11/15/2012 12:03PM

Strong Return class of field in Japanese Mile Championship at Kyoto

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Strong Return can win his second Grade 1 race of the year in Japan on Sunday when he starts as a leading contender in the $2.6 million Japanese Mile Championship at Kyoto Racecourse.

A 6-year-old by Symboli Kris S, Strong Return won the Grade 1 Yasuda Kinen at Tokyo Racecourse on June 3, but was only seventh in his comeback race there on Oct. 7, in the Grade 2 Mainichi Okan.

In Sunday’s Mile Championship, Strong Return faces a group of older horses that is not especially deep. His main rival will be Grand Prix Boss, a 4-year-old colt who won the Group 2 Swan Stakes over about a mile on Oct. 27 at Tokyo.

The probable field includes defending champion Eishin Apollon, an American-bred by Giant’s Causeway who has finished 12th or worse in four subsequent starts.

There are several notable 3-year-olds expected to run, including the filly I’m Yours, who was third in the Japanese 1000 Guineas and fourth in the Japanese Oaks, and Clarente and Final Form, the first two finishers of the Grade 3 Fuji Stakes at Tokyo on Oct. 20.

The Japanese Mile Championship is the final Grade 1 race on the Japan Racing Association circuit before the Japan Cup on Nov. 25.