Japan’s Keita Tosaki has finished third in his two attempts at the Longines International Jockeys’ Championship but he gets the chance to take a step up and win it at Happy Valley on Wednesday night.
Yutaka Take, who dead-heated with Christophe Soumillon in 2004 and Yuichi Fukunaga, who won in 2014, are the only IJC winners from the Land of the Rising Sun but Tosaki might just have the ammunition to add his name to the list.
Tosaki has managed to win a leg in each of the past two editions of the contest, dead-heating on True Comment in 2015 and producing a clever ride to win at long odds on Big Bang Bong last year, and winning at least one leg has been critical to taking the competition.
He has two great chances to win on Wednesday night, with Jolly Bountiful for Big Bang Bong’s trainer John Size in race five and Godspeed for David Hall in race seven.
That is a great start as two wins will just about take the prize in any given year.
Jolly Bountiful is resuming for the season but the Size team is in brilliant form and 1,000m first-up looks an ideal assignment for the four-year-old, who will be running on strongly at the finish of a race that looks to have plenty of speed engaged.
Godspeed looks one of the better bets on the entire card, as he should have beaten Compassion Star at Sha Tin when the difference was a clever ride on the winner from Zac Purton that saw Godspeed posted wide the whole way. Although he attacks 1,650m for the first time, he has a light weight, a good draw and he has always looked likely to run at least that trip.
He will need all his talent to get points out of Garlic Yeah in the opening leg but his final ride, the enigmatic Litterateur, is certainly capable of producing points if Tosaki has had his Wheaties and is strong enough to control the gelding.
Ryan Moore, already a two-time IJC winner, does look a serious danger with chances in all four legs but his fate will probably rely to some extent on Forever Posh turning up in the opening leg. If he can land the prize there, Moore’s other mounts – Dr Race, Speedy Wally and Flying Quest – all have points in them without necessarily looking the winner and his consistency is the real danger to Tosaki.