Champion Contrail Glides to Japanese Derby Victory

Contrail winning the Japanese Derby | JRA


It's been 15 years since Deep Impact (Jpn) (Sunday Silence) added the G1 Tokyo Yushun (Japanese Derby) to his resume on his way to taking out the 2005 Japanese Triple Crown. Now, with 2019 Japanese champion juvenile colt Contrail (Jpn), he has a colt that could clinch that title too, as the Yoshito Yahagi trainee polished off a full field of 17 rivals and saluted by three lengths in the 2020 Tokyo Yushun. Sunday's Derby score gifted Deep Impact with his third-straight Derby winner and sixth in total. With his win in the 2400-metre event, Contrail also became the seventh horse in JRA history to win the first two jewels of the Japanese Triple Crown while unbeaten.

Despite the empty stands due to the ongoing COVID pandemic, the race was not just for show, and, after an even break, the heavy 2-5 favourite stalked in a handy fourth as Win Carnelian (Jpn) (Screen Hero {Jpn}) cut out the running. The pace was not sharp, with My Rhapsody (Jpn) (Heart's Cry {Jpn})'s rider Norihiro Yokoyama sensing a muddling tempo and sending his charge well out into the center of the course with a bold move during the backstretch run. That rival quickly took over from Win Carnelian, swooping back towards the fence and leading into the far turn.

Contrail remained in touch, several lengths off the frontrunner in fifth rounding the bend. Multiple foes were in with a chance at the head of the straight, and Yuichi Fukunaga steered the colt out to the four path at the 500-metre marker. Given a clear run, Contrail began to eat away at Win Rhapsody's advantage, took over a furlong from home and easily put away the hard-charging Salios (Jpn) (Heart's Cry {Jpn}) to win with ears pricked. It was another 1 3/4 lengths back to Weltreisende (Jpn) (Dream Journey {Jpn}) in third.

“I was just focusing on finishing this race on a high note and although he still has room for improvement—he tends to lose his focus when he's leading—he still is able to win like he did today, so he's got great potential and there's a lot to look forward to in this colt,” said Fukunaga. “The pace was not really flowing in the first half but I sort of expected Nori-san [Norihiro Yokoyama on My Rhapsody] to make a move like that and it opened up the path for me to reach the horse in front [second position] which was critical.”

A sparkling Hanshin debut winner last September, Contrail quickly added the G3 Tokyo Sports Hai Nisai S. two months later, while cover the 1800 metres in a scintillating course record of 1:44.50. Upped to 2000 metres in the G1 Hopeful S. at Nakayama, he cleared that hurdle en route to Japanese Champion 2-Year-Old honours. In his first run since, he took the G1 Satsuki Sho (Japanese 2000 Guineas) over Salios on Apr. 19.  The Shinji Maeda-owned runner's next target is October's G1 Kikuka Sho (Japanese St. Leger) over 3000 metres.

Pedigree Notes

One of 158 black-type winners, 127 group/graded for his sire, who passed in 2019, Contrail joins Roger Barows (Jpn) (2019), Wagnerian (Jpn) (2018), Makahiki (Jpn) (2016), Kizuna (Jpn) (2013), and Deep Brillante (Jpn) (2012) as Japanese Derby winners for the 2005 Japanese Triple Crown victor.

From three to race, the placed Rhodochrosite has three winners, the third being Contrail. Barren for 2018, she has a yearling full-brother to the Japanese Derby hero and a half-brother by Heart's Cry (Jpn) born this year. The North Hills-bred Contrail is one of 179 black-type winners-92 graded/group-for the late Taylor Made stallion Unbridled's Song as a broodmare sire. The near-black colt sits in a three-way tie with Eclipse Champion Female Sprinter/Older Dirt Female Unique Bella (Tapit) and Argentinean champion Sixties Song (Arg) (Sixties Icon {GB}) on number of Group 1 wins, with three. Overall, Unbridled's Song is the broodmare sire of 23 Group 1 winners to date.

U.S. Champion 2-Year-Old Filly Folklore (Tiznow), a winner of the GI Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies, GI Matron S. and GII Adirondack S., is his second dam, herself a half-sister to A.P. Indy filly Divided Attention, who claimed a black-type rosette in the Listed Ladies H. on the New York circuit and was also placed in the GIII Tempted S., as well as the GIII Bed o'Roses H. third Delightful Quality (Elusive Quality).

Sunday, Tokyo, Japan
TOKYO YUSHUN (JAPANESE DERBY)-G1, ¥418,140,000 (US$3,882,004/£3,146,395/€3,493,473), Tokyo, 5-31, 3yo c/f, 2400mT, 2:24.16, fm.
1–CONTRAIL (JPN), 126, c, 3, by Deep Impact (Jpn)
                1st Dam: Rhodochrosite, by Unbridled's Song
                2nd Dam: Folklore, by Tiznow
                3rd Dam: Contrive, by Storm Cat
O-Shinji Maeda; B-North Hills (Jpn; T-Yoshito Yahagi; J-Yuichi
Fukunaga. ¥226,698,000. Lifetime Record: Ch. 2yo Colt-Jpn,
5-5-0-0. Click for the eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree. Werk
   Nick Rating: A+++. *Triple Plus*.
2–Salios (Jpn), 126, c, 3, Heart's Cry (Jpn)–Salomina (Ger), by
Lomitas (GB). O-Silk Racing; B-Northern Farm (Jpn);
3–Weltreisende (Jpn), 126, c, 3, by Dream Journey (Jpn)–
Mandela (Ger), by Acatenango (Ger). O-Sunday Racing;
B-Northern Farm (Jpn); ¥53,814,000.
Margins: 3, 1 3/4, HD. Odds: 0.40, 3.40, 65.40.
Also Ran: Satono Impresa (Jpn), Deep Bond (Jpn), Galore Creek (Jpn), Black Hole (Jpn), Wakea (Jpn), My Rhapsody (Jpn), Bitterender (Jpn), Satono Flag (Jpn), Cortesia (Jpn), Darlington Hall (GB), Valcos (Jpn), L'Excellence (Jpn), Man of Spirit (Jpn), Win Carnelian (Jpn), Al Jannah (Jpn).
Click for the JRA chart or video or the free Equineline.com catalogue-style pedigree.

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