Japanese horse racing duo Gentildonna and Just A Way ready to bid farewell

They have been on the go since Dubai in March, but Gentildonna and Just A Way will bring the curtain down on their respective careers at the Grade 1 Arima Kinen at Nakayama Racecourse, writes Geoffrey Riddle.
Racing horse Gentildonna, out of Japan, was one of the impressive winners at Meydan on World Cup night last year. REUTERS/Caren Firouz
Racing horse Gentildonna, out of Japan, was one of the impressive winners at Meydan on World Cup night last year. REUTERS/Caren Firouz

They have been on the go since Dubai in March, but Gentildonna and Just A Way will bring the curtain down on their respective careers on Sunday morning in the Grade 1 Arima Kinen at Nakayama Racecourse.

Gentildonna and Just A Way were both impressive winners at Meydan on World Cup night with respective wins in the Dubai Sheema Classic and Dubai Duty Free.

Since then, neither horse has reached the same level of form and their reputations have taken a knock for it.

The Arima Kinen is an invitation race, with 10 of the 16 berths voted by race fans.

As a sign of how far their respective stars have fallen, neither Just A Way, the world’s highest-rated thoroughbred, nor Gentildonna, the former darling of Japanese racing, topped the polls.

That accolade went to Gold Ship, who won the Takarazuka Kinen and Hanshin Daishoten this season.

Gentildonna is set to receive a grand retirement ceremony after the race, and all trainer Sei Ishizaka hopes is that the mare does herself justice.

“She’s been full of energy since the Japan Cup,” he said. “I see her and I see a racehorse who can’t wait to run again. This will be it for her, but all I want for her is to come home in one piece. It’s all I ask.”

Just A Way’s trainer had similar sentiments.

“After the Japan Cup he had, he’s ready to give it everything he’s got now,” Naosuke Sugai said. “This will be the last race for him, so I just want him to end his career with no regrets.”

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Published: December 27, 2014 04:00 AM

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