The Mile Championship (G1) at Kyoto Racecourse features last year’s winner Serifos, and 16-horse field, and the world’s top-ranked jockey Ryan Moore making the trip to ride Namur, the only filly in the race.
The 19th edition of the Mile Championship on the turf includes five of the six top finishers from 2022.
Frenchman Christophe Lemaire, a two-time winner of this race, will be aboard Schnell Meister, considered one of the top contenders.
Schnell Meister is a 5-year-old son of Kingman who was fifth in last year’s race and second in 2021. He’s won a mile race, the Yomiuri Milers Cup (G2), over this same course in the spring.
Trainer Takahisa Tezuka said, “if he’s able to access his powerful turn of foot in the final stage, he (Schnell Meiste) definitely has a chance.”
Defending champ Serifos was the surprise winner last year. The 4-year-old son of Daiwa Major is a serious mile threat – he’s won five of nine starts at the distance. He ran fifth in the Dubai Turf (G1), followed by a distant runner-up finish to Songline in the Yasuda Kinen, but he did finish ahead of Schnell Meister by a head. Songline is not running on Sunday.
Elton Barows is one of two 3-year-olds in the field. He brings a four-race winning streak into the biggest test of his career.
It’s not been an easy go Namur recently. The 4-year-old filly is 1-for-4 in 2023, that coming in her last start, the Fuji Stakes (G2) on Oct. 21.
Previously, she was 16th in the Yasuda Kinen (G1) and seventh in the Victoria Mile, both Grade 1s. Moore rides the filly for the first time.
“I have the feeling that the older she gets, the better she gets,” trainer Tomokazu Takano said. “I don’t think there’s any reason to worry because it’s a Grade 1.”
The writing team at US Racing is comprised of both full-time and part-time contributors with expertise in various aspects of the Sport of Kings.