The hot favourite Oju Chosan (Shoichiro Wada/Shinichi Ishigami) needed every yard of the 2m4½f Grade 1 Nakayama Daishogai, catching the 2015 winner and runaway leader Up To Date in the final strides.
With half a circuit to run Up To Date had the best part of 15 lengths on Oju Chosan, who was clear of the rest, but gradually he reeled in the leader, whose late rally was not enough to deny Oju Chosan a second win in the race.
His jockey Ishigami said: "I am relieved after winning safely. I knew everyone expected my horse to win and never thought he would lose today. So I am now relieved. That makes me the most winning steeplechase jockey of this year so I would like to say thanks to the super horse Oju Chosan."