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Posted 2021-11-30 08:55:41  
Contrail retires on highest note

Odds-on favorite Contrail romped to a two-length victory claiming this year’s Japan Cup and fifth G1 triumph in his career-finale performance. After claiming the 2019 Hopeful Stakes (2,000m) as a two-year-old, the Deep Impact colt went on to sweep the Triple Crown—the Satsuki Sho (Japanese 2000 Guineas, 2,000m), the Tokyo Yushun (Japanese Derby, 2,400m) and the Kikuka Sho (Japanese St. Leger, 3,000m) and, with the Japan Cup victory, is now tenth on the JRA list of career earnings with a total of JPY 1,195,294,000. Trainer Yoshito Yahagi is now the proud owner of 14 JRA-G1 wins—his latest victory was with the colt in last season’s Kikuka Sho—while jockey Yuichi Fukunaga, following his recent Sprinters Stakes victory with Pixie Knight in October, has collected a total of 32 JRA-G1 wins.

Breaking well from the second most inner stall, Contrail was settled under Fukunaga in mid-pack and two-wide, while Kiseki made rapid headway in the backstretch from the rear, taking over the front at the third corner, extending his lead by six to seven lengths. By the time the field hit the top of the straight, the brown colt had shifted to the outside with clear running room in front of him and displayed his trademark explosive kick, shaking off Shahryar after a brief rally at the furlong pole then turned up an extra gear to easily put away Authority 100 meters out for a convincing two-length win.

“All I have now is mixed feelings of relief and lonesomeness. In the colt’s latest start (Tenno Sho (Autumn)), he broke poorly so I told him, while he was walking in the paddock earlier, to stay calm at the start. It worried me a bit since the pace was slow and he wasn’t in that good a position, but we had tuned him up to perfection and the colt gave us all he had in the straight. I have to admit I was under a lot of pressure during the two years he was at my stable, but I think it has helped me in becoming more mature, and I can’t thank him enough. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to win the Arc with an offspring of his someday?”, commented trainer Yoshito Yahagi.

“The colt had issues before his debut, so there were always concerns about his form, but I am so proud of how he proved himself today—I’m overwhelmed. All I did today was believe in him. He broke well and everything went just perfectly. He has given me every jockey’s dream and I am utterly grateful. The colt shone a bright light over a gloomy year due to the pandemic last season. I’m relieved that we can send him off to his next career with this victory,” commented jockey Yuichi Fukunaga after the race.

Japan Racing

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