Daring Tact despair as 226-1 longshot Gibeon holds on for massive upset in Kinko Sho

Horse Racing Gibeon Kinko Sho Daring Tact
Gibeon (Atsuya Nishimura, far side) holds on to stun Daring Tact in G2 Kinko Sho. Photo: Japan Racing Association

By Nicholas Godfrey

Chukyo (March 14): Kinko Sho G2 ¥128,700,000 (£848,000) 1m2f, turf, 4yo+
Gibeon (Hideaki Fujiwara/Atsuya Nishimura)

The Kinko Sho, a major prep race for all the G1 skirmishes coming up over the next couple of months, ended in a massive shock result as 226-1 shot Gibeon – a six-year-old winless since his three-year-old days – stunned odds-on favourite Daring Tact to claim the ¥128m prize.

Jockeys riding the beaten horses – Daring Tact’s partner Kohei Matsuyama high among them – will be asking themselves some serious questions after Gibeon was able to make all, hugging a golden rail (after the ground dried out) before scooting off the final bend.

Daring Tact raced in mid-division and was travelling easily, only to lose a few lengths off the turn as she was forced to fan out five horses wide.

Such manoeuvres are hardly rare in Japanese racing, and perhaps the 2-5 favourite’s response wasn’t as electric as her jockey would have hoped on her seasonal debut. But the fact remains that Matsuyama engaged panic mode to make up the lost ground with a rat-a-tat whip flourish and bouncing around the saddle.

She responded – but not fast enough, as a despairing late lunge failed to grab the leader and last year’s fillies’ Triple Crown winner suffered only the second defeat of her life by a neck. 

Final times was 2m01.8s; also among those also caught out were a handful of fellow G1 winners, such as Glory Vase (fourth), Kiseki (fifth) and Persian Knight (eighth) – though it must be stressed that none of them, like Daring Tact, would have been treating this race as an end in itself.

Nevertheless, this was a massive shock, resulting in a win dividend equivalent to 226.3-1 – reportedly the sixth biggest JRA graded-race dividend since 1986. 

Making his third appearance in the Kinko Sho (sixth and fourth previously), Gibeon was a longshot for good reason. He hadn’t won a race of any sort – indeed, he hadn’t made the first three – since December 2018, and that was a minor G3 handicap.

Interestingly, in retrospect at least, that victory came over Sunday’s course and distance and he did at least have the benefit of a previous outing in 2021 – where the son of Deep Impact came fifth at 39-1 in a non-graded event.

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