Fourth favorite Graceful Leap claimed this year’s JBC Sprint, registering his 12th win, all on dirt over distances between 1,200 and 1,400 meters—notable victories include the 2016 Summer Champion, 2017 Korea Sprint, 2018 Hyogo Gold Trophy and Tokyo Sprint. It was the first JBC Sprint title for both trainer Shinsuke Hashiguchi and jockey Christophe Lemaire.
Graceful Leap stayed close to the pace in fourth, increased his speed as two of the foes in front were quick to tire before the final turn. The eight-year-old chestnut closed in on the leader, dueled and crossed the wire a neck in front for the title.
“We were able to secure a perfect spot behind Take (on Matera Sky) and from there the horse gave a great effort,” commented Christophe Lemaire.
Race favorite Matera Sky immediately rushed for the lead from a smooth break and made the pace. The son of Speightstown led along the rails and sustained his bid up to the final strides where he was pinned down by the eventual winner and missed by a neck in second.
Fifth choice Kitasan Mikazuki, who had beaten both the winner and the race favorite in his previous start, was rated near the rails in mid-field and exerted an impressive turn of speed to reach contention but unable to reach the top two who had already gained a comfortable lead from the rest of the field.
THE 18TH JBC SPRINT
3-year-old & up, 1,200 meters (about 6 furlongs), dirt, right-handed
Sunday, November 4, 2018 Kyoto Racecourse 10th Race Post time: 15:01
Total prize money: ¥ 152,200,000 (about US$ 1,384,000 <US$1=¥110>)
1. Graceful Leap (JPN), chestnut, horse, 8-year-old
Gold Allure / Rabbit Foot (Seeking the Gold)
Owner: Shinji Maeda Breeder: North Hills Co,. Ltd.
Trainer: Shinsuke Hashiguchi Jockey: Christophe Lemaire
44 Starts, 12 Wins
Added money: ¥ 73,360,000 Career earnings: ¥ 373,893,100
2. Matera Sky (USA), chestnut, colt, 4-year-old
Speightstown / Mostaqeleh (Rahy)
Owner: Tsuyoshi Ono Breeder: Lynch Bages LTD
Trainer: Hideyuki Mori Jockey: Yutaka Take
3. Kitasan Mikazuki (JPN), bay, horse, 8-year-old
King Halo / Kitasan Jewelry (Sakura Bakushin O)
Owner: Ono Shoji Breeder: Ono Shoji
Trainer: Kenji Sato Jockey: Taito Mori
Other Horses: 4th: (14) Moanin—raced 3-wide toward rear, showed impressive late charge in last 100m
5th: (13) Let’s Go Donki—settled 4th from rear, accelerated in stretch, rallied well for 4th, outrun in final strides
6th: (3) King’s Guard—raced on rails near rear, angled out at last turn, struggled for room, accelerated belatedly
7th: (15) T O Helios—broke sharply, raced in mid-division, remained factor up to mid-stretch, showed little in last half furlong
8th: (2) Nishiken Mononofu—hugged rails 5th from rear, accelerated but lacked closing speed in last half furlong
9th: (7) Win Mut—broke well, driven in backstretch, stalked pace, entered straight in 3rd, tired
10th: (12) Love Bullet—broke sharply, took 4-wide trip throughout, 4th to hit stretch, weakened
11th: (1) Nero—hugged rails in mid-division, never reached contention
12th: (16) Nobo Baccara—trailed in rear, made bid after turning widest, third fastest last 3 furlongs
13th: (11) Ensemble Life—raced 2nd from rear, unable to reach contention
14th: (9) Seiun Kosei—mid-division, edged forward traveling 3-wide, even paced.
15th: (8) Nac Venus—rated 6th from front, hugged rails turning the corners, faded in last 200m
16th: (10) Nobu Wild—broke well, traveled wide in 3rd, failed to respond in stretch
Fractional time (sec./furlong): 12.1 - 10.6 - 11.0 - 11.6 - 12.1 - 13.0 Last 4 furlongs: 47.7 Last 3 furlongs: 36.7