Danon Premium (JPN) remained undefeated with a dominating 3 1/2-length victory in the Asahi Hai Futurity Stakes (G1) Dec. 17 at Hanshin Racecourse.
The Deep Impact (JPN) colt broke sharply from the inside gate, saved ground just off the leaders, and easily took the lead turning into the stretch. With only a few taps of the whip by jockey Yuga Kawada, he quickly surged away from the field and finished the 1,600 meters (about one mile) in a stakes-record time of 1:33.3 over the firm turf course.
Stelvio (JPN), a Lord Kanaloa (JPN) colt, edged Tower of London (JPN) by a neck for second. Tower of London, by Raven's Pass, was bred by Darley's Japanese branch and is owned by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.
Danon Premium and Stelvio entered the Asahi Hai Futurity after finishing first and second in the Saudi Arabia Royal Cup (G3T) Oct. 7 at Tokyo Racecourse. Tower of London took the Keio Hai Nisai Stakes (G2T) in his warmup for the Hanshin event.
"He's a smart horse," Kawada said of Danon Premium. "He was a bit keen to go today, but I believed in his strength and urged him to go when I saw a clear path entering the lane. He stretched and accelerated really well, just as we had expected.
"We need to extend the distance of his races in order for him to win the classics next year," Kawada said. "But I think he will continue to develop well toward this goal."
Danon Premium is trained by Mitsumasa Nakauchida for the owner Danox. He was bred by K.I. Farm.
The winner's dam is Indiana Gal, an Irish-bred mare by Intikhab. Intikhab raced successfully in England and Dubai for Sheikh Mohammed's Godolphin from 1996-99, peaking with a victory in the 1998 Queen Anne Stakes (G2) at Ascot.