Monday, 16 April 2012
: Fourth choice Gold Ship, coming off a two months break, produced and impressive late charge to win the Satsuki Sho, first leg of Japan's Triple Crown, at Nakayama.
The win was his first G1 and second grade-race win after his victory in the G3 Kyodo News Service Hai in February.
His consecutive grade-race victories come after his two runner-up efforts during his two-year-old season in the G3 Sapporo Nisai Stakes and the G3 Radio Nikkei Hai Nisai Stakes.
Gold Ship, by Stay Gold and out of the Mejiro McQueen mare Point Flag, has the same bloodlines as last year's Triple Crown winner Orfevre and three-time G1 champion Dream Journey.
With this victory, he gave his jockey Hiroyuki Uchida his first Satsuki Sho win and third classics title as he has won the Kikuka Sho (Japanese St. Leger) in 2008 with Oken Bruce Lee and the Japanese Derby in 2010 with Eishin Flash.
It was also the first G1 success for trainer Naosuke Sugai after only three years since opening his stable.
Taking the inner route from the back of the field, Gold Ship hit the front a furlong out and pulled away for a comfortable victory over World Ace, who stumbled at the break and was forced wide for the last 800m.
World Ace is trained by Yasutoshi Ikee who was looking for back-to-back titles following last year's victory with Orfevre.
Deep Brillante was third with favourite Grandezza a disappointing fifth.
The race was run at a cracking pace after Meisho Kadomatsu and Zelos rushed out to a big lead as expected.
Deep Brillante turned the first two corners wide in third, six to seven lengths behind the front runners, while Gold Ship settled in the rear with World Ace and Grandezza just ahead of him.
As the field of 18 rounded the last turns most of the contenders took the outer route to avoid worn turf areas, Uchida steered Gold Ship through the inner path and took the front 200 meters out and easily pulled away to a 2 ½ length victory.
World Ace, regaining balance after stumbling at the beginning of the race, displayed an impressive late kick after taking the widest route through the final turn.
• LEADING steeplechaser Majesty Bio rolled to a convincing eight lengths win in Japan's famous Nakayama Grand Jump on Saturday.
Majesty Bio, winner of last year's G1 Nakayama Daishogai and named Japan's Best Steeplechase Horse in 2011, lived up to his top billing to become the first favourite to win the race since Australian star Karasi in 2007.
The five-year-old landed his fourth graded race title and becomes only the third horse in JRA history to
claim both of Japan's GI jump events after Blandices in 2004 and Maruka Rascal in 2008.
It was the second consecutive Nakayama Grand Jump win for jockey Daichi Shibata after he won on Meiner Neos last year.
Tsuyoshi Tanaka claimed his first Nakayama Grand Jump title as a trainer although he had won the race as a jockey three times before it became an international event in 1980, 1991 and 1998.
Basel River, the second favorite, finished impressively for second in just his fifth career start over obstacles for trainer Hiroyoshi Matsuda, who also trains flat champion Buena Vista.