In the 37th running of the Group 1 Takamatsunomiya Kinen over 1200m at the Chukyo racecourse just outside the city of Nagoya in Japan, the promising 5yo son of Sunday Silence, Suzuka Phoenix broke through for his first Group 1 win, and allowed champion Japanese jockey Yutaka Take to extend his amazing statistic of recording at least Group 1 win every year for the past 20 years.
On a rain affected track after heavy overnight rain, the race was led, as expected, by outsider, 9yo Divine Silver, with favored runners She is Tosho, M O Winner and Orewa Matteruze close up ensuring that the pace was on throughout the race. Take had Suzuka Phoenix midfield in the early stages and after taking to the outside of the pack, began to make his move at the 800m.
As the field entered the straight, the leaders were feeling the pressure and horses began making their runs. Katsumi Ando pulled out one of the favored runners Precise Machine, but Take brought his mount around that runner and it was clear that he was traveling much better. M O Winner fought on well on the inside past of the track, but at the 200m mark Suzuka Phoenix shot away from the field and the race was quickly over.
Precise Machine made ground in the straight, but in the final stages was passed by outsider Peer Gynt who surprised the majority of Japanese racing fans by plugging on well in the straight and grabbing 2nd. Both Suzuka Phoenix and Peer Gynt are by Sunday Silence, so not only did Sunday Silence win this race for 3 consecutive years (with 3 different horses), but he also provided the quinella.
6yo Fuji Kiseki mare Venus Line finished from the tail of the field for 4th, and last year's winner Orewa Matteruze held on well for 5th.
The winner Suzuka Phoenix (Sunday Silence - Rose of Suzuka) was bred and is owned by Mr. Keiji Nagai, and is trained by Mr. Mitsuru Hashida. The time for the race was 1:08.9.
© Japan Association for International Racing and Stud Book (JAIRS). All Rights Reserved.