Diamond sparkles in Japan

Satono Diamond made the most of the absence of Makahiki to win the Kikuka Sho (Japanese St Leger) on Sunday.

Satono Diamond (l) won the Japanese St Leger (Copyright of the Japan Racing Association)

The market leader had finished third when odds-on for the Satsuki Sho (Japanese 2000 Guineas) before being beaten a nose by Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe flop Makahiki in the Tokyo Yushun (Japanese Derby).

He was settled in mid-division by Christophe Lemaire who bided his time before gradually edged forward turning wide around the last bends.

Once the field straightened up for home, Satono Diamond unleashed a powerful turn of foot to take control of the race before the furlong pole and accelerated clear, easily holding off the field by two and a half lengths.

"I'm excited and happy to be able to win a classic race for the first time in Japan," said Lemaire.

"The colt was in his best condition and the only concern was the distance (of 3,000 meters).

"But he responded really well in the last stretch so I was quite confident that we will win. He's a top-class horse and will definitely be able to win other Group One races."

It was a 15th JRA Group One victory for trainer Yasutoshi Ikee while Deep Impact became the first sire to land all three legs of the Triple Crown for colts in the same year with each win was provided by a different colt.

He has also become the champion sire of all five classic titles for colts and fillies although this was a first success for the all-conquering stallion over a trip beyond 13 furlongs.

Read More at Sporting Life

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