2007 NAR Grand Prix
NAR announces 2007 Grand Prix Winners
The National Association of Racing (NAR), the national level regulatory body for Racing by Local Governments in Japan, has announced the 2007 NAR Grand Prix Awards for the year's outstanding horses, jockeys and trainers.
The gala awards ceremony will be held at a Tokyo Hotel on February 7, 2008.
The coveted "Horse of the Year" award went to Furioso (3-y-o horse, trained by Masayuki Kawashima, Funabashi). The winner of the Japan Dirt Derby in July, Furioso also finished second in two top class races for the year. In the JBC Classic and Tokyo Daishoten, Furioso finished runnerup to Vermilion, the winner of the Japan Cup Dirt and JRA's Best Dirt Horse in 2007. Furioso was also chosen for the "Best Thoroughbred 3-Year-Old" award.
Fujino Wave, the gray, 5-year-old horse trained by Takashi Shibata in Ohi, was another double-award winner, taking the "Best Thoroughbred Older Colt or Horse" and "Best Thoroughbred Sprinter or Miler" honors. As the seventh favorite in the race, Fujino Wave defeated his JRA and local counterparts at the JBC Sprint in October, becoming the first local horse in the seven-year history of the JBC event to win either the Sprint or Classic.
The award for"Best Thoroughbred 2-Year-Old" went to Diraquouee (2-y-o colt, trained by Haruo Narita, Hokkaido), the winner of the "Hokkaido Nisai Yushun" in October.
The "Best *Ban-ei (Draft) Horse" was won by Tomoe Power, (7-y-o horse, trained by Hirofumi Matsui). Tomoe Power was selected for her three top-level wins, the Iwamizawa Kinen, the Obihiro Kinen, the Ban-ei Kinen, which grouped the best Ban-ei horses.
For the second straight year, Cosmo Bulk (5-y-o horse, trained by Kazunori Tabe, Hokkaido) was awarded as "Best Thoroughbred Turf Horse." Looking to defend his title at the Singapore Airlines International Cup G1 race, Cosmo Bulk finished in a close second behind Shadow Gate (JRA) at the same race this year. He also won the ORO Cup, a 1,700-meter turf race, at Morioka in September.
The "Best Thoroughbred Filly or Mare" went to Tosen Jo O (6-y-o mare, trained by Masayuki Kawashima, Funabashi) after winning two graded races for fillies and mares, the Empress Hai in February and Marine Cup in April. Fast from the gates, she ran away impressively from the field in the Empress Hai, defeating JRA grade-race winner Fusaichi Pandora by 1 1/2 length.
There were no selections for the "Best Anglo-Arab Horse" award.
A "Special Award" was presented to Vermilion (5-y-o horse, trained by Sei Ishizaka, JRA Ritto Training Center), which won four top-level dirt races (Kawasaki Kinen, JBC Classic, Japan Cup Dirt, and Tokyo Daishoten). Aside from his fourth-place finish at the Dubai World Cup, Vermilion won all of his four showings in Japan, proving that he is the strongest dirt horse in his native land.
In acknowledging their long-time contribution to local racing, two "Special Awards" were handed out to sires that died in 2007, Mill George and Wakao Raiden.
Mill George, whose son Inari One won the G1 Tenno Sho Spring, Takarazuka Kinen and Arima Kinen in 1989, passed away at the age of 32. His foals won a total of 32 grade races, including six at the G1 level.
Wakao Raiden, who ran as a racehorse from 1983-88, also had high expectations as a sire, with Okiwaka, a half sister to the legendary racehorse Ten Point, as dam. Wakao Raiden immedialtely created foals that brought excitement to local racing fans at Kasamatsu with Raiden Leader winning JRA's Grade 3 race "4-Year-Old Himba Tokubetsu." Wakao Raiden took the local leading sire award in 1997 and 1999 before retiring as sire in 2005. He was 26 years old.
Trainers and Jockeys
"Best Trainer" was awarded to Masayuki Kawashima (Funabashi), trainer of both Furioso (Horse of the Year, Best Thoroughbred 3-Year-Old) and Tosen Jo O (Best Thoroughbred Filly or Mare). He wins this award for the sixth straight year and eighth overall.
"Best Jockey" was given to Hiroyuki Uchida (Ohi) for the fourth year in succession (fouth overall). Uchida, who won 385 races in 2007, led all jockeys with wins, as well as prize money won.
"Best Apprentice Jockey" was presented to Kenichi Nishi (Ban-ei). Debuting in January, Nishi collected 56 wins in his debut season. It is only the second time - and the first in 15 years - that a Ban-ei jockey received the Best Apprentive Jockey award.
"Best Female Jockey" was awarded to Mai Beppu (Kochi), who led all female jockeys with 82 wins in 2007. In just her third year, Beppu won the award for the second consecutive year (four jockeys received the award last year).
The "Fair Play Award for a Jockey" was won by Isao Sugawara (Iwate) for the third time and the first since 2003. The veteran jockey won 173 races last year.
A "Special Award" for 2007 was presented to two star jockeys of Racing by Local Governments. Hiroyuki Uchida, who also won "Best Jockey", and Toshihiko Kobayashi (Iwate) both registered their 3,000th career wins in 2007.
* Ban-ei (Draft) races: run by "heavy" horses such as the sturdy Percherons, Bretons and Belgians. Ban-ei Horses pull a sleigh weighing any where from 1,000 pounds to one ton, along a 200-meter separated straight track over two small hills, which are located along the course.