Superb Lemaire Steer Lands Durezza In Kikuka Sho Winner's Enclosure

Durezza | JRA photo


Sent off the fourth betting favourite at a little more than 6-1, the progressive Durezza (Jpn) (Duramente {Jpn}) was given a cerebral ride by Christophe Lemaire in Sunday's G1 Kikuka Sho (Japanese St. Leger) at Kyoto and raced away in the final 200 metres to defeat the winners of the first two legs of the Triple Crown–G1 Tokyo Yushun (Japanese Derby) hero Tastiera (Jpn) (Satono Crown {Jpn}) and market leader Sol Oriens (Jpn) (Kitasan Black {Jpn}), victorious in the G1 Satsuki Sho (Japanese 2000 Guineas) in the spring.

Only once beaten and winner of four starts on the trot in the lower grades, Durezza was away fairly from barrier 17 and was clicked up by Lemaire to take up the running after 400 metres, sliding over to the inside running rail as the Kikuka Sho field raced past the stands first time round. Positions were largely unchanged rounding the second of the three bends, but the complexion of the race changed somewhat when 300-1 chance Pax Ottomanica (Jpn) (Victoire Pisa {Jpn}) overtook Durezza with 1400 metres to travel, but Lemaire remained unfazed and unhurried, allowing his mount to lob along, and when Libyan Knight (Jpn) (Kizuna {Jpn}) went for a similarly early run, Durezza was relegated to third spot. Traveling strongly on the back of Libyan Knight nearing the straight, Durezza was produced by Lemaire off heels, took over 300 metres out and kicked on smartly for the victory. Tastiera, having his first run since the Derby, emerged from the pack to finish a non-threatening second for a Carrot Farm 1-2, while Sol Oriens was wide throughout and made belated progress to be third.

“He made a flying start and was keen to go, so I decided to let him take the lead,” said Lemaire, winning his 46th Group 1 on the JRA a week ahead of the G1 Tenno Sho (Autumn), where he rides defending champion Equinox (Jpn) (Kitasan Black {Jpn}). “He responded well between the third and last corner which made me confident that he was going to close strongly. When he accelerated in the stretch, I knew we were going to win. To see him beat such a strong field today over the 3000-metre distance means we can look forward to him doing well among Group 1 company over 2000 and 2400 meters also.”



Pedigree Notes:

For the gone-too-soon Duramente–also the sire of Filly Triple Crown heroine Liberty Island (Jpn)–Durezza is a 17th stakes winner, 12th group winner and a sixth Group 1 winner from four crops of racing age. His sons and daughters have accounted for no fewer than seven Triple Crown races, including 2021 Kikuka Sho victor Titleholder (Jpn).

Like Liberty Island, Durezza was produced by an Australian-bred mare. Bred by Raffles Dancers (NZ) Pty Ltd, More Than Sacred was campaigned in New Zealand, where she won the G1 New Zealand Oaks over 2400 metres and was a fast-finishing third to Who Shot Thebarman (NZ) (Yamanin Vital {NZ}) in the G1 Auckland Cup going 3200 metres. More Than Sacred, acquired privately and relocated to Japan in 2015, produced six foals in the country, including the as-yet unraced 2-year-old filly Divinest (Jpn) (Real Steel {Jpn}) and a yearling filly by King Kamehameha (Jpn)'s Tokyo Yushun-winning son Rey de Oro (Jpn).

More Than Sacred, a full-sister to Raffles Dancers's multiple Malaysian stakes winner Sacred Empire (NZ) and from the family of GI Breeders' Cup Turf hero Northern Spur (Ire) (Sadler's Wells), cost ¥9.35 million (about $63,141) and was one of 13 mares purchased by Yuesheng Zhang's Yulong Investments out of the Northern Farm Mixed Sale in October 2022. Exported to Ireland, the mare produced a colt by Bricks and Mortar (Giant's Causeway) this past May 8 and was most recently bred to Frankel (GB) on Southern Hemisphere time.


Sunday, Kyoto, Japan
KIKUKA SHO (JAPANESE ST LEGER)-G1, ¥418,620,000, Kyoto, 10-22, 3yo, c/f, 3000mT, 3:03.10, gd/fm.
1–DUREZZA (JPN), 126, c, 3, by Duramente (Jpn)
1st Dam: More Than Sacred (Aus) (G1SW-NZ, $351,755), by More Than Ready
2nd Dam: Danalaga (Aus), by Danehill
3rd Dam: Tamarino (Ire), by Caerleon
1ST GROUP 1 WIN. 1ST GROUP WIN. 1ST BLACK-TYPE WIN. O-Carrot Farm Co Ltd; B-Northern Farm; T-Tomohito Ozeki; J-Christophe Lemaire; ¥227,034,000. Lifetime Record: 6-5-0-1, ¥282,271,000. Werk Nick Rating: A+++ *Triple Plus*. Click for the eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree. Click for the free catalog-style pedigree.
2–Tastiera (Jpn), 126, c, 3, Satono Crown (Jpn)–Partitura (Jpn), by Manhattan Cafe (Jpn). O-Carrot Farm Co Ltd; B-Northern Farm; T-Noriyuki Hori; J-Joao Moreira; ¥87,724,000.
3–Sol Oriens (Jpn), 126, c, 3, Kitasan Black (Jpn)–Skia (Fr), by Motivator (GB). O-Shadai Race Horse; B-Shadai Farm;T-Takahisa Tezuka; J-Takeshi Yokoyama; ¥53,862,000.
Margins: 3HF, 1HF, 3/4. Odds: 6.30, 3.70, 1.70.
Also Ran: Libyan Glass (Jpn), Savona (Jpn), Hearts Concerto (Jpn), Meiner Laulea (Jpn), Night in London (Jpn), Phantom Thief (Jpn), Satono Glanz (Jpn), Shonan Bashitto (Jpn), Season Rich (Jpn), Win Odin (Jpn, Top Knife (Jpn), Nocking Point (Jpn), Danon Tornado (Jpn), Pax Ottomanica (Jpn). Click for the JRA chart.


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