Contrail Set To Bow Out In Japan Cup

Contrail | JRA photo


Shinji Maeda's Contrail (Jpn) (Deep Impact {Jpn} matched the feat of his late and much-missed sire by sweeping the three legs of the Japanese Triple Crown last season. Sunday afternoon at Toyko Racecourse, the homebred colt will look to add the G1 Longines Japan Cup to his resume in his final career trip to the races, an event won by Deep Impact in his penultimate start in 2006. The two-time Horse of the Year would go on to avenge his only defeat on Japanese soil in that year's G1 Arima Kinen.

One of four of his sire's Japanese Derby winners in this year's Japan Cup, Contrail was runner-up to Almond Eye (Jpn) (Lord Kanaloa {Jpn}) 12 months ago and has just two runs under his belt this term, a third to Lei Papale (Jpn) (Deep Impact {Jpn}) in the G1 Osaka Hai over unsuitably easy ground in April and a sound runner-up effort to reigning G1 Satsuki Sho (Japanese 2000 Guineas) hero Efforia (Jpn) (Epiphaneia {Jpn}) in the 2000-metre G1 Tenno Sho (Autumn) after becoming edgy in the stalls here at headquarters Oct. 31.

“The jockey [Yuichi Fukunaga said it too, but in the Tenno Sho (Autumn), if he had gotten a position closer to the eventual winner, the results would have been different,” commented Shigeki Miyauchi, assistant to trainer Yoshito Yahagi. “Contrail had been agitated in the gate and this is the sole concern remaining. There was no trouble after the race. He came out of it well and was back into training without a hitch. He has no problems in gate practice and, in an effort to help him mentally, we even started giving him pool work. It will be his last race, so I very much want him to win one more time.”


Shahryar (Jpn) became the seventh Derby winner overall for Deep Impact when slashing through late to best Efforia by a nose as a 10-1 chance May 30. The son of GI Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Sprint victress Dubai Majesty (Essence of Dubai), a brother to Guineas winner Al Ain (Jpn), was the 4-5 favourite for the G2 Kobe Shimbun Hai over heavy Chukyo turf Sept. 26 and failed to land a serious blow in fourth. With fine weather forecast into the weekend, he should get firmer footing at Fuchu.

“He has a really beautiful stride, so from the results, all I can say is that suitability to the surface is what made the difference,” assistant trainer Nobuyuki Tashiro said. “After that, he went to the farm for a bit and returned with this race as our aim. There are a lot of strong older horses, but this year the 3-year-olds are getting good results and I think he'll give us a good race as well.”

Makahiki (Jpn), twice fourth in this race, and Wagnerian (Jpn), a short-odds third in 2019, are Deep Impact's other Derby winners, having succeeded in 2016 and 2018, respectively. Any of the four would become the first winner of the Japan Cup for Deep Impact since Gentildonna (Jpn) scored with Ryan Moore in 2013.

The Englishman has the call aboard Broome (Ire) (Australia {GB}) this weekend, one of two Aidan O'Brien-trained gallopers to make the trip. The 5-year-old makes his 11th start of the season at a seventh different venue, having won the G1 Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud in July and finished runner-up to Yibir (GB) (Dubawi {Ire}) when last seen in the GI Longines Breeders' Cup Turf at Del Mar Nov. 6. Yutaka Take has the mount aboard Japan (GB) (Galileo {Ire}), trying an eighth different track this year. Winner of the G3 Ormonde S. at Chester in May and the G3 Meld S. at the Curragh, Japan exits a fourth in the Turf. Grand Glory (GB) (Olympic Glory {Ire}) is the third of the Euro invaders, having upset Audarya (Fr) (Wootton Bassett {GB}) in the G1 Darley Prix Romanet in August before just missing behind Rougir (Fr) (Territories {Ire}) in the G1 Prix de l'Opera at ParisLongchamp Oct. 3.


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