Japan Third For Victor The Winner

Gr1 Takamatsunomiya Kinen

Hong Kong sprinter Victor The Winner’s attempt to emulate Aerovelocity’s 2015 Gr1 Takamatsunomiya Kinen (1200m) triumph has ended in a gallant third at rain-sodden Chukyo Racecourse in Japan on Sunday.

Victor The Winner heads to the starting gates (Pic – HKJC)

Sent straight to the front from barrier 10 by jockey Derek Leung, Victor The Winner held the lead until approaching the final 200m when Mad Cool, ridden by Ryusei Sakai, took the lead and appeared destined for an easy win before Namura Clair charged late to cut the margin to a head.

Victor The Winner was beaten three lengths but earned HK$2.236 million for the performance.

The overall winning time of 1m 08.90s was considered outstanding in the soft conditions.

Mad Cool and Victor The Winner could be set for a rematch in the HK$22 million Gr1 Chairman’s Sprint Prize at Sha Tin on 28 April along with Toshin Macau (6th), Lugal (10th), Matenro Orion (16th) and Champagne Color (17th) who also ran at Chukyo today.

Mad Cool wins the Takamatsunomiya Kinen (Pic – HKJC)

Leung said: “It was a very good effort. He jumped so quick and he was a bit fresher than when he’s in Hong Kong, so when he got in front, he was a bit excited.

“The track was soft, so it wasn’t 100 per cent perfect for him but he ran very well. When I asked him to go at the 350m, it was uphill so he struggled a little bit and kept on one pace.

“I’m so proud of him, he’s still run a very good race.

“We always try and let him be positive and when he jumped, he felt very comfortable. I just let him be where he wanted to be and he fought a little bit with me because it’s his first time here.

“I love Japan and I’m so glad I could ride here. Hopefully I can come back soon.

“It was a big challenge for him. It was his first time going left-handed and a bit uphill with a soft track.

“He won on a soft track at Sha Tin at the beginning of the season but he was carrying 115 (pounds) – This time he was carrying 128 (pounds), so it was quite a bit different for him.

“He give me a good turn of foot in the home straight but as we hit the uphill, he couldn’t kick anymore. I asked him to go but he couldn’t find any more speed. I have to thank the owners and trainer for letting me to come to Japan and I hope I can represent Hong Kong overseas again.”

Watching from Sha Tin, trainer Danny Shum said: “He has run a very good race. I’m so proud of him and I have to say thank you to my team – they have done a great job.

“Also, Derek Leung, has ridden a very good race.”


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