Nakayama Knight’s gallant bid no match for Prix Dollar competition
Nakayama Knight proved no match for the competition in the Qatar Prix Dollar (G2, 1,950 meters turf) at Longchamp Racecourse on Saturday, Oct. 1, one day before Nakayama Festa and Hiruno d’Amour take on the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe. The 3-year-old son of Stay Gold, racing under Japanese veteran Yoshitomi Shibata and carrying 55 kg, finished only one from the rear in 10th place some 11 lengths off the winner.
After a fine break, Nakayama Knight secured a forward seat as he raced in second position to the outside of German challenger Durban Thunder. Six hundred meters out, Nakayama Knight started to lose ground and, despite a brave attempt to keep up, found himself at 2 furlongs out with the rest of 10 members ahead of him. He rallied in the end for the booby prize 6 lengths ahead of last-place finisher Durban Thunder, who had been saddled with the top weight of 60 kg.
Byword, last year’s Prince of Wales’ Stakes winner and back on the track for the first time since a G3 win at Chantilly on June 12, shouldered 57 kg but used his 2-kg weight advantage to the utmost. In a late challenge, he managed to edge France-bred gelding Cirrus des Aigles by a short head.
Byword, an Andre Fabre-trained 5-year-old by Peintre Celebre, clocked 2:00.41 over good going under Maxime Guyon. A length and a quarter behind Cirrus des Aigles was the 4-year-old gelding Shimraan, partnered with Christophe Lemaire, with the 6-year-old Famous Name in fourth 2 1/2 lengths later.
“He was able to race much better from the start than he did last time out,” said jockey Shibata of Nakayama Knight in reference to his last run in the Prix Niel. “But, he didn’t have anything left in the stretch when I gave him the signal to move out. Last time, he had held back and the results were poor, but this time he was able to run easily out in front,” Shibata said. “Longchamp was a good experience. The results in France were unfortunate this time, but I personally don’t want this to be the end. I want to do my best to see some different results next time and hope that we can continue the challenge. I’d like to extend my appreciation to all the connections.”
“I think he just wasn’t up to the level of maturity of the winner,” trainer Yoshitaka Ninomiya said of Nakayama Knight. “Nakayama Knight just didn’t seem able to handle what was some very competitive French racing. He just didn’t have the power for the French turf,” Ninomiya said and added that the colt seemed fine after the race. “I hope, if we get the chance, we’ll be able to try our hand at this again.” Of his immediate plans for the colt, Ninomiya said, “As soon as we get back to Japan, I’d like to race him again right off, but there aren’t many races that are suited to him distance-wise. Also, both he and Nakayama Festa have had some hard training in France, so I think I’d like to give him some time off.”
Teddy Grimthorpe, racing manager to winning owner Khalid Abdullah, said of Byword, "Andre Fabre has given him plenty of time since he won at Chantilly and he felt that he would really like this ground. He relished the ground and showed he is a Group 1 horse Hong Kong could be his target."
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