Danon Premium claims Asahi Hai Futurity Stakes in record time

Race favorite Danon Premium captured this year’s Asahi Hai Futurity Stakes in 1:33.3, renewing the race record at Hanshin set by Leontes (JPN, by King Kamehameha) in 2015 after the race was transferred from Nakayama in 2014 (the race record at Nakayama is 1:33.4 marked by Meiner Recolte (JPN, by Chief Bearhart) in 2004). He is the 13th undefeated colt to capture the Asahi Hai Futurity Stakes title following Leontes.

After marking a comfortable four-length victory in his debut start on June 25, the son of Deep Impact won the Saudi Arabia Royal Cup (G3, 1,600m) on October 7 also in record time with a margin of 1-3/4 lengths.

This win marked trainer Mitsumasa Nakauchida’s sixth graded victory and first G1 title after he opened his stable in 2014. Jockey Yuga Kawada captured his 10th JRA-G1 victory following his Yasuda Kinen title with Satono Aladdin in June this year.

Danon Premium broke sharply from the innermost stall and took an economic trip by the rails in third behind K T Clever and Fast Approach who rushed out form the outer stalls to lead the field. The Deep Impact colt made bid immediately after facing the homestretch and inherited the lead from K T Clever at the top of the stretch. Once taking the front, the brown colt unleashed a powerful late charge that timed the fastest of the field and drew away to a 3-1/2-length victory.

“He’s a smart horse. 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 but I think he will continue to develop well toward this goal,” commented Yuga Kawada.

Third pick Stelvio made a good break and eased back to settle toward the rear, around fifth from last. The son of Lord Kanaloa circled wide around the corners and, though caught between horses entering the lane, threaded through his rivals and dislodged an impressive late kick in the last 200 meters to nail Tower of London right before the wire for second place.

Second favorite Tower of London raced two wide in mid-division while eyeing Danon Premium traveling in front. Continuing to stalk the race favorite entering the homestretch, the son of Raven’s Pass held on well and, though overtaken by Stelvio in the last stride, managed to fend off the strong challenge by Keiai Nautique by a nose to finish third.

2-year-old Colts & Fillies, 1,600 meters (about 8 furlongs), turf, right-handed
Sunday, December 17, 2017 Hanshin Racecourse 11th Race Post time: 15:40
Total prize money: ¥ 152,200,000 (about US$ 1,323,000 <US$1=¥115>)
2-y-o: 55kg (about 121 lbs), 1 kg allowance for Fillies, 3 kg allowance for Southern Hemisphere-bred born in 2015

1. Danon Premium (JPN), brown, colt, 2-year-old
Deep Impact / Indiana Gal (Intikhab)
Owner: Danox Co., Ltd. Breeder: K. I. Farm
Trainer: Mitsumasa Nakauchida Jockey: Yuga Kawada
3 Starts, 3 Wins
Added money: ¥ 71,148,000 Career earnings: ¥ 111,799,000
Principal race performances: ’17 Saudi Arabia Royal Cup (G3, 1,600m)

2. Stelvio (JPN), bay, colt, 2-year-old
Lord Kanaloa / L’Archetto (Falbrav)
Owner: Sunday Racing Co., Ltd. Breeder: Northern Farm
Trainer: Tetsuya Kimura Jockey: Cristian Demuro

3. Tower of London (JPN), bay, colt, 2-year-old
Raven’s Pass / Snow Pine (Dalakhani)
Owner: HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Breeder: Darley Japan K. K
Trainer: Kazuo Fujisawa Jockey: Christophe Lemaire

Other Horses:
4th: (5) Keiai Nautique―traveled in mid-pack, found little room at early stretch, showed belated charge
5th: (12) Danon Smash―was off slow, saved ground towards rear, switched to outside 200m out, quickened
6th: (8) Fast Approach―chased leader in 2nd, sustained bid, weakened in final strides
7th: (11) Cassius―stalked leaders in 3rd or 4th, ran gamely, outrun in last 100m
8th: (2) Frontier―hugged rails in mid-group, failed to respond at stretch
9th: (14) Double Sharp―advanced to 5-6th, took 4-wide trip, ran willingly until 200m out
10th: (6) Asakusa Genki―broke sharply, eased back to 5-6th, lacked needed kick at stretch
11th: (15) K T Clever―set pace from wide draw, fell back after 300m marker
12th: (4) Right on Cue―trailed in rear, turned wide, passed tired rivals
13th: (9) Muscoloso―ran 3-wide in mid-division, checked at early stretch, never fired
14th: (13) Iron Claw―raced 3-wide towards rear, unable to reach contention
15th: (7) Hishi Cosmah―sat near rear, never a threat
16th: (16) Ishimatsu―traveled near rear, no factor
Fractional time (sec./furlong): 12.6 - 10.8 - 11.8 - 12.0 - 12.1 - 11.3 - 11.0 - 11.7
Last 4 furlongs: 46.1 Last 3 furlongs: 34.0