candidate Helene Spirit prepares for Sunday's Yasuda Kinen in Tokyo
"I'm happy with the draw. You wouldn't want to be one or two, but you wouldn't want to be any wider than we are.
"He is the type of horse you don't want to get into a bumping match with. We want to retain his energy and when you draw one or two, especially in Japan, where you've got these big burly horses coming over and dictating to you, your options can be limited."
Even though Helene Spirit's most recent performance saw him lead and nearly steal the Champions Mile at big odds a month ago at Sha Tin, the gelding has been ridden off the pace and finished strongly in the past.
The tempo of the race should be genuine at least, with likely tearaway leader Curren Black Hill drawn one, and three-time Group One-winning sprinter Lord Kanaloa drawn inside Helene Spirit in 10.
"I'm happy with that. To be in the middle on a horse with good gate speed is always a good position to be in and much better than 18," Mosse said.
"The speed in mile races is pretty strong. I will follow the rhythm without much pressure and he can finish very strong from behind. In a race where the pace could be very strong, that will give him his chance."
Mosse played a significant role in Helene Spirit's purchase from France, where he had won on the then three-year-old and recommended him to owners. The weather was warm in Tokyo yesterday, but a cool change was predicted for the weekend and Mosse was hoping for rain to create more French-like conditions at the notoriously hard and fast track at Fuchu.
"I just hope the ground isn't hard like it has been before. It can become quick and firm. I don't think he will perform to his best on that type of ground," he said. "I've known this horse for a long time and if the ground is on the soft side he will definitely enjoy that."
As well as tactical versatility, another factor in Helene Spirit's favour is his ability over farther than a mile, which could be critical given the track's testing finish. Mosse partnered Helene Spirit in his final track gallop yesterday morning, slipping the six-year-old some rein as he approached the rise at the 300m mark, and sprinting home over the final furlong.
"It was just a nice little breeze-up for him," trainer Caspar Fownes said. "I just told Gerald to canter him around and work home the last 600m and give him a little push the last 200m to get his wind right. His fitness levels are really good. He is thriving and in great form and, even though he is an outsider, let's hope we can pick up a cheque."
Glorious Days cantered two laps of the dirt track, with trainer John Size reporting all was well with his five-year-old.
"He coped with his gallop yesterday quite well. He worked normally this morning," Size said.