Geoglyph wins Satsuki Sho for first G1 victory

The Japanese 2000 Guineas, in other words, the G1 Satsuki Sho, already knows its winner as Geoglyph took the spoils after a brilliant ride by Yuichi Fukunaga. Besides this big feat at the Nakayama Racecourse on Sunday, the track at Hanshin offered a couple of G3 races – the Arlington Cup, where Danon Scorpion scored, and the Antares Stakes, which saw the victory of grey Omega Perfume. 

Arlington Cup

This G3 turf race was open to three-year-old colts who competed for the purse of 76,900,000 Yen. At the distance of a mile, Danon Scorpion (6-4) started off as a favorite here as he snatched up third place in last year’s G1 Asahi Hai Futurity Stakes, and on Saturday, he fulfilled his role in 1m 32.70s.

Once Yuga Kawada found him enough space to rally forward, Danon Scorpion closed on leading Taisei Divine (177-10), upon which he bettered him by a neck. King Hermes (177-10) ran a bit closer to the front and managed to hold on to the third place. 

As Danon Scorpion suggested in a Classic trial that attempting the Japanese 2000 Guineas would be too much for him, trainer Takayuki Yasuda pointed him towards this race. The colt affirmed that the distance of a mile suits him better.

Although he scored only by a narrow margin, had he come across a gap earlier, he could’ve scored by more as he looked full of energy and quite willing to get in front of Taisei Divine, another quite talented three-year-old. King Hermes drew on his fine Graded victory here, showing he is a Graded player, while fourth Jun Blossom (43-10) was very close to him in fourth. 

Antares Stakes

The G3 event was held on the dirt surface where a field of sixteen four-year-old and older horses clashed at the distance of a mile and a furlong. The purse of 72,820,000 Yen attracted especially Omega Perfume (14-5) trained by Shogo Yasuda, who scored the G1 Tokyo Daishoten three times at the track of Oi, while on Sunday, he affirmed to be able to deliver also in Hanshin.

Galloping at the rear of the field, his finish in the final stretch was lethal for all of his rivals as the seven-year-old horse triumphed by a half of a length in 1m 50.50s. Gloria Mundi (13-5) seemed to be a tough rival, but he had to settle for second in front of the third New Monument (68-1). 

The Satsuki Sho

The opening leg of the Japanese Triple Crown was logically open just to three-year-old participants who clashed on the turf surface for the purse of 320,750,000 Yen. The Japanese equivalent for 2000 Guineas is held at the distance of a mile and a quarter, where the Classic glory came a bit surprisingly to chestnut Geoglyph (81-10).

The Tetsuya Kimura bound son of Drefong settled closely behind the leaders, and in the final stretch, Yuichi Fukunaga urged him forward. In the closing stages, he just outbattled unbeaten Equinox to score the race in 1m 59.70s by a length. Equinox had to settle for second place, while Do Deuce (29-10) delivered a beautiful finish to snatch the third place.

Geoglyph has always been a part of the elite here, scoring a G3 in 2021 and finishing fifth in the G1 Asahi Hai Futurity Stakes, upon which he took second in a G3 Classic trial. The talented colt didn’t win his previous two running because he tended to spend the race at the rear of the field, and in the end, his finish was coming too late to better all of the rivals.

This time, Yuichi Fukunaga said enough, helped the colt settle in the midfield, so once the contestants turned for home, Geoglyph didn’t have to pass by all of the rivals but only a few of them, which proved crucial. Geoglyph was in the right position in the closing stages, flying forward alongside Equinox, who he outbattled and forced to swallow defeat for the first time. Still, the G2 victor Equinox ran a great race, given he hasn’t been out in 2022 until Sunday. 

Do Deuce was another anticipated contestant who relied on his finish but unlike in Geoglyph’s case, he rallied from the rear once again, taking third even though he’s definitely not much worse of a horse than the first two. Alongside Equinox, Danon Beluga (4-1) didn’t maintain his perfect record here, finishing fourth but not really quickening up in the final stage and just bettering fifth Ask Victor More (89-10) in fifth. 

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