By Nicholas Godfrey
Japan: Gran Alegria (Kazuo Fujisawa/Christophe Lemaire) produced another explosive performance to win the Sprinters Stakes, Japan’s most prestigious sprint, with a devastating burst from nearly last on Sunday at Nakayama.
Last year’s Oka Sho (Japanese 1,000 Guineas) winner in record time, the daughter of Deep Impact is developing a reputation for spectacular displays, having lowered Almond Eye’s colours in the Yasuda Kinen over a mile in June on her most recent outing.
That performance – after 13 months in which she had been campaigned exclusively in sprints – also featured a charge from well back.
As impressive as it was, however, it wasn’t quite as eyecatching as Gran Alegria’s Sprinters Stakes effort as the four-year-old overwhelmed her tiring rivals in the 6f event.
Sent off 6-5 favourite in a 16-runner field for the ¥281.8m (£2.07m) contest, she had just one horse behind her as she fanned wide into the straight before mowing down her opponents.
“I can’t believe how strong she is,” said winning rider Christophe Lemaire. “She was a little slow to get into the rhythm and we were much further back than expected but we did not panic as the pace was fast.
“In a normal situation we may not have made it but she certainly showed what she is made of and she just carried on while some of the front-runners started to weaken.”
They had gone too fast up front but this looked a brilliant effort nonetheless as Gran Alegria won going away by two lengths from top sprinter Danon Smash in the manner of a performer right out of the top drawer. After a closing sectional timed at 33.6s, the final time was 1m08.3s.
• Visit the Japan Racing Association website