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Jantar Mantar wins this year’s Asahi Hai Futurity Stakes at Hanshin.
Race favorite Jantar Mantar claimed this year's Asahi Hai Futurity Stakes, marking his third consecutive win in as many career starts to become the first Palace Malice colt to win a JRA-G1 title. Breaking his maiden in his debut start in October (Kyoto, 1,800m), he registered his first graded title in the following Daily Hai Nisai Stakes (G2, 1,600m) on November 11. In this race, trainer Tomokazu Takano claimed his sixth JRA-G1 victory following his title in the Mile Championship with Namur a month earlier, while jockey Yuga Kawada registered his 26th JRA-G1 title following his Shuka Sho win with Liberty Island in October and his third Asahi Hai Futurity Stakes victory—he has won the race with Danon Premium in 2017 and Grenadier Guards in 2020.
Jantar Mantar, breaking smoothly from the third stall, settled in mid-division, around seventh, by the rails and continued to save ground rounding the corners to take command at the top of the stretch. Though challenged by rivals in the straight, the Palace Malice dark bay found another gear in the last 200 meters to pull away and managed to hold off the fast-closing Ecoro Walz before the wire to prevail by 1-1/4 length.
"I urged him to go a bit earlier than planned as it didn't seem like we were going to get a clear path. He has a good character and he's a highly capable horse, so I think he will continue to grow and I look forward to his future races," commented jockey Yuga Kawada.
Breaking from the innermost stall, fourth choice Ecoro Walz eased back to trail in the rear, angled out entering the lane and, though still trailing in the very rear at the 200-meter pole, launched a tremendous late charge to pass all his rivals but the winner for a runner-up seat.
Fifth pick Tagano Elpida broke sharply to chase the leaders in third, circled wide and while unable to keep up with the winner, sustained the bid to rally for a runner-up spot but was denied by Ecoro Walz just before the wire to finish third, a neck behind the runner-up.
4th: (14) June Take—ran around 15th early, made headway on outer path, closed in strongly on
5th: (12) Tagano Dude—raced 3-wide around 13th, passed one by one on outer stretch
6th: (4) Satomino Kirari—hugged rails around 13th, showed effort for 2nd place until 100m out
7th: (6) Set Up—set pace early, rallied briefly after entering lane, weakened in last 200m
8th: (8) Danon McKinley—saved ground around 5th, launched brief charge, even paced in last
9th: (11) Taiki Vainqueur—traveled 3-wide around 11th, responded until 100m out
10th: (17) Strauss—was off slow, keen to go, led before 3rd corner, faded after 200m pole
11th: (13) Namura Hooker—sat 3-wide around 7th, showed effort up to 200m pole, needed more
12th: (10) Band Shell—positioned 3-wide around 5th, struggled to find clear path, unable to
13th: (15) Enya Love Faith—ran 4-wide around 7th, checked at early stretch, dropped position
14th: (7) Awesome Stroke—settled around 7th outside winner, showed little at stretch
15th: (16) Ask One Time—raced near rear, showed brief response, met traffic 200m out
16th: (9) Clean Air—tracked leaders around 3rd, outrun at final corner, found little room
17th: (2) Miltenberg—traveled around 11th, dropped back after 200m pole