03/24/2017 2:57PM

Japan: Red Falx looks to rebound in Takamatsunomiya Kinen

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Hong Kong Jockey Club
Red Falx will make his 2017 debut Sunday in the Grade 1 Takamatsunomiya Kinen.

Red Falx was in peak form in Japan last year, winning three consecutive starts from June to October, highlighted by a victory in the Grade 1 Sprinters’ Stakes in the fall.

The successful run ended with a 12th-place finish in the Group 1 Hong Kong Sprint at Sha Tin Racecourse in December.

More than three months later, Red Falx will have his 2017 debut in Sunday’s Grade 1 Takamatsunomiya Kinen at six furlongs on turf at Chukyo Racecourse in Japan. The $1.733 million Takamatsunomiya Kinen drew a full field of 18.

Red Falx is the only Grade 1 winner from 2016 among the entrants, but Let’s Go Donki won the Grade 1 Japanese 1000 Guineas for 3-year-old fillies in 2015. She won the Kyoto Himba Stakes at seven furlongs on turf on Feb. 18 and is a leading threat to Red Falx.

Let’s Go Donki is one of six fillies and mares in the Takamatsonomiya Kinen, a group that includes the Grade 3 winner Melagrana, and Once in a Moon, who was second in the Kyoto Himba.

Red Falx, a 6-year-old by Swept Overboard, has won 8 of 19 starts in his career. He is unbeaten in three starts at Chukyo Racecourse, including a Grade 3 race last July.

There are two recent Grade 3 winners that can play a role in the outcome – Melagrana and Talking Drum.

Melagrana, a 5-year-old Australian-bred mare, won the Grade 3 Yukan Fuji Sho Ocean Stakes at six furlongs on turf at Nakayama Racecourse on March 4. She has won four of her last five starts.

Talking Drum won the Grade 3 Hankyu Hai at seven furlongs on turf at Hanshin on Feb. 26, his fifth win in his 21st start.