Eyeing the third jewel in her classic crown and the chance to become the first Fillies' Triple Crown champion whilst remaining unbeaten is Daring Tact, a daughter of 2014 G1 Japan Cup (2400m) winner Epiphaneia.
Daring Tact topped the field in the first leg, the G1 Oka Sho (1600m) at Hanshin by a length and a half and then took the G1 Yushun Himba (Japanese Oaks) (2400m) at Tokyo by a half-length. Now, returning nearly a full five months later without a prep, she is looking sharp and powerful in her work.
Daring Tact breezed up the hill course at Ritto under jockey Kohei Matsuyama on Wednesday (14 October). Her movement and time of 54.7s over 800m elicited unanimous approval all around.
"She was relaxed - it was an excellent bit of work. Her preparation has all gone well and she's ready," said Matsuyama.
Four from four, Daring Tact prefers to finish strongly from off the pace and her three wins prior to the Oaks were all over the mile, all right-handed, and included two wins at Kyoto.
Among her competition, however, are the four fillies that followed her over the line in the Oaks but the change from a left-handed venue combined with a 400m drop in distance, may give some among them an edge they didn't have over the long Tokyo stretch.
Figured to be one of Daring Tact's biggest rivals is Ria Amelia, who missed the break in the Oaks but gained ground to finish fourth just one and a half lengths behind Daring Tact.
On Wednesday, Daring Tact, who will surely be the race favourite in Japan, still figured largest in headlines predicting she will take home the 100 million yen (approx. HK$7.36 million) winner's prize, but nearly as many forecasted that it would be Ria Amelia in the winner's circle this Sunday.
Last month, Yuga Kawada piloted the Deep Impact filly to a two-length win in the G2 Rose States (2000m) at Chukyo (where races are run left-handed). This Wednesday, Kawada rode her in work "to check her responses," and 1000m on the woodchip flat in a time of 1m 09.2s with a 12.2s wrap indicated they were just fine.
This will be the Ritto-based Ria Amelia's first time at Kyoto. "Her strength is her ability to run at good speed over long distances and whether that's to the right or left doesn't matter," said trainer Mitsumasa Nakauchida.
"The Kyoto 2000 metres, however, is tricky. Getting around that well is one thing, so what I do hope is that she has a fast track," Nakauchiada said. Luckily, the weather report is on her side, with no sign of rain through Sunday for Kyoto.
Among other popular picks, Oaks runner-up Win Marilyn showed improvement this week, which put her on the podium alongside Daring Tact and Ria Amelia as the three dominant picks in the market.
Maltese Diosa and Miyamazakura also received top marks for their final workouts, as did Cravache d'Or, Pallas Athena and Soft Fruit.