Japanese contender Meiner Lacrima blows out the cobwebs
Trainer Hiroyuki Uehara turns up the heat on his charge with a serious workout ahead of the Champions Mile
Just in case he was too comfortable at Sha Tin, Japan's Champions Mile contender, Meiner Lacrima, was disabused of any notion he was here on holiday in Wednesday's trackwork session.
Trainer Hiroyuki Uehara was on hand as Meiner Lacrima's casual first 800m was little more than a canter, but the heat was turned right up in the run past the grandstands.
His rider drew the whip and used it with some frequency to ensure the tough six-year-old used himself to find the line and blow out any cobwebs.
"The horse travelled over well. He lost some weight initially, but has put it very quickly back on," said Uehara, best known outside of his country as the trainer of Daiwa Major, a Yasuda Kinen winner who also went within a nose of winning the Kyoto Mile Championship three times and raced with credit in Dubai.
"He is very well and healthy and that is why I was able to give him a gallop to keep him sharp and focused. It looked like a very strong workout when he came down the home straight, but actually it was very slow and relaxed until the last 400m."
It has been unusual to find Japanese gallopers in the Champions Mile in recent years, most preferring to aim towards the Yasuda Kinen a month later, but the trainer indicated he prefers to race the horse right-handed.
The Yasuda Kinen is on the left-handed Fuchu track.
"We came here because the horse's owner is very interested in winning a Group One overseas and so we have come to try here, where the track may suit him," the trainer said.
"The horses in this race are strong, but Meiner Lacrima will do his best. I expect a good performance, I hope he can win."
In Japan, Meiner Lacrima has tended to run at distances longer than 1,600m, where he takes a forward position and then fights on strongly.
Despite the drop back in distance, Uehara expects him to adopt the same tactics: "He is not a leader, but he does like to race close to the lead."