Contrail Shows Grit to Earn Triple Crown Honours


Contrail winning the Japanese Derby | JRA/Horsephotos

Kyoto played host to the 3000-metre G1 Kikuka Sho on Sunday, and Contrail (Jpn) put his name in the record books as the eighth Japanese Triple Crown Winner and only the third to take the Japanese equivalent of the St Leger while undefeated. Symboli Rudolf (Jpn) (Partholon {Ire}) first accomplished that feat in 1984 and Contrail’s sire, the late Deep Impact (Jpn), was the second in 2005.

In marked contrast to his earlier wins, Contrail was tested all the way to the line, with recent allowance winner, the SP Aristoteles (Jpn) (Epiphaneia {Jpn}), relishing the trip, but managed to fend off that foe and hold on by a neck. It was 3 1/2 lengths back to Group 2 winner Satono Flag (Jpn) (Deep Impact {Jpn}), while GSW Deep Bond (Jpn) (Kizuna {Jpn}) was fourth, another neck behind.

Only eventual seventh-place finisher and 9-1 shot Weltreisende (Jpn) (Dream Journey {Jpn}) was also under 10-1 odds in the field of 18, and Contrail was 1-10 to complete the triple. Chimera Verite (Jpn) (Kizuna {Jpn}) was hard sent from the bell, and Contrail perched in seventh with Aristoteles, under Christophe Lemaire, sitting directly to his outside a half-length back. Positions were largely unchanged throughout the early stages, but Contrail turned in well off the fence with 600 metres to travel, Aristoteles still closely shadowing him. Chimera Verite folded entering the straight and Babbitt (Jpn) (Nakayama Festa {Jpn}) picked up the baton, but Contrail was already within a few lengths of the leaders poised to pounce, still harried by Aristoteles.

That duo drew even with the vanguard 300 metres out and quickly distanced themselves. Although Aristoteles, under a brilliant ride by Lemaire, came within a short neck of Contrail a few strides from the wire, the dark bay repelled his challenge and refused to let his rival pass. The official margin was a neck. Satono Flag came from far back to take third, just in front of the stalking Deep Bond.

“I can’t say that I was successful in keeping him relaxed during the race with so much pressure from Aristoteles,” said winning jockey Yuichi Fukunaga. “It turned out to be a tough race for us with Aristoteles looking quite strong and persistent, and this race may not have been his best performance, but I kept my faith in Contrail and he certainly showed how strong he is to have maintained his position up to the end of the 3000-meter trip.”

Named the 2019 Japanese Champion Juvenile Colt after going three-for-three last term with wins in the G3 Tokyo Sports Hai Nisai S.-in a record time of 1:44.50 for 1800 metres-and in that December’s G1 Hopeful S., Contrail was not seen in action until a bloodless victory in the G1 Satsuki Sho (Japanese 2000 Guineas) this April. He easily made it two Classics in a row with a three-length win in the 2400m G1 Tokyo Yushun (Japanese Derby) in May and rattled off a two-length victory in the G2 Kobe Shimbun Hai, a prep for this race, on Sept. 27.
Pedigree Notes
One of 47 Group 1 winners for his sire, Contrail is also Deep Impact’s third Japanese St Leger hero after Fierement (Jpn) (2018), and Satono Diamond (Jpn) (2016). They are the first father-son pair to take the three Classics in Japan. Placed four times as a juvenile in Japan after selling to Koji Maeda for $385,000 at Keeneland September in 2011, Rhodochrosite foaled two winners from two runners prior to Contrail. Barren in 2018, the daughter of American champion juvenile filly and GI Breeders’ Cup Juvenile heroine Folklore (Tiznow) has a yearling colt from the second-to-last crop of Deep Impact and a Heart’s Cry (Jpn) colt foal born on Mar. 26. Folklore is a half-sister to SW & GSP Divided Attention (A.P. Indy), as well as the GSP Delightful Quality (Elusive Quality). Delightful Quality, in turn, is the dam of GI Claiborne Breeders’ Futurity hero Essential Quality (Tapit).


Sunday, Kyoto, Japan
KIKUKA SHO (JAPANESE ST. LEGER)-G1, ¥267,040,000 (US$2,550,789/£1,955,624/€2,150,288), Kyoto, 10-25, 3yo, c/f, 3000mT, 3:05.50, 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
Hills (Jpn); T-Yoshito Yahagi; J-Yuichi Fukunaga. ¥147,328,000.
Lifetime Record: Ch. 2yo Colt-Jpn, 7-7-0-0. ¥675,186,000 Werk Nick Rating:
   A+++. *Triple Plus*. Click for the eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree.
2–Aristoteles (Jpn), 126, c, 3, Epiphaneia (Jpn)–Blue Diamond
(Jpn), by Deep Impact (Jpn) O-Hideko Kondo; B-Northern Farm
(Jpn); ¥55,808,000.
3–Satono Flag (Jpn), 126, c, 3, Deep Impact (Jpn)–Balada Sale
(Arg), by Not For Sale (Arg). (¥165,000,000 Wlg ’17 JRHAJUL).
O-Satomi Horse Company; B-Northern Farm (Jpn);
Margins: NK, 3HF, NK. Odds: 0.10, 22.00, 33.90.
Also Ran: Deep Bond (Jpn), Black Hole (Jpn), Robertson Quay (Jpn), Weltreisende (Jpn), Valcos (Jpn), Galore Creek (Jpn), Babbitt (Jpn), Man of Spirit (Jpn), Satono Impresa (Jpn), Diamant Minoru (Jpn), Turkish Palace (Ire), Danon Gloire (Jpn), L’Excellence (Jpn), Bitterender (Jpn), Chimera Verite (Jpn).
Click for the JRA chart & video or the free catalogue-style pedigree.

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