Equinox Repeats As Japanese Horse Of The Year

Equinox | Horsephotos

Equinox (Jpn) (Kitasan Black {Jpn}), the Longines World's Best Racehorse for 2023, has been named the Japanese Horse of the Year for the second consecutive year, the Japanese Racing Association (JRA) Award Winner Selection Committee announced on Tuesday.

The Silk Racing Company-owned 4-year-old received 293 votes out of a total 295 votes cast by reporters. A flawless four-for-four last term, Equinox equaled his sire's achievement of two Horse of the Year titles in 2016/2017. Beginning his campaign at Meydan in March, the Tetsuya Kimura trainee won the G1 Dubai Sheema Classic, and returned to his native land with a thrilling score in the G1 Takarazuka Kinen in late June. Benched until the autumn, Equinox won both the G1 Tenno Sho (Autumn) in October and the G1 Japan Cup a month later and retired in style.

Another dual award winner is the 2023 Japanese Champion Miler Songline (Jpn) (Kizuna {Jpn}), who claimed the Champion Older Female title and the Champion Miler award. A representative of Sunday Racing Company and trainer Toru Hayashi, the 5-year-old won both the G1 Vitoria Mile and the G1 Yasuda Kinen last spring.

Liberty Island (Jpn) (Duramente {Jpn}), who was also in the running for Horse of the Year, won the Japanese Fillies' Triple Crown and was second in Equinox's Japan Cup. Already the champion juvenile filly in 2023, the Sunday Racing Company silksbearer was awarded the champion 3-year-old filly title. Her male counterpart, Tastiera (Jpn) (Satono Crown {Jpn}), won both the G1 Tokyo Yushun (Japanese Derby) and the G2 Deep Impact Kinen, and was runner up in the other two legs of the Japanese Triple Crown for Carrot Farm Company.

G1 Asahi Hai Futurity S. and G2 Daily Hai Nisai S. winner Jantar Mantar (Jpn) (Palace Malice) was named the top juvenile colt, and the award is timely, as it was announced last year that his sire would stand at Darley Japan. The Shadai Race Horse Company colourbearer won all three of his starts in 2023.

Sunday Racing's Ascoli Piceno (Jpn) (Daiwa Major {Jpn}) was best of the juvenile fillies with victories in the G1 Hanshin Juvenile Fillies and G3 Niigata Nisai S. in a similarly undefeated campaign.

Tops for the sprinters was G1 Sprinters S. heroine Mama Cocha (Jpn) (Kurofune) for Kaneko Makoto Holdings, while the dependable Lemon Pop (Lemon Drop Kid) led in the dirt horse category for Godolphin after wins in the G1 February S. and G1 Champions Cup.

The complete list of award winners is as follows:

Horse of the Year/Champion Older Male: Equinox

Champion 2-Year-Old Colt: Jantar Mantar

Champion 2-Year-Old Filly: Ascoli Piceno

Champion 3-Year-Old Colt: Tastiera

Champion 3-Year-Old Filly: Liberty Island

Champion Sprinter: Mama Cocha

Champion Miler/Champion Older Female: Songline

Champion Dirt Horse: Lemon Pop

Champion Steeplechaser: Meiner Grand (Jpn) (Gold Ship {Jpn})

Special Award: Ushba Tesoro (Jpn) (Orfevre {Jpn})

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