Japanese trainer Yasutoshi Ikee seeks long-lasting Impact with Sydney fling

Imposing record: Japanese trainer Yasutoshi Ikee will have Tosen Stardom (inside) and World Ace (middle) racing at Rosehill on Saturday. Photo: Dallas Kilponen Imposing record: Japanese trainer Yasutoshi Ikee will have Tosen Stardom (inside) and World Ace (middle) racing at Rosehill on Saturday. Photo: Dallas Kilponen
Wuxi Plastic Surgery

Imposing record: Japanese trainer Yasutoshi Ikee will have Tosen Stardom (inside) and World Ace (middle) racing at Rosehill on Saturday. Photo: Dallas Kilponen

Imposing record: Japanese trainer Yasutoshi Ikee will have Tosen Stardom (inside) and World Ace (middle) racing at Rosehill on Saturday. Photo: Dallas Kilponen

Punters will scramble for form guides, trackwork notes, videos .. anything to help them get a handle on just how good these Japanese actually might be.

But if the patriots reluctantly concede the quartet have some pretty handy credentials, then they better look away when delving into the history of trainer Yasutoshi Ikee.

Seven horses have completed the famed Japanese triple crown. Ikee, barely training for a decade and the freshest of fresh-faced 46-year-olds, is one. That was thanks to the deeds of champion stallion Orfevre. Ikee’s dad and mentor, Yasuo, is another triple crown winner.

“My dad used to be an ex-jockey and a champion trainer so I followed him into racing,” Ikee said from the other side of the divide at the Canterbury quarantine centre during the week. “There are only seven horses who have managed to complete the triple crown and both my father and I have done it.”

Yasuo’s triple crown hero was Deep Impact, whose soaring stallion career is fitting of a two-time Japanese Horse Of The Year and Arc de Triomphe runner-up.

And it is the desire to have his legacy spread to all corners of the racing globe which is behind Ikee’s three-strong presence in Australia for The Championships, two of which – World Ace (George Ryder) and Tosen Stardom (Ranvet Stakes) – will have pipe openers on Golden Slipper day at Rosehill.

“We want to spread the sire Deep Impact all over the world and it’s very important to win a group 1 in Australia,” Ikee said, attempting to emulate the likes of Hana’s Goal (All Aged Stakes) and Admire Rakti (Caulfield Cup) last year.

“That’s why we have brought them here.”

If the language barrier, expertly navigated by translator and Sydney-based jockey Yusuke Ichikawa, can sometimes pose a slight problem in trying to understand how good this travelling Japanese roadshow might be, it is not a problem when you speak to their Australian pilots.

Nick Hall has logged frequent flyer points almost as quickly as his charges dashed up the final three at Canterbury during the week, trying to glean as much as possible about the idiosyncrasies of each.

He’s figured World Ace, set to feature in a mouth-watering George Ryder alongside Noriyuki Hori’s Real Impact, has a tendency to flop out of the barriers. Hence Hall’s dash up on Thursday for a bit of 11th-hour barrier practice.

Waiting in the wings for Hall is To The World, whispered as the flashest of the Japanese four and set to make his Australian debut in The BMW next Saturday.

What does it mean for the Australasian and European-bred topliners over the next month?

“They should just blow them away,” Hall joked. “And you can see in the spring they can’t send their best ones because of their own spring, but now they’ve sent their good ones we’re in trouble.”

Yet bookmakers still can’t quite get a grip on where they actually fit in. World Ace ($7.50) and Real Impact ($11) are not even in the top three in George Ryder betting en route to the Doncaster Mile.

Sydney’s famously fickle autumn weather has been put on hold for a week, good news for Ikee and the supporters of World Ace, which last ran behind the world’s best miler Able Friend in the Hong Kong Mile.

“He’s about 80 per cent fit going into the race this week,” Ikee said. “The ability is there to win the race on Saturday anyway, but hopefully the weather is fine because he doesn’t like a soft track. He likes to be on a firm track and he should be competitive in the race.

“He’s been brought here to win the Doncaster and he should be very, very competitive and if the track is like the one at Canterbury he will be very competitive.”

Tosen Stardom will make Ikee’s first foray into Sydney racing a two-pronged one at Rosehill on Saturday.

The now four-year-old entire has finished well down the track in some of Japan’s biggest races in the Derby and St Leger, but an impressive win in the group 3 Challenge Cup at his last start is enough to have his camp buoyed.

“They’re a different sort of horse to the Australians and we’ve seen them perform well [in the past],” Tosen Stardom’s jockey Tommy Berry said. “But the group we’ve got here will be the best.

“He’s an exceptional horse. I hope he goes as well as I think he will because he’s pretty good and he will give them a pretty good shake on Saturday.”

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Wuxi Plastic Surgery Hospital.