Class dropper Namura Clair storms home late to take out the Grade 3 Silk Road Stakes and secure a hat-trick of graded stakes victories while Lemon Pop secures his first graded success and his seventh win in ten starts with a powerful performance to take out the G3 2023 Negishi Stakes at Chukyo Racetrack
Silk Road Stakes
Grade 3 Handicap – Purse $602,000 – 1200 meters (6 furlongs) – Turf – 4-Year-Olds and Up
As they broke from the gate, it was clear that the favorite Mad Cool intended to try and take the field gate to wire. Jockey Kota Fujiaki sent his mount straight to the lead and was setting some very quick fractionals.
There was some trouble in behind as Kaiser Melange crossed from his wide gate in twelve to chase the favorite. As he did, it caused the field to concertina towards the rail and the outsider Groove It had to be reined back and from that point lost all chance and eventually trailed in last.
Meanwhile, the eventual winner NAMURA CLAIR who broke well was reined backed into seventh and tracked the early speed in the two-lane.
Mad Cool was leading with Kaiser Melange and Kir Lord in hot pursuit as they whizzed down the backstretch. Shine Garnet was also getting into things and was being followed through by Namura Clair.
Horse Race Video
As they set down for the drive to the wire and with a furlong to go, Mad Cool had widened by two lengths and looked to have the race in the bag, but the closers were in second and third and he was passed first by First Force and then the winner Namura Clair who hit top gear late to get up right on the wire.
The other well-fancied runner Toshin Macau could not lay up with the early speed, but closed late to take fourth, and will be one to watch for next time if stretching out another 200 meters (furlong)
Silk Road Results
|1. Namura Clair||$4.40||$2.10|
|2. First Force||$4.40|
|3. Mad Cool||$1.80|
WINNING TIME: 1 mins 07.3 secs
Grade 3 – Purse $591,000 – 1400 meters (7 furlongs) – Dirt– 4-Year-Olds and Up
This was run at a breakneck pace right from the gates opening and Helios and Aurora Tesoro used their post positions in gates one and two to set the early speed, and they were closely followed by Air Almas who had moved across from his wide draw in gate fifteen to stalk the pace.
The hot favorite and eventual winner LEMON POP broke well and was nicely placed in sixth spot just a couple of lengths off the speed.
As the field reached the top turn the two early pace setters were sending out distress signals and would soon back out of things. It was here that Lemon Pop cruised to the front, but he was quickly followed through by Tagano Beauty who threatened briefly, and it was left to Battle Cry and Gilded Mirror to try and cause an upset.
Horse Race Video
Gilded Mirror closed strongly from the 100-meter pole and got to within a length of the winner, but Lemon Pop held well and kept his incredible run of not finishing outside the first two intact.
Tagano Beauty ran yet another solid race in graded stakes company as he held well to secure the fourth spot.
2023 Negishi Stakes Results
|1. Lemon Pop||$1.90||$1.50|
|2. Gilded Mirror||$1.90|
|3. Battle Cry||$2.30|
WINNING TIME: 1 mins 22.5 secs
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