The countdown to the Sydney Spring Racing...
On Sunday the classy Katsuhiko Sumii-trained Vodka took out the 29th running of the world?s richest turf race, the Group 1 Japan Cup at Tokyo Racecourse in her third attempt.
It was an extremely close call, five-year-old Vodka starting as the odds-on favourite at $3.60 pulled up trumps in a photo finish over Oken Bruce Lee ($4.70) by a nose with Red Desire ($9.60) a further length and a half back in third. Ridden by Christophe Lemaire, the winner ran a sharp 2:22.4 seconds over the 2400m race, just outside of the Cumani-trained Alkaased?s race record of 2:22.1 set in 2005, in the third fastest Japan Cup in history.
With the victory Vodka, the 2008 Horse of the Year, became the first Japanese female runner to win the Japan Cup securing the winner?s prize of nearly US $2.8 million. The filly now boasts 10 victories from 25 career starts for over 1.3 billion yen in prizemoney earned.
The highest seeded international runner in the Cup was Conduit. The M. Stoute-trained horse coming off two successive Breeder?s Cup Turf victories, managed to finish a brave fourth on Sunday in the final race of his career and will now be sent to stud at the Big Red Farm in Hokkaido next year.
Last year?s Japan Cup winner Screen Hero ran a disappointing 13th.
Vodka, by Tanino Gimlet out of Tanino Sister, pulled up with a nosebleed after her sixth top level win at Fuchu and has been ruled out of the Arima Kinen (2500m) at Nakayama in December.
2009 Japan Cup Results:
|C. Lemaire||K. Sumii||–|
OKEN BRUCE LEE
|H. Uchida||H. Otonashi||Nose|
|H. Shii||M. Matsunaga||1 ?|
|R. Moore||M. Stoute||1 ?|
|H. Goto||M. Ito||1 ?|
|K. Tosaki||A. Nomoto||?|
JUST AS WELL
|J. Leparoux||J. Sheppard||?|
|M. Matsuoka||S. Kunieda||Nose|
REACH THE CROWN
|Y. Take||K. Hashiguchi||1 ?|
|H. Kitamura||M. Ito||2|
|G. Mosse||R. Hannon||Neck|
|F. Igarashi||K. Tabe||3 ?|
|M. Demuro||Y. Shikato||?|
|C. Soumillon||S. Sasaki||?|
|D. Cohen||R. Barbara||DH|
|Y. Iwata||R. Okubo||5|
|J. Castellano||N. Drysdale||?|
|Y. Shibayama||H. Kawachi||6|
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