MULTIPLE GROUP ONE heroine Gran Algeria bade farewell to her career as a racehorse with a fairytale swansong success when defending her title in Sunday’s 1600m Hanshin Grade 1 Mile Championship, obviously at Hanshin. Settled towards the rear of the 16 runners, the 5yo daughter of the remarkable Deep Impact made stealthy progress on the home turn under a supremely confident Christophe Lemaire.

Seemingly determined to allow the mare as easy a race as possible, Lemaire cajoled his mount to close and challenge entering the final 200m. Soon in front, they were never going to be caught, recording an eighth career victory and sixth at the highest level, Lemaire in the saddle for all bar one of those top flight victories.

Lemaire was sporting the colours of Sunday Racing aboard Kazuo Fujisawa’s stable star, thrice a champion in her illustrious career, who will head to the paddocks having received a rousing reception from her adoring public. A delighted Lemaire gushed: “I am both relieved and happy; the most important mission for me in her last run of her career was to bring out the best performance, her true form and she did just that.

“We were positioned a little further back but it didn’t worry me much and she has this really good finishing speed in the straight as she showed today. She’s been a special horse since a 2yo, winning all those big races and today she showed us again that she’s of a different class. I will miss her but maybe I will still be around to ride her foals.”

Her trainer Kazuo Fujisawa will not get to train them though as he is due to retire at the end of the season but was able to extend his record tally in the race to six wins. No mating plans have been confirmed but connections will surely have no shortage of suitors among stallion masters.