Fusaichi Pandora Awarded Japan's QE II Cup

(from Japan Racing Association report)
Fusaichi Pandora was awarded victory in Sunday's Queen Elizabeth Commemorative Cup (Jpn-I) at Kyoto racecourse when the undefeated 3-year-old filly Kawakami Princess was disqualified after finishing first.

Kawakami Princess, the race favorite, was demoted to 12th place in the 2,200-meter event after stewards determined that her jockey Masaru Honda had caused significant interference to the 11th place Yamanin Sucre.

As a result, the victory was awarded to another 3-year-old filly – Fusaichi Pandora, who had originally finished second, a neck ahead of second choice Sweep Tosho, who won the 2005 running.

Fusaichi Pandora was ridden by popular jockey Yuichi Fukunaga, and is owned by Fusaro Sekiguchi. She is by Sunday Silence out of the Nureyev mare Lotta Lace, and was bred at Northern Farm. After four group placings, this was her first group victory. Sweep Tosho was officially second and Dia de la Novia was promoted to third.

The race was run at a frantic pace with visiting French jockey Christophe Lemaire leading the field by many lengths on outsider Shells Lei until the top of the straight. Challengers such as Asahi Rising and Admire Kiss ranged up outside the leader at the 350- meter mark, but it was soon clear they too were under siege.

Fusaichi Pandora and Sweep Tosho were both taken to the outside and began to make ground while Honda tried to thread a route through the field on the favorite Kawakami Princess. Near the 300-meter mark Kawakami Princess suddenly veered to her right, squeezing Yamanin Sucre between Kawakami Princess and the tiring Shells Lei. The rider of Yamanin Sucre, Hirofumi Shii, did well to stay on board and stopped riding the horse out. He pulled Yamanin Sucre up immediately after the finish line.

As the horses approached the 200 meters, Fusaichi Pandora passed Asahi Rising on the wide portion of the track and Sweep Tosho made ground even further out. Melbourne Cup (Aus-I) winning jockey Yasunari Iwata brought Dia de la Novia through along the inside. But Kawakami Princess was going best of all after making a passage through the middle. She pulled away to hit the line over a length ahead of Fusaichi Pandora and Sweep Tosho.

After a nervous wait while stewards reviewed the race, the crowd roared when it was announced that Kawakami Princess had been relegated to 12th place.

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