Three meetings in Japan on Thursday with racing from Himeji, Kawasaki and Nagoya. We've done the form and identified our best bets for the day.
Himeji Race 8- #7 Lalique
Keen on this son of the great Orfevre who is racing in great form since coming from the JRA, his record reading 4-3-1-2, and his last start was actually the best rating he's run, tagging the leader and just missing late over 1800m. Stepping up to 2000m looks ideal and I think he just needs to hold his level of form to be beating these. In his four starts away from the JRA he's never started shorter than $3.10 and while I think he'll be a bit shorter here, we should get an opportunity to back him in a very suitable race. #6 Thumbs Up presents as the main danger having run well first up but will need to improve a length or two to beat Lalique.
Kawasaki Race 1- #1 Nijito Tarte
Interesting race with Nijito Tarte resuming from a 75 day spell, having only had one run last time in off a similar spell. Her rating there was only a length or so off her best form so I think she's capable of running near her best when fresh and her best figures will take plenty of beating in this. She has good early speed and will likely look to either lead or sit just behind and from there she should go close.
Kawasaki Race 11- #11 Black Panther
Handy race and I think Black Panther can win, possessing the best peaks of anything in this field. He was below his best last start, getting a long way back in the field and just having too much to do late but his form prior was excellent, winning two in a row before running third two starts back. The query is he does draw wide again here which was a leading factor in him settling so far back last start, but the field is smaller and he has the pace to settle midfield. #7 Key Period is the obvious danger and likely horse to beat given he's won 2/3 this time in and was a strong winner at even money last start, but if Black Panther can find his best he'll be highly competitive.
Nagoya Race 9- #3 Mikki King
Very tricky card at Nagoya but Mikki King looks hard to beat in the ninth. He was solid last start when running second, albeit beaten 6 lengths. That won't be good enough to win but his best figures, which he's run to in two of his past four starts, will be good enough to win. She's got good early speed so the barrier draw looks ideal for her to find the front, and as is custom in Nagoya, the Tsunoda stable is in great form, striking at over 23% from their past 50. #10 Partage is the main danger bringing consistent form and a good win two back.