Japan: Arc hope Satono Diamond strikes on return
Satono Diamond: will be aimed at the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe
PICTURE: Masakazu Takahashi Arc hope Diamond strikes on return By Masakazu Takahashi 10:02AM 19 MAR 2017
Report: Japan, Sunday
Hanshin: Hanshin Daishoten (Grade 2) 1m7f, turf, 4yo+
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SATONO DIAMOND (Yasutoshi Ikee/Christophe Lemaire), Japan's number one Arc contender for 2017, made no mistake as he kicked off his four-year-old campaign with victory in the Hanshin Daishoten.
Sent off 1-10 favourite, the Arima Kinen winner raced towards the rear of the field before making smooth progress around the outside heading into the final turn.
Challenging four wide in the straight, the son of the great Deep Impact easily mastered the 2016 winner Cheval Grand to claim the 128,700,000 yen (about £920,000) event by a length and a half.
"Satono Diamond feels strong again this year," said winning rider Christophe Lemaire. "He's an excellent horse with both speed and stamina, and he's grown up. He won easily but as this was his first race for three months, I think he'll be even better next time."
After being edged out by Makahiki in last year's Tokyo Yushun (Japanese Derby), Satono Diamond won the Kikuka Sho (St Leger) and the Arima Kinen, the season-ending grand prix, after which trainer Ikee announced that the Arc would be his main target as a four-year-old. His next race will be the Tenno Sho (Spring).
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