Tuesday, 21 February 2012
: Last year's Dubai World Cup runner-up Transcend may not be returning to Meydan this year after he could finish only seventh in the G1 February Stakes in Tokyo on Sunday.
Japan Cup Dirt winner Transcend won the February Stakes in 2011 before going to Dubai but was way short of that form behind Testa Matta on Sunday.
Trained by Akira Murayama and ridden by Yasunari Iwata), Testa Matta was an upset 23-1 winner by two lengths over Silk Fortune with Japan Cup Dirt runner-up Wonder Acute taking third.
Testa Matta recorded his first G1 win since the 2009 Japan Dirt Derby, his career having been severely compromised by wind problems and leg fractures.
Transcend could not sustain the solid pace and fell away from fourth on the turn where Testa Matta found a terrific burst of speed from off the pace to seize the lead a furlong from home.
Coming off a third place finish in his previous start in the G3 Negishi Stakes, Testa Matta gave his trainer Murayama his first JRA G1 win and first February Stakes title for 2011 JRA Award winning jockey Iwata.
Hindered by a number of set-backs due to wind problems and leg fractures, Testa Matta proved well up to G1 standard on dirt, having finished second in the 2010 February Stakes.
He missed the 2011 February Stakes while recovering from sickness but promptly claimed a G3 win in the March Stakes when he returned.
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