The previous weekend in Japan once again offered some high-class action as the star stayers clashed in the G1 2022 Tenno Sho (spring) on Sunday when Titleholder recorded his second G1 triumph. At the Hanshin track, he easily bettered favourite Deep Bond. On Saturday in Tokyo Racecourse, Pradaria bagged the G2 Aoba Sho among three-year-old aspirants on a start in the Japanese Derby.
This G2 trial for the Tokyo Yushun (Japanese Derby) witnessed not that quick pace set over the distance of a mile and a half, and in the field of thirteen three-year-olds, it was Pradaria (59-10) who collected most of the purse of 104,960,000 Yen.
On the turf surface, Kenichi Ikezoe let his mount gallop in the midfield, swung outside in the final stretch, and urged Pradaria to close on Lord Les Ailes (43-10). The leading contestant fought bravely yet had to settle for second place by half a length as Pradaria scored in 2m 24.20s. Thanks to a fine finish, Eternal Victory (91-10) took the third place.
Trained by Manabu Ikezoe, Pradaria bagged a maiden last time out; however, he was about to face more serious rivals in Tokyo, but he just handled everything quite well to record his first Graded victory.
Both Lord Les Ailes and Eternal Victory ran a great race, too, when the former helped set the pace throughout, while the latter rested at the end of the field, then thronged among the rivals, and secured third place in front of Gran Cielo (59-10) and favourite L’Evangile (8-5).
2022 Tenno Sho (spring)
The longest G1 turf race in Japan offered a brilliant display of class thanks to Titleholder (39-10), who made all in this two miles-long event, boasting the purse of 385,400,000 Yen. The winner of the last year’s St Leger had a great start in the 2022 Tenno Sho, set the pace subsequently, and unchallenged, he maintained the first place until the very end. Aboard with Kazuo Yokoyama, Titleholder scored among the four-year-old and older horses in 3m 16.20s.
Favorite Deep Bond (11-10) didn’t enjoy much the gallop this time and managed only second place, abysmal seven lengths behind the winner, when just narrowly beating third T O Royal (89-10).
Titleholder delivered a Classic win to his trainer Toru Kurita in 2021, upon which he finished fifth in the Arima Kinen and is unbeaten in both 2022 outings. He bagged the G2 Nikkei Sho last time out; still, the colt was about to hit the distance of two miles for the first time, and winning at such a trip from the front requires a beat of a horse.
Titleholder definitely proved to be one when leaving classy Deep Bond behind so decisively, yet it’s true that Deep Bond struggled seriously throughout and had to dig deep to secure second place. T O Royal ran a blinder in third, affirming to be a talented four-year-old stayer as he easily left behind smart duo Heat On Beat (114-10) – Iron Barrows (68-10).
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