By Nicholas Godfrey
Tokyo: Victoria Mile G1 ¥226.8m (£1.47m) 1,600 metres (1m), turf, 4yo+ f/m
Gran Alegria (Kazuo Fujisawa/Christophe Lemaire)
Superstar racemare Gran Alegria recorded the fifth G1 victory of a brilliant career in sensational fashion as she sped away for an effortless four-length victory over an 18-runner field in the Victoria Mile.
Having failed to thrive stepped up to 1m2f on her previous outing, the hugely talented sprinter-miler cut back in trip with breathtaking effect as she bounded away under Christophe Lemaire to claim the ¥226.8m (£1.47m) event at Tokyo racecourse.
Sent off 3-10 favourite, Gran Alegria raced just worse than mid-division before sauntering into contention out wide in the long Tokyo straight. With just a little urging, she overwhelmed her rivals before scoring in a time of 1m31.0s from 74-1 longshot Rambling Alley, with Magic Castle a further neck away in third to complete a 1-2-3 for progeny of the late, lamented Deep Impact.
Winner of the Oka Sho (Japanese 1,000 Guineas) as a three-year-old, Gran Alegria compiled a memorable G1 hat-trick in 2020 with a series of fantastic displays, beating Almond Eye in the Yasuda Kinen before a last-to-first victory in the Sprinters Stakes and then displaying a stunning turn of foot in the Mile Championship.
“She was very strong as we had all expected,” commented Lemaire. “She’s not a very good starter so we settled in mid-division but she raced in a good rhythm.
“After I took her to the outside entering the lane, she showed a remarkable response and geared up on her own,” the four-time JRA champion jockey went on. “She showed that she’s at a different level than her competitors and will probably win more G1 titles going forward.”
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