From the Print Edition: Dark Horses Win in Japan

Published in the Dec. 8 issue of The Blood-Horse
On Dec. 2 at Hanshin Racecourse, a one-two upset by dark horses paired with foreign riders Olivier Peslier and Kieren Fallon translated into big winnings at the betting windows. Bigger yet was Peslier's claim to an unprecedented third grade I victory in three weeks as he rode seventh pick Tamuro Cherry to a half-length victory in the Hanshin Juvenile Fillies (Jpn-I).

Across the wire in second place under English jock Fallon was ninth choice Arrow Carry, who had looked on target for a wire-to-wire win until the final two strides of the 1,600-meter turf race.

Peslier wowed the crowd yet again with a masterful ride aboard Tamuro Cherry. After holding to a mid-pack position three lengths off the front until the final bend, Peslier brought the chestnut filly wide in the straight, where he urged her on for an impressive spurt that sent her past the front six of the field of 18 for the win in a time of 1:35.1.

Second choice Osumi Cosmo finished third, a neck behind the runner-up. Favorite Kitasan Hibotan finished fourth, another neck back.

It was the fifth grade I win in Japan for Peslier, the fourth this year alone, following wins of the February Stakes, the Mile Championship, and the Japan Cup.

Tamuro Cherry (Secreto--Miss Glory, by Sakura Yutaka O) was bred in Aomori Prefecture by Suwa Farm. It was the first grade I win in 22 years for an Aomori-bred horse. Tamuro Cherry is trained by the Ritto-based Masato Nishizono and is the first winning horse for Tamuro Taniguchi, 70, a racehorse owner for 10 years. Tamuro Cherry is now three for six, with the ¥60 million ($486,224) from the Juvenile Fillies boosting her earnings to over ¥100 million.

The Hanshin venue also hosted the World Super Jockeys Series, a two-day annual invitational event bringing together top jockeys from around the world in a four-race competition. Eight foreign jockeys, including Victor Espinoza and Edgar Prado from the United States, and six Japanese riders vied for the grand prize of 3 million yen.

Katsuya Samejima emerged the overall winner after claiming both races Dec. 2, the second day of competition. Espinoza, riding in Japan for the first time, followed a close second.