By Nicholas Godfrey
Japan: The brilliant Contrail (Yoshito Yahagi/Yuichi Fukunaga) returned with an effortless victory at Chukyo on Sunday to take his career record to six out of six in the Kobe Shimbun Hai.
The son of Deep Impact will now bid to become the eighth winner of the Japanese Triple Crown in the Kikuka Sho (St Leger) at Kyoto racecourse on October 25.
Running for the first time since May 31 when he added the Tokyo Yushun (Derby) to his Satsuki Sho (2,000 Guineas) triumph, Contrail was sent off a 1-10 favourite against 17 opponents in this G2 contest.
He settled in mid-division and was always travelling well within himself before being angled out in the straight and delivered between horses by Yuichi Fukunaga.
Contrail duly eased his way to the front and pulled away before being allowed to coast home under a hand ride as those behind flailed about chasing minor places.
The battle for second went to old rival Weltreisende, a 20-1 chance here against the new superstar of Japanese racing. He is a regular victim of Contrail, having also been runner-up in the G1 Hopeful Stakes at two and the Satsuki Sho.
Worth a total of ¥105 million (£780,000), the Kobe Shimbun Hai is a designated trial for the Japanese St Leger. The 1m3f event was won by both Deep Impact (2005) and Orefvre (2011), the two most recent Triple Crown winners, en route to winning the Kikuka Sho.
• Visit the Japan Racing Association website