The 57th running of the Grade 1 Yasuda Kinen today saw the 6yo Sunday Silence horse Daiwa Major win his 4th Grade 1 race with a very impressive performance. It was Daiwa Major's first appearance since finishing 3rd in the second leg of the Asian Mile Challenge, the Group 1 Dubai Duty Free, but he was able to close out the Mile Challenge with a win in the fourth and final leg.
The 1600m race was led by last start Grade 2 winner and 3rd favorite Kongo Rikishio who controlled the pace throughout. Hong Kong visitor Able One came across and sat outside the leader from his wide barrier, while jockey Katsumi Ando settled Daiwa Major beautifully on the rails behind the leader. Most of the other favored runners including Suzuka Phoenix and Joyful Winner settled well back in the field.
Kongo Rikishio led comfortably through the first 1000m of the race and as the field entered the straight it was soon clear he was going to be difficult to run down. As the backmarkers made their way to the outside, Ando calmly guided Daiwa Major off the back of the leader out into the clear and began to ask the horse for an effort.
Several horses on the outside of the field including outsider Super Hornet looked as if they may finish on well, but as the field reached the 200m, Daiwa Major was gradually reeling in Kongo Rikishio on the inside. The two fought the finish out side by side in the final 100 meters with Daiwa Major eventually gaining the upper hand and going to the line to win convincingly in the end.
6yo mare Jolly Dance had raced handy on the outside from barrier 18 and did well to stick on for 3rd place in the straight while Admire Kiss and Suzuka Phoenix closed fairly to finish 4th and 5th respectively.
The four Hong Kong challengers made no impact on the finish this year, after finishing 1st and 3rd last year. Joyful Winner was the most favored of the four locally, and although he made up ground well in the straight, he had given the on pace runners too much start and couldn't repeat his 3rd placing of last year.
Daiwa Major is by Sunday Silence (who sired the winner of the Yasuda Kinen for the first time) out of the blue hen mare Scarlet Bouquet who is also the dam of this year's Grade 1 Oka Sho winner Daiwa Scarlet. He was bred by Shadai Farm, is owned by Mr. Keizo Oshiro and is trained by Mr. Hiroyuki Uehara.
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