Japan duo make headlines Down Under: Real Impact claims George Ryder Stakes; Tosen Stardom second in Ranvet
Real Impact won in the George Ryder Stakes
Tosen Stardom finished 2nd in the Ranvet Stakes
George Ryder Stakes winning ceremony
Japan’s Real Impact and Tosen Stardom turned in impressive performances in Australian G1 races on March 21, with Real Impact displaying steely determination at Rosehill Gardens Racecourse in the George Ryder Stakes and Tosen Stardom shining brightly with a second to Contributer in the Ranvet Stakes at the same venue.
First up on the G1-studded day was the Yasutoshi Ikee-trained 4-year-old Tosen Stardom with Thomas Berry up in Saturday’s fourth race, the G1 Ranvet Stakes over 2,000 meters of turf.
Breaking from the No. 1 gate, Tosen Stardom took up a position three back on the rail as the Godolphin-owned Contributer, a bit slow out of the gate, was moved in sharply from the No. 5 slot to stalk Tosen Stardom from about 2 lengths back. Somewhat keen, Tosen Stardom rounded into the stretch and moved out as Contributer burst forward and into the lead. Tosen Stardom put up a good fight but was no match for the eventual winner’s powerful turn of foot.
Berry, who was the first jockey other than Yutaka Take to ride the Deep Impact-sired Tosen Stardom, said he felt the race would do much to sharpen up Tosen Stardom, racing for the first time since his winning run in the G3 Challenge Cup at Hanshin on Dec. 13.
"He has had a long time between runs and is obviously going to take improvement. They went a bit slow for him and then they sprinted, so that's why his last 100 meters was smart," Berry said.
“Contributer showed a ‘real’ horse’s acceleration today,’’ trainer John O’Shea said. He is a true weight for age horse who has a great turn of foot.’’
Playing down the victory, McDonald said, “It was pretty basic really. I was a little bit slow away and ended up three back but this horse is superior to any horse racing in the country.”
O’Shea claims he had not been worried by the fact that McDonald chose to hold Contributer toward the rear of the seven-horse field with Fast Dragon out in front by a good 8 lengths.
“James has always been adamant that if we ride him a little bit quieter he’ll accelerate better and I think you saw that today,’’ O’Shea said. “It was a wonderful performance. He’s got an electric turn of foot.
“The firm ground was a big worry for us and I said to James going out, ‘if he is feeling the ground, you look after him.’
“The horse told us he was comfortable and James rode him accordingly. This is very exciting, very rewarding for our team because I can’t tell you how much goes into this horse. It is a big team effort and you saw the result there.’’
Contributer, a 5-year-old Irish-bred by High Chaparral is next set for the Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Randwick on April 11.
Tosen Stardom now has four wins and one second from a total nine starts. The second in the G1 Ranvet Stakes was the colt’s best performance yet. Back home, he has yet to win at better than the G3 level. His one bid in a G2 saw him run seventh. His three G1 bids in Japan thus far had reaped two double-digit finishes and an eighth in the Kikuka Sho (Japanese St. Leger).
Contributer’s winning time under 59 kg was 2 minutes 3.10 seconds. Crossing the line in third place a length and a quarter behind Tosen Stardom, who carried 58.5 kg, was the Kris Lees-trained Lucia Valentina.
Japan’s top catch for the day came four races later in the George Ryder Stakes, a turf G1 over 1,500 meters. And this time out, James McDonald was able to notch his second G1 of the day aboard Real Impact, a Deep Impact 7-year-old from the stable of Noriyuki Hori.
Real Impact went to the front from the No. 12 gate and held an iron grip on the lead to the finish. Into the stretch, Criterion moved up on the inside and lined up with Real Impact from the 300-meter mark. The pair broke away from the rest of the field as they went nose and nose in a spine-tingling battle to the end. Real Impact absolutely refused to sit down and clinched the win by a short head. Finishing third 2.2 lengths off the winner was the 3-year-old colt Kermadec.
"(Criterion) fought really hard, but my horse, he found another gear once that horse got to him. He’s an awesome horse," McDonald said of Real Impact, but added, "I don't think he's going to win a big race by a big margin. I'm just glad my head was down when the winning post came up.
It was the first overseas G1 victory for Hori. “I’ve had the support of so very many people and I’m happy to have gotten results. The trip over went well and we able to keep him well-tuned.” Hori said it was not definite at this point whether he would aim Real Impact at the Doncaster Mile. “We'll see how he pulls up and speak with the owners, but at this stage it does look likely.”
Real Impact, by Deep Impact out of the Meadowlake mare Tokio Reality, was bred at Northern Farm in Hokkaido. He now has five wins from 26 starts. The win of the George Ryder Stakes was his second G1 victory in addition to his win of the 2011 Yasuda Kinen. It was his fourth graded-stakes first. He also scored successive wins in the G2 Hanshin Cup in 2013 and 2014.
Also participating from Japan was World Ace, a 6-year-old from the Yasutoshi Ikee stable. World Ace finished 11th out of 14 runners over 5 lengths off the winner.
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