Orfevre pair fancied in Hanshin Juvenile Fillies

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December 8th, 2017

Two fillies from the first crop of 2011 Japanese Triple Crown winner Orfevre are among those vying for favoritism in the Dec. 10 Hanshin Juvenile Fillies, the only grade one race for 2-year-old fillies in Japan.

Orfevre (Stay Gold), who was unfortunate not to win the 2012 Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe (G1), is second on the first-season sire list behind champion sprinter Lord Kanaloa, but he could cut into some of that lead should Rock This Town and Lucky Lilac run well.

Both fillies are both unbeaten after two starts, with each having a grade three race to their name heading into Sunday’s one-mile contest at Hanshin.

Rock This Town came from well back to win the Sapporo Nisai (G3) on her second start. Both her runs have been at 1 1/8 miles, so how she adjusts to the drop in distance is key. She’s also drawn the outside barrier in the 18-horse field.

Lucky Lilac put in a solid effort to win the one-mile Artemis Stakes (G3) Oct. 28, beating Sunday’s race rivals Sayakachan, Lathyros, and Tosen Bless. She races handy and starts from a midfield barrier of 11.

Three other unbeaten fillies worth a look for punters are Mau Lea (Deep Impact), Lily Noble (Rulership), and Social Club (King Kamehameha).

Mau Lea, a full sister to 2013 Oka Sho (G1, Japanese 1,000 Guineas) winner Ayusan, has won her two starts, both of which were over one mile. She has good finishing speed and should benefit from barrier four.

Lily Noble has been dominant in her two starts, both over one mile. She won her maiden by 3 ½ lengths at Tokyo before winning an allowance at Kyoto by a length. Jockey Yuga Kawada thinks she has a great career ahead of her.

Social Club has run just the once, storming home from near the rear to win her debut at Kyoto Oct. 9 by a neck. She should continue to improve and has been well fancied in early Japanese markets.

The other runners have all suffered defeats but should still be looked at closely, and the most interesting is probably Cordierite (Daiwa Major). She’s won just one of her four starts, but at her last two runs she finished second to the colt Frontier in the one-mile Niigata Nisai Stakes (G3) Aug. 27 and then second to the filly Beluga – who won’t be in the Hanshin Juvenile Fillies – in the seven-furlong Fantasy Stakes (G3) at Kyoto Nov. 3. Though she has a tough draw of 17, she’s likely to be up with the pace early.

With a lot of unexposed form to date it’s not easy lining the fillies up. Rock This Town has an abundance of talent, but the professionalism of Lucky Lilac may be telling at the finish. The others are all worth a look, with Mau Lea, Lily Noble, Sayakachan, and Cordierite all good hopes.