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Dubai World Cup

World Cup: Japan’s Kane Hekili in focus
by Franco Raimondi / Globeform
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Five Americans and a new star running for Godolphin. That sounds like a mouthwatering edition of the Dubai World Cup (G1) - but the big race has even more to offer.

Japan’s top dirt performer Kane Hekili joins the mix – and whoever decides to toss him out of their exotics may be quite mistaken. Named after ‘The Thunder God’ in Polynesian mythology, this is a serious racehorse.

Last year’s winner of the Japan Cup Dirt (G1) may not, as yet, be confirmed among the best in the world – but no horse can do more than win and that is exactly what he has become accustomed to at home. It’s not his fault that he has not met top class horses. At Nad Al Sheba, Kane Hekili gets that chance – and this is his opportunity to demonstrate just how loudly he can roar.

KANE HEKILI (Fuji Kiseki) GF 120+

119+ (19Sep) 117+ (29Oct05) 116+ (26Nov05) 120+ (19Feb)

Kane Hekili was a narrow, but oh so game, winner of the 2005 Japan Cup Dirt (G1) at Tokyo Racecourse – where he beat Seeking The Dia by a nose, with Star King Man a neck away in third and Time Paradox beaten 1 ½ lengths in fourth. Time Paradox had won the race in 2004, Seeking The Dia was a G2 winner who had also run second in the February Stakes (G1), and Star King Man had finished fourth (behind Fleetstreet Dancer) in the 2003 Japan Cup Dirt (G1). Kane Hekili’s win over these rivals was solid, rather than brilliant, form.

Breaking from post 10 in a 16-runner field, Kane Hekiki was ridden from off the pace in the 11-furlong JC Dirt and came with a determined run to reach the lead a furlong out. He battled on well to pip the 51-1 shot Seeking The Dia. Kane Hekili was the 11-10 favourite.

He performed to GF 116+ in the Japan Cup Dirt. His best mark placed Kane Hekili high on our Top 100 three-year-old ranking in 2005, alongside names like Footstepsinthesand, Closing Argument and fellow World Cup contender Magna Graduate. Only 25 three-year-olds earned a higher Globeform rating last year.

He improved again when dropping back to a mile in the February Stakes (G1) at the same course last month. This time, Kane Hekili broke from post 14 and once more the betting public showed aboslute faith in the colt. He did not disappoint, as he swept home for an easy 3-length win over Seeking The Dia. The Japan Cup Dirt exacta had been copied, which confirmed the form nicely. Utopia, who had run some good races in the slipstream of top dirt performers previously, was a head behind Seeking The Dia in third.

Kane Hekili returned Globeform 120+ in the February Stakes. As he had shown his best form over 10 and 11 furlongs as a 3-year-old, this form over a mile may tell us that he is improving still. It is quite possible that he will be able to produce even better form in a strongly-run race over 10 furlongs.

Prior to his JC Dirt win, Kane Hekili had raced only against his own age group, and proved himself as the top of the class.

The son of Fuji Kiseki (by Sunday Silence) was every bit as good as the best older dirt performers in Japan last summmer. After outclassing Sunrise Bacchus in the Derby Grand Prix (G1) over 1 ¼ miles in September (his fourth straight win), he was beaten by a combination of factors when the pair met again in the Hai Mushishino Stakes (G3) in October. Dropping down to a mile was against Kane Hekili, who was set to give his rival 7lbs. He slipped and lost ground at a vital stage of the race, and did really well to receover enough ground to goi down by 1 ¾ lengths. He had previously landed the Japan Dirt Derby (G1), when beating Maple Eight by 5 lengths.

An unexposed 4-year-old, coming off an easy win in a Group One. Kane Hekili must be respected in the Dubai World Cup (G1). His nose-win in the Japan Cup Dirt, followed by a 3-length win in the February Stakes, gives him a very interesting form profile going into the big race. That of a young horse who prevailed when he needed to become a bit more ‘battle hardened’ and then came back to win by daylight in his next big race. That kind of progress often leads to a very big run.

Last update: 2006-03-19 06:16:48 (First published: 2006-03-15 05:09:22 )

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