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Shogo Yasuda takes his father’s footsteps in a bid for first overseas triumph

April 19, 2024 at 4:46:45 AM

Eight Japanese horses will run in the three Group 1 races on FWD Champions Day at Sha Tin on 28 April.

Eight Japanese horses will run in the three Group 1 races on FWD Champions Day at Sha Tin on 28 April.

Sunrise Ronaldo is one of the HK$22 million G1 Chairman’s Sprint Prize (1200m) participants from Japan, and his trainer Shogo Yasuda is a son of a former trainer Takayuki Yasuda, who handled the legendary Lord Kanaloa, a two-time winner of the G1 LONGINES Hong Kong Sprint (1200m) in 2012 and 2013.

Takayuki Yasuda retired from training two months ago.

Shogo used to work for his father as an assistant trainer before opening his training yard in 2018. He travelled to Hong Kong with Lord Kanaloa and another of the stable’s sprint heroines, Curren Chan.

Shogo picked up his first Group 1 triumph as a trainer with Omega Perfume in the G1 Tokyo Daishoten (2000m, dirt) at Oi Racecourse in his rookie year, and since then, he has won the seven Group races on the JRA circuit.

In 2024, Shogo has six wins from 72 races (as of 18 April), including the G3 Keisei Hai (2000m) at Nakayama in January with his prospective three-year-old colt by Epiphaneia, Danon Decile.

Shogo’s Sunrise Ronaldo has been selected to run the Chairman’s Sprint Prize to scoop a first major international success for the trainer.

“It is my first time travelling to Hong Kong since 2013 when winning the Hong Kong Sprint with Lord Kanaloa. I am glad to come back to Hong Kong with my horse again,” Shogo Yasuda said.

Lord Kanaloa was a superstar sprinter for Japan.
Lord Kanaloa was a superstar sprinter for Japan.
Sunrise Ronaldo is a five-year-old horse by Harbinger, who was bred by Northern Farm and purchased out of the 2020 JRHA Select Sale Yearling Session for JPY 57.2 million (approx. HK$2.89 million) by Life House Co. Ltd. The horse was trained by Shogo’s father Takayuki and raced over dirt in his first seven starts since his debut in 2021.

Since switching to the turf in early 2023, he has shown consistency, finishing on the board nine times from 10 starts on the surface, and has also shown versatility distance-wise, boasting two wins over 2000m last term before winning in the three-win class over 1400m in January as his seasonal bow.

In his first time running over 1200m, in the G3 Silk Road Stakes, he showed staying power in the stretch and finished well to grab fourth.

“Sunrise Ronaldo moved to my yard after my father’s retirement, and the Chairman’s Sprint Prize was one of my options for him in the spring campaign,” Yasuda said.

In the G3 Hankyu Hai (1400m), Sunrise Ronaldo unleashed his burst of speed in the stretch over the rain affected track and came home in third place.

“He could handle the soft ground on the flat course at Hanshin, which is very similar to the track conditions at Sha Tin with some wet weather at this time of a year. So, I think he will suit the ground (if it rains),” Yasuda said.

“Also, due to his temperament issue, which sees him easily overexcited, he has never had fast gallops before he ran in races. However, as he is maturing mentally, we can do what we want with him in terms of the speed and the amount of work.

“My older brother Keiichiro is now working for my stable as an assistant trainer and trains Sunrise Ronaldo daily. He is also happy with the condition of the horse.”

“I remembered The Hong Kong Jockey Club gave us fantastic support while we stayed in Hong Kong last time. I hope he can keep good form and run his race in Hong Kong. After Champions Day he will run over further, like 1600m again. He has lots of potential,” Yasuda said.

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