02/11/2011 12:58PM

To the Glory looks good in Kyoto Kinen

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The Grade 2, $1.4 million, Kyoto Kinen, to be run at Kyoto Racecourse on Sunday at 1 3/8 miles on turf, has become a keen pointer to Japanese hopes in Dubai in recent years. In 2007 Admire Moon won it before taking the Dubai Duty Free. Last year Buena Vista won it beforeher second-place finish in the Dubai Sheema Classic.

This year’s renewal does not include any Dubai hopefuls, but Danon Chantilly is using it as a long-term trial for Royal Ascot in June. A Fuji Kiseki 4-year-old, he won the Grade 1 NHK Mile Cup in May and is hoping to improve off a ninth-place finish in the 1 9/16-mile Arima Kinen on Dec. 26.

The preference, however, is for To the Glory. By King Kamehameha out of the Sunday Silence mare To The Victory – who was second to Captain Steve in the 2001 Dubai World Cup – he was just a neck third behind Victoire Pisa and Buena Vista in the Arima Kinen. Others with high hopes include Japanese St. Leger winner Big Week and Oken Bruce Lee, the 2008 Japanese St. Leger winner who was a nose second to Vodka in the 2009 Japan Cup, but was only 11th in the Arima Kinen.

Japan will have at least three runners on Dubai World Cup Night. Arima Kinen winner Victoire Pisa will go in the World Cup but will prep first in the 1 1/8-mile, Grade 2 Nakayama Kinen on turf on Feb. 27. Buena Vista, runner-up by a nose in the Arima Kinen and Japanese Horse of the Year, will also go in the World Cup but without benefit of a prep race. Arima Kinen sixth Rulership, the winner of Kyoto’s 1 1/2-mile, Grade 2 Nikkei Shinshun Hai on Jan. 16 when Japan Cup winner Rose Kingdom was third, will run in the Dubai Sheema Classic. And Japan Cup Dirt winner Transcend is under consideration for the Godolphin Mile pending his performance in next Sunday’s one-mile, Grade 1 February Stakes at Tokyo.-