Japan: Gold Dream takes prestigious February Stakes

Gold Dream earns a place in the Breeders' Cup Classic with Tokyo success

PICTURE: Masakazu Takahashi Prestigious February
win for Gold Dream By nicholas godfrey 12:23pM 19 FEB 2017

Report: Japan, Sunday

Tokyo: February Stakes (Grade 1) 1m, dirt, 4yo+

WITH Ryan Moore's mount Moanin disappointing, second favourite Gold Dream (Mirco Demuro/Osamu Hirata) held off his rivals in the stretch to claim the February Stakes, the most prestigious dirt race of the Japanese winter-spring calendar.

The 210 million yen (£1.5m) event is generally regarded as Japan's principal trial for the Dubai World Cup, and it also forms part of the Breeders' Cup Challenge, offering a guaranteed starting spot in the $6m contest at Del Mar in November.

That place goes to Gold Dream, a four-year-old son of stallion Gold Allure, who reportedly died of heart failure on Saturday.

The 4-1 shot won his first race at the top level after racing in mid-division and then floating out wide before hitting the front just before the furlong marker. "He responded beautifully in the straight," said winning jockey Demuro. "He still had a lot left at the end."

He held Best Warrior by a neck, with market leader Kafuji Take finishing fast to take third a further three-quarters away.

Last year's winner Moanin could finish only 12th, two places ahead of veteran dirt star Copano Rickey, who won the race in 2014 1nd 2015.

Epicharis (Kiyoshi Hagiwara/Christophe Lemaire) who stalked the leaders in fourth on the inside chased to beat the leader Adirato

Epicharis (right) defeats Adirato in the Hyacinth Stakes

PICTURE: Masakazu Takahashi

Also on Sunday

Tokyo: Hyacinth Stakes (Listed) 1m, dirt, 3yo

Hot favourite Epicharis (Kiyoshi Hagiwara/Christophe Lemaire) took his unbeaten record to four as he scored by three-quarters of a length over Adirato.

The winner, like Gold Dream a son of Gold Allure, earned a guaranteed place in the starting gate as a result of his victory. "He has enough speed to race forwardly so I think he could challenge for big races in the US," said Lemaire.

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