Irish Champion Stakes Option For Kitasan Black
Japanese star Kitasan Black has the option of a trip to Ireland later this year after overcoming a top class field in the Osaka Hai at Hanshin on Sunday.
The five-year-old, a classic winner at three before winning both the G1 Tenno Sho (Spring) and G1 Japan Cup last year, is set to join Satono Diamond in attempting to give Japan a sougth after first win in the Qatar Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe in Paris in October.
Horse Racing Ireland's decision to extend an automatic place in the Irish Champion Stakes to the winner of the Osaka Hai could tempt Kitasan Black's connections to consider that race as his lead-up to the Arc.
The HRI last month announced the initiative in partnership with the Japan Racing Association after the Psla Hai was upgraded this year to Grade 1 with prizemoney of more than $A3 million.
Kitasan Black, trained by Hisashi Shimizu and ridden by Yutaka Take, strated favourite againbst last year's Tokyo Yushun (Japanese Derby) winner Makahiki and Satono Crown, who beat Highland Reel in the Hong Kong Vase in December.
Take stalked the pace then took over in the home straight, comfortably holding the challenge of runner-up Staphanos. Makahiki was fourth and Satono Crown sixth.
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