02/19/2010 12:00AM

Espoir City, Success Brocken meeting again at Tokyo


Espoir City and Success Brocken renew their growing rivalry at Tokyo on Sunday, when they will jockey for Dubai World Cup positions in the February Stakes, a Grade 1 dirt mile worth $2 million.

A Gold Allure 5-year-old trained by Akio Adachi, Espoir City got the upper hand the last time these two met, taking the 1 1/8-mile Japan Cup Dirt on Dec. 6 when Success Brocken was six lengths behind in fourth. Espoir City also took the measure of Success Brocken when he beat him by four lengths into second in the Mile Championship on dirt at Morioka in October.

Success Brocken, a 5-year-old son of Symboli Kris S trained by Hideaki Fujiwara, is, however, the defending February Stakes title-holder. He took a sterling renewal last year, defeating Peter Pan winner Casino Drive and two-time Japan Cup Dirt winner Kane Hekili with Espoir City back in fourth, just 1 1/2 lengths behind.

Espoir City has been 4 for 4 since that loss, however. The 2009 Japanese dirt champion, he knows only one way of running - on the front end - and will surely be busted out of gate 4 by Tetsuzo Sato in the 16-runner field. Success Brocken, who usually tracks the pace in second or third and who will break from post 6 under Hiroyuki Uchida, was a winner in his most recent start, the 1 1/4-mile Tokyo Daishoten at Ohi Racecourse near Tokyo on Dec. 29.

Reigning Japanese sprint champ Laurel Guerreiro is just 1 for 11 going a mile and is making his first start on dirt, as is Super Hornet, winner of the Grade 2 Yomiuri Milers Cup. Glorious Noah could make his presence felt off an Oct. 31 victory on the Tokyo dirt in the seven-furlong, Grade 3 Negishi Stakes. The lightly raced Red Spada, as yet untested on dirt, is a four-time winner going a mile on turf and is by the Devil's Bag stallion Taiki Shuttle, the Prix Jacques le Marois winner who was a perfect 3 for 3 on dirt.