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アドマイヤムーンは王道を歩めるか

Rudolf

負けられない戦いがここにある、おっぱっぴーである。

最近テレビのスポーツ中継を観戦していて一番鼻につくのがこの言葉なんですな。ついこの前まで、試合を楽しんでくださいと選手にお願いしてたのにね。そして背水の陣をしいた割にはコロコロ負ける、ざんねえーえんである。どんな素敵な言葉でもマスメディアにのったとたん消費され尽くされてしまう、おっぱっぴー。

天皇賞(秋)といえばシンボリルドルフを思い出します。負けたことのない奇跡的に強い馬は確かに何頭かいますが、彼は、ただ一頭の負けられない馬じゃなかったかなと思っているんです。

天皇賞(秋)が2000Mに短縮されて2回目にシンボリは登場します。この年の春、天皇賞をマイナス馬体で圧勝したシンボリは体調を崩して宝塚記念をパスしています。半年振りの天皇賞、今なら治郎丸理論の餌食となるところであったが、幸いにしてこの時、治郎丸氏はこの世に生を受けていませんでしたね。(未確認)

シンボリほど大外枠を引き当てた馬も他にいないだろう。当時は単枠指定といって、競馬会が人気を予想して人気馬を予めシードしていました。シードされた馬は8分の1で大外を引く不運にさらされます。この時も案の定といおうか、またもといおうかシンボリは大外を引き当てた。単勝1.4倍。

ご存知のように以前の東京2000Mの大外はスタートしてすぐにカーブの待ち受ける、人気馬の鬼門でした。鞍上の名手は絶妙なスタートをきり鬼門を通過する。シンボリが種牡馬として大成しなかったのは気位の高さと気性の激しさを仔に伝えたせいだと聞きます。それまでのレースでは素直に名手の指示に従ってきたルドルフでしたが、鬼門を通過し終えるころから名手の手をはなれ、2、3番人気の馬たちとやり合おうとする。ニシノライデンやウィンザーノット、それからスズマッハもいたか。

この頃の競馬界は一種異様なパニックに陥っていたのではないかと思います。それはジャパンカップで海外にレースを開放したからなんです。なんとか己の身を守りたいのだがその方法がわからない。自信もない。こういうとき己のプライドだけは肥え太り、虚勢をはる。第1回JCでは日の丸特攻隊と称して短距離馬のサクラシンゲキが無謀な大逃げをうったが他の日本馬とともに完敗。肥満気味のプライドはすぐに傷つきます。

その3年後、今まで見たこともないような立派な馬体の三冠馬が登場して、シンボリならばとヒステリックにJC制覇を期待しました。ああもちろんおやじもその一人でした。カツラギエースが快挙を成し遂げてはいたのですが。

かくしてシンボリは負けられない馬とあい奉られた。JCを制覇するまでは日本馬には負けられないのです。テンポイントに寄せられる期待とは明らかに異なる期待がシンボリに寄せられていました。

4角過ぎ、名手の手をはなれたシンボリは早々と人気薄の逃げ馬に襲い掛かる。今はない大阪球場横の場外におやじはいたのだが、日本一うるさい場所だと思っていたその場外は鎮まりかえっている。おやじだって東京の直線の長いことは心得ていました。

それでもシンボリの怒りは収まらない。もう何秒も独走を続けている、これはまるで必ず破綻の訪れる悪夢じゃないか。沈黙が喚声に変わる、ゴールが目の前に迫りひょっとするとこれで悪夢から開放されるのだと思えた刹那、ギャロップの鋭い影が馬群の最後方から伸びてきて、破綻の待ち構える悪夢は永遠に続くこととなりました。多くの人の、決して良くはない夢の中でシンボリは今も東京の直線を独走しているのではないでしょうか、ゴール前で湧き上がった悲鳴に包まれながら。

JCで凱旋門賞馬、モンジュを心から応援する方のいらっしゃる今から思えば、滑稽な話に思えるかもしれませんが、JC黎明期の雰囲気ってこんな感じだったかなあと思い出しています。まさにニッポン、ニッポンの雰囲気のなかをシンボリは走っていたような気がします。負けられない馬を必要とする時代は危い時代です。もしシンボリがいなければどうなっていたか、途方もない無秩序が続いていたにちがいありません。しかし負けられない馬はシンボリルドルフ1頭でもうたくさんなのです。

第135回天皇賞、ここには負けられない戦いはありません。なんと幸福なレースでしょうか。我々は人馬の全力を尽くす様を想像し、勝ち馬のことを考え、そしてレースを堪能すればよいのです。

テーマは「アドマイヤムーンは王道を歩めるか」につきるでしょう、と決め込みました。
武騎手がムーンに乗るならば微塵も逡巡せずに先行馬群を(競輪用語でいう)大名マークしてゴール前で突き放す競馬をするはずです。

挑戦者は怪力サムソン、前走宝塚ではムーン以上の強いレースをしていますね。なんて言ったら釈迦に説法ですな。真紅のスピード、Dメジャーの毎日王冠はどうみまた。おやじは途轍もなく強いレースをしたもんだという印象をもっています。問題は体調を崩した休養明けの激走が今回どう影響するかですね。最近のおやじは治郎丸さんの教えをよく守る優等生だ。

おやじはカンパニーにも注目しています。大外一気の前走は近年のレースのなかでもインパクトの強いレースだったのではないでしょうか。休養明けの一戦でしたがその後また2ヶ月間隔をあけられて反動はないのではないかと思います。

最後は4番サード、チョウサン。待ってました。7代前がラフショッドとは驚きですね。そこからソング、スペシャル、フェアリーブリッジと続くこの血統の本流にチョウサンはいないのですが、フロックだと高をくくっているとまた痛い目に遭う。G1馬は3頭、しかしG1レベルの馬は5頭いるとおやじは見ています。あら?他にもいますか。

間違いなく天皇賞の名に相応しいすばらしいレースが繰り広げられるはずです。

現在のランキング順位はこちら

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