By Nicholas Godfrey
Hanshin: Asahi Hai Futurity G1 ¥152m (£1.09m) 1m, turf, 2yo
Grenadier Guards (Mitsumasa Nakauchida/Yuga Kawada)
Japan: Frankel claimed his third G1 winner in Japan – and his 12th in total – as Grenadier Guards broke the track record at Hanshin to claim the nation’s most prestigious two-year-old contest, the Asahi Hai Futurity.
Grenadier Guards shed his maiden tag last month at the same venue before being sent off a 16-1 shot for Sunday’s race. He chased five-length leader Mondreise, who set a rapid early pace, before assuming control 200 yards out, after which he had enough in hand to hold off Stella Veloce.
Grenadier Guards is bred in the purple – as well as being by the legendary Frankel, who stands at Juddmonte’s Newmarket base, Banstead Manor, he is out of the Breeders’ Cup winner Wavell Avenue. Having stopped the clock in 1m32.3s to establish a new track record for 1,600m at Hanshin, the colt follows Soul Stirring and Mozu Ascot in becoming a JRA G1 winner for his legendary sire.
Claiming third place another length and a half away and never able to lay a glove on the winner was favourite Red Belle Aube.
Winning rider Yuga Kuwada was recording his first G1 success for more than 12 months. “My concern was to keep him happy and in a good rhythm because he is difficult and can run off like he did in his second career outing so you have to be careful to keep him controlled,” he said.
“He has great potential if he can bring out his best and I am looking forward for another good season for him next year.”
Trainer Mitsumasa Nakauchida was landing his third JRA G1 victory, all of them with two-year-olds after Danon Premium in the same race in 2017 and Danon Fantasy in the 2018 Hanshin Juvenile Fillies.
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