THE FIRST OF A PAIR OF Japanese Grade Ones in June, the Yasuda Kinen, over a mile at Tokyo continued what has been somewhat a recurrent theme in such recent races, producing an exciting finish with at least half a dozen of the 14 runners holding claims entering the closing stages.

With less than half a furlong to run, Christophe Lemaire hit the front aboard Gran Alegria with what appeared a decisive challenge, only to be snared as the line approached by the late lunge of Danon Kingly, delivered with perfect timing by Yuga Kawada, sporting the silks of Danox Co Ltd for trainer Kiyoshi Hagiwara.

A 5yo entire son of the irrepressible Deep Impact, the winner was making his first appearance since failing to beat any of 11 rivals in the 1m2f Grade 1 Tenno Sho (Autumn) on the first day of last November. Thrice placed in such illustrious company, this was his biggest career success to date although he has twice scored in Grade Two company.

He felt a bit tense first entering the track but he had good rhythm during the trip and had plenty of horse left. He responded just as I hoped turning the last corner and ran on well after that. Although he hasn’t been able to put in the best results in the past, he has definitely demonstrated his true strength today and I’m happy to have been a part of it in my first time in the saddle,” commented Yuga Kawada.