Meiner Ho O narrowly prevailed in a three-way battle in the $2,397,000 NHK Mile Cup (Jpn-I) for 3-year-olds May 5 at Tokyo Racecourse.
Ridden by Daichi Shibata, Meiner Ho O stretched his neck out at the finish line, besting runner-up Impulse Hero for the victory as Flamme de Gloire finished another neck back in third.
Longtime leader Copano Richard was caught a furlong out by Geyersworth. He was soon overtaken as Flamme de Gloire, who charging through a narrow gap next to Geyersworth, collared the brief leader in the final sixteenth. But with furious rallies up the hill, Meiner Ho O and group III winner Impulse Hero got the measure of Flamme de Gloire at the end.
Lightly regarded as the 34-1 10th wagering choice, Meiner Ho O covered the trip in 1:32.07 to earn his first stakes win.
The chestnut colt, trained by Yoshihiro Hatakeyama, began the year with a victory going a mile in January. He then finished third to the previous season's champion 2-year-old male Logotype in the Fuji TV Sho Spring Stakes (Jpn-III) March 17 before registering a seventh behind A Shin Top in the New Zealand Trophy (Jpn-II) April 6, all at Nakayama.
From the first crop of 2007 Takamatsunomiya Kinen (Jpn-I) winner Suzuka Phoenix, Meiner Ho O is the first stakes winner for his sire, an 11-year-old son of Sunday Silence who stands at Arrow Stud in Hokkaido.
A Shin Top, the favorite as winner of back-to-back group stakes in both starts this season, raced prominently early and was in contention in the stretch but was blocked in the closing stages and finished seventh in the 18-horse field.
Owned by K. Thoroughbred Club Ruffian, Meiner Ho O was bred in Japan by Hikaru Bokujo out of the winning French Deputy mare Tenzan Rose.