« 集中連載:「調教のすべて」第1回 | Main | 豪腕 »

勝負の世界には運も必要

いよいよクラシックシーズンの足音が聞こえて来る時期になりました。そういえば、ちょうど10年前のきさらぎ賞を制したのが、私の大好きなスペシャルウィークです。当時、実はまだ1勝馬の身だったのですが、回避馬が続出したことにより、幸運にもきさらぎ賞に出走するチャンスが回ってきましたのです。しかし、そこに至るまでの道のりは決して幸運なものではありませんでした。

Specialweek_2新馬戦を快勝したスペシャルウィークは、2戦目として500万下のレースを狙っていました。ところが、1997年暮れから1998年初めにかけては、異常ともいえるほどの除外ラッシュでした。これは小倉競馬場の改修工事によって、例年よりも開催が少なかったことが大きな理由だったのですが、どの馬も抽選に通らなければ出走が叶わないという状況でした。

そこで、ほとんどの陣営はどうしたかというと、一度除外されれば次の抽選では有利になるシステムを利用して、とりあえず登録だけするという作戦を採りました。当然、スペシャルウィーク陣営も、とりあえずという形で500万下の白梅賞に登録したのです。除外される確率の方が圧倒的に高いのですから、まずは除外されてから、次はどこを狙うか考えようということですね。

ところが、なんと抽選に通ってしまったのです。白梅賞に出走できるようになったものの、除外を前提に考えていた陣営は、スペシャルウィークの体をキッチリとは作っていませんでした。どう贔屓目に見ても、あと1本追い切りが足りないというのが本音でした。その証拠に、白梅賞の馬体重は8kgも増えていて、さすがのスペシャルウィークの能力を持ってしても2着が精一杯でした。

完全に予定が狂ってしまった陣営は、クラシックに間になんとか合わせるために、少しでも賞金を加算しようとしました。次走は手堅く自己条件のつばき賞を選んだのです。ところが、皮肉なことに、今度は抽選に落ちてしまい、つばき賞に出走することが出来なくなってしまったのです。そんな時、管理していた白井調教師は、もしかしたらスペシャルウィークは運に見放された馬なのかもしれないと思ってしまったそうです。というのも、スペシャルウィークは産まれてすぐに母親を失くし、乳母に育てられたという過去があったからでした。

しかし、スペシャルウィークは幸運な馬でした。つばき賞を除外された結果、きさらぎ賞に出走することができ、そのきさらぎ賞で堂々の勝利を収めたのです。競馬の世界にタラレバはありませんが、もし白梅賞に勝っていたら…、もしつばき賞を除外されていなかったら…、スペシャルウィークはダービーを勝つことが出来たのでしょうか。答えは誰にも分かりませんが、勝負の世界には運も必要だということは確かですよね。

スペシャルウィークに調教で初めて跨った武豊騎手と白井調教師の間に、こんなやり取りがあったそうです。面白いエピソードなので紹介しておきます。

白井調教師(ニヤリと笑みを浮かべて)
「どうや、豊君。あの馬、ダンスパートナーに似て…」
武豊騎手(少し興奮気味に)
「先生、あの馬、ダンスインザダークにそっくりですよ!」
白井調教師(意表を突かれた感じで)
「えっ、いや、ダンスパートナーに似てへんか?」
武豊騎手(極めて冷静に)
「全姉弟ですからね。でも男馬ですから、ダンスインザダークに似ていますよ。」

スペシャルウィークという1頭の新馬を賞するにあたって、白井調教師がダンスパートナーの名を口に出し、武豊騎手がダンスインザダークの名を挙げ、どちらも譲らなかったところが面白いですよね。その2頭は全姉弟なので、どちらのイメージも正しかったのだと思います。ただ、白井調教師にしてみれば、かつて自分の厩舎にいたサンデーサイレンス産駒の大物ダンスパートナーの後継者と考え、武豊騎手にしてみれば、昨年惜しくも取り逃がしてしまったダービーで乗ったダンスインザダークのリベンジを夢見たのでしょう。

さて、今年のきさらぎ賞は、私たちにも期待を抱かせてくれるスペシャルウィークのような馬が誕生するのでしょうか。2歳時に無理をしなかった素質馬が続々と出走してきますので、楽しみは大きく膨らみます。

1番人気は武豊騎手が手綱を取るブラックシェルでしょう。前走の福寿草特別で、ファリダットとキングスエンブレムを並ぶまもなく抜き去った末脚には驚かされました。ホープフルSは中山のコース形態もあって早めに動かざるを得ませんでしたが、ギリギリまで我慢すればかなり切れるということを証明しました。松田国調教師も「キングカメハメハに似たタイプ」と言っているように、広々としたコースで力を発揮する馬なのでしょうし、これからまだまだ変わってくる可能性を秘めています。あえて凡走する理由を探すとすれば、大型馬だけに、この時期は絞るのが難しいということでしょうか。坂路コースでの追い切りも少し鈍く見せましたので、まだこの時点ではキッチリ仕上げてこないだろうという意味も含め、太目残りで負けてしまうことも考えておいた方がいいですね。

本命は武豊騎手がスペシャルウィークのたとえとして挙げた、ダンスインザダークの仔◎アルカザンに打ちます。2戦2勝と底を見せていない魅力はもちろんですが、何と言っても、京都2歳Sを勝ちながら無理をせずに休ませた陣営の余裕を評価したいですね。馬体が緩く、未完成なところが目に付いたのですが、前走後に放牧に出したことによって、ひと回り成長したように映ります。追ってから渋太く伸びる馬ですので、京都1800mの持続力を要求されるコースも合っていると思います。外枠も味方につけて、良い脚を長く使いながら、最後は差し切るシーンも期待してもいいのではないでしょうか。最終追い切りの動きは100%という感じは受けませんでしたが、ここを勝つようなら将来はかなり有望だと思います。

1勝馬でも面白いのはマッキーバッハでしょうか。新馬戦はまだまだ余裕を感じさせる勝ち方でした。追ってまだまだ伸びそうという印象を受けましたし、わずか1戦のキャリアで出走してくる石坂厩舎の心意気も買いたいと思います。昨年はオーシャンエイプスを出走させ、圧倒的な1番人気に祭り上げられたものの凡走してしまいましたが、今年は逆にリラックスムードで出走できるはずです。展開次第では勝ち負けにまでなるかもしれません。

ダイシンプランは岩田騎手の期待の馬です。新馬戦は最後方から差し切って、身体能力の違いを見せつけるような走りでした。極端な競馬をした反動が出た前走ですが、ほとんど走っていませんので、あれがこの馬の実力ではないでしょう。本気で走れば重賞クラスだと思います。ただ、現状としては若さが目立ちますので、レースに行って走ってみないと好走凡走が分からない部分があります。どれぐらいの人気になるのか分かりませんが、狙いづらい馬ではあります。


関連エントリ
血統フェスティバル:きさらぎ賞2008予想
馬流天星の若駒戦予想情報:きさらぎ賞

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Comments

懐かしいですね、幸四郎のアサヒクリークにハナ負けしたんですよね。

東京の芝では無敵でしたね、JCも豊だったら違っていたと思います、あれだけいい馬なのにスペシャルもエルコンもグラスも殿堂入りしてないんですよね。

天皇賞2つとJCに勝って、年度代表馬に選ばれませんでしたからね、アンブライドルドを思い出します。

ブラックシェルは重すぎましたね、ますます混戦の牡馬クラシック戦線ですね。

Posted by: 和人 | February 17, 2008 04:59 PM

和人さん

こんばんは。

和人さんは、かなり昔の競馬にも詳しいですね。

アサヒクリークなんて、全く記憶にありませんでした(笑)。

3歳時のJCはダービーの疲れが抜け切っていなかったように私には映りました。

あそこでひと息入れてからは無敵でしたね。

おっしゃる通り、殿堂入りと年度代表馬に関しては?が多いです。

特に年度代表馬の話は二転三転したと聞いています。

ブラックシェルは重かったです。

この時期の坂路調教馬にはよくあることですが。

来週は本当に楽しみな一戦が待っていますね。

お互いに楽しみましょう!

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