'Major Repeats in Mile Championship

Favored Daiwa Major made it back-to-back victories in the US$1.85 million Mile Championship Stakes (Jpn-I) Nov. 18 with a gritty neck victory over Super Hornet on the turf at Kyoto Race Course.

Neil Drysdale's American invader Becrux, winner of the 2006 Woodbine Mile (Can-I) for owners Team Valor and Gary Barber, finished eighth in a field of 18 after lagging for the first five furlongs. The Italian bred finished well after being forced to take back by his outside draw and was defeated by 4 1/2 lengths.

Daiwa Major, a 6-year-old horse by Sunday Silence out of the blue hen mare Scarlet Bouquet, by Northern Taste, earned his fifth grade I victory for owner Keizo Oshiro and trainer Hiroyuki Uehara. The chestnut, bred by Shadai Farm, is a three-quarter brother to the filly Daiwa Scarlet, who won the Queen Elizabeth II Commemorative Cup (Jpn-I) for Oshiro a week ago at Kyoto. Daiwa Major was the Japan Racing Association's top sprinter or miler of 2006.

With Katsumi Ando aboard, Daiwa Major broke best in the middle of the course but settled in third behind the pacesetters during the early going. Daiwa Major ranged up three wide entering the final turn under a snug hold and came away with the lead after reaching the straight. Without being asked, Daiwa Major inched away from the field approaching the final furlong with Super Hornet, Agnes Ark and Suzuka Phoenix all moving to challenge on the outside.

In the final 200 meters Super Hornet, ridden by Yusuke Fujioka, almost caught Daiwa Major, who dug in gamely to prevail. Suzaka Phoenix, Yutaka Take aboard, closed much ground in the straight to finish third, a half-length farther back. Agnes Ark and Company were fourth and fifth, respectively. The final time of 1:32.7 on firm going was six-tenths of a second off the race mark established by Hat Trick in 2005.

A crowd of 42,463 was on hand under cloudy skies.

Ando, who teamed with Daiwa Major to win the Yashuda Kinen (Jpn-I) at Tokyo in June, recorded his fourth JRA grade I win this year.

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