Neorealism notches first G1 in Hong Kong's Queen Elizabeth II Cup
The only Japanese runner in this year's Grade 1 Queen Elizabeth II Cup, Neorealism, held off a late charge from the top local contenders on Sunday to win the 2,000m race at Sha Tin Racecourse.
Neorealism, sent out as the third favorite (second favorite in the Japanese market), jumped out slowly out of the gates, but jockey Joao Moreira made his move in the back straight with about 800m left to take the lead. The top two favorites in the race, last year's winner Werther and Pakistan Star, made their late charges but Neorealism was just too good, holding off Pakistan Star by a neck, with Werther following 1/2 lengths behind for third. Neorealism became the first Japan-based winner of this race since Rulership won it in 2012.
It was the first Grade 1 win for the 6-year-old Neorealism, trained by Noriyuki Hori for U Carrot Farm. By Neo Universe out of Tokio Reality (also dam of Real Impact, winner of the 2011 Yasuda Kinen and 2015 George Ryder Stakes), Neorealism caught the attention of the racing world last year, when he beat Maurice in the Grade 2 Sapporo Kinen. He followed that up with a third in the Grade 1 Mile Championship and finished last year in a disappointing 9th in the Hong Kong Mile.
Neorealism came back strongly to start his 2017 campaign, capturing the Grade 2 Nakayama Kinen over 1,800m, beating an 11-horse field which included Grade 1 winners Real Steel, Logotype and Vivlos. Sunday's win of the Queen Elizabeth II Cup brings his career record to eight wins from 17 starts (with 1 second and 2 thirds) and career earnings to about JPY393 million.
Hori continued his successive run in Hong Kong, where he captured the Hong Kong Vase with Satono Crown and the Hong Kong Cup with Maurice in the Hong Kong International Races last December. It was Hori's fifth win overall on Hong Kong soil.
Please visit the Hong Kong Jockey Club website for further information.