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◎ジェルミナル

Jiromaru

「まずは顔を見ます。走る馬はやっぱりいい顔をしているから。」と武豊騎手が言っていたように、サラブレッドを見るにあたって、顔はとても大切な部分だと私も思います。ディープインパクトを見極めた馬主の金子真人さんも、「馬の目を見て買うかどうか決める」とおっしゃっていました。顔(表情)や目には、そのサラブレッドの内面(性格や賢さ、そして内臓の良さ)が表れるということですね。

馬の顔は、人間のそれと同じで、1頭1頭違います。顔の大きさや長さ、目や耳の形や位置、鼻の大きさ、鼻筋の細さ・太さ、または真っ直ぐかどうか、などなど様々な要素によって馬の顔はそれぞれ個性的に違ってきます。もちろん、同じ馬でも状況によって表情に変化が生まれますよね。体調や調子が悪いときには、どうしても表情にもその疲れが表れたりします。人間と違って、作り笑いなどしない分、もしかすると馬の方が顔に出るのかもしれません。

私がサラブレッドの顔を見てドキッとしたのは、阪神ジュべナイルF(旧阪神3歳牝馬S)ヒシアマゾンという牝馬が初めです。特に正面から見た時の表情は、涼しい眼と柔らかな髪が印象的で、美しさの中に強さが同居して、妖艶と言おうか何と言おうか、えもいわれぬとはこのことだと思いました。

ヒシアマゾンと比べてしまうと、他のどの馬も凡庸に見えてしまうのですが、2002年の阪神ジュべナイルFを勝ったピースオブワールドも、強さと美しさを兼ね備えた顔をした牝馬でした。残念ながら、以降は目立った活躍が出来ないまま引退してしまいましたが、2歳時のたたずまいにはヒシアマゾン以来、久しぶりにドキッとさせられたことを覚えています。今年の阪神ジュべナイルFでは、ヒシアマゾン、ピースオブワールドに次ぐ、強くて美しいヒロインの新たな誕生が待ち望まれます。

Hansinjf02_3 ピースオブワールド

まだあどけなさを残しますが、瞳の澄んだ、凛とした顔つきの◎ジェルミナルは、そんな強くて美しいヒロインの継承者になれるかも知れません。手脚の長い馬体や大きなフットワークの走り方からは、大物感がヒシヒシと伝わってきます。新馬戦からずっと牡馬相手に走ってきているのですが、レースの中でもその雄大な走りはひと際目に付きますね。前走は辛勝でしたが、目イチに仕上げていない中、牡馬相手によくぞ勝ったと思います。成長を促しながら勝てた、ということに意味があります。

この馬の良さは、顔だけではなく、精神面の強さと賢さにあります。同厩のワイドサファイアも能力の高い素質馬ですが、ジェルミナルには高い能力にプラスして操作性の良さがあります。ワイドサファイアはレースに行くと気負って力んで走ってしまう面がありますが、ジェルミナルはそのようなことがありません。道中リラックスして走り、騎手の指示にも素直に従えるので、最後の直線まで最大限の力を温存することが出来ます。ペースに合わせてポジションを変えることも出来るでしょう。この馬のフットワークの大きさや、意外と速くなりそうなペースを考えても、外枠からの発走は好材料と考えても良さそうです。福永祐一騎手が落ち着いてスタートを決めれば、自然と良い結果がでるはずです。

抽選で滑り込んできた馬たちの中では、やはりブエナビスタの器が大きいでしょう。特に今週の最終追い切りの動きは圧巻でした。この馬もまた道中で無駄な力を使わずに走られることが、最後の切れ味に繋がってきていますね。鞍上のゴーサインに瞬時に応えることのできる俊敏さも持ち合わせています。安藤勝己騎手が、抽選待ちをしてでも、この馬に賭けてきた気持ちが分かるような気がします。兄のアドマイヤオーラは牡馬としてはパワーに欠ける面がありましたが、牝馬のブエナビスタはこのくらいで丁度良いでしょう。母ビワハイジはさらに小さい馬でスピードを武器とした逃げ馬でしたから、全くタイプは違いますが、もしこの馬が勝つことになれば、あれから13年越しの母仔制覇となるのですね。いやはや感慨深いです。

感慨深いといえば、イナズマアマリリスもそうですね。1992年の阪神ジュべナイルFを9番人気でアッと言わせたスエヒロジョウオーからスエヒロコマンダーが出て、そのスエヒロコマンダーが種牡馬になっていたということだけでも驚きですが、さらにこのイナズマアマリリスの母系にはあのイナズマクロスの名前も見られます。スエヒロジョウオーとイナズマクロスの血が入った、まさに切れ味の権化のような血統ですよね。前走のファンタジーSは先行して勝利しましたが、もっと溜めて行けばさらに凄い末脚を使ってくる馬でしょう。

3連勝で臨んでくるデグラーティアは、単なる早熟なスピード馬ではないはずです。3戦の内容を見ていても、道中の走りに遊びがあるので、最後は追えば追うほど伸びてきます。1200mのリズムが身についていることは確かに心配ですが、距離が延長されてパタリと止まるタイプではありません。休み明けで勝ち切れるかどうかは疑問ですが、新人の浜中俊騎手がスムーズに流れに乗せられれば、勝ち負けするチャンスは生まれるでしょう。

ウオッカ、カネヒキリとG1レースを独占する勢いの角居厩舎からは、抽選でミクロコスモスが出走してくることになりました。レースでの走りを見る限り、ジェルミナルやブエナビスタに比べると大物感には欠けますが、偉大なる先輩たちに鍛えられて、これからドンドンと力を付けていくのでしょうね。時期にもかかわらず、毛艶は良好で、体調自体は問題ありません。この馬の力を出し切れることは間違いありません。いつの日にか、キャリア1戦の馬がこのレースを制するのではと私は思っているのですが、それが今年なのかもしれません。

関連エントリ
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