By Nicholas Godfrey
Tokyo: Yasuda Kinen G1 ¥252.2m (£1.63m) 1m, turf, 3yo+
Danon Kingly (Kiyoshi Hagiwara/Yuga Kawada)
Odds-on favourite Gran Alegria was thwarted by longshot Danon Kingly after a desperate unge to the line for the Yasuda Kinen at Tokyo racecourse on Sunday.
Three weeks after her brilliant Victoria Mile triumph, Gran Alegria was made 1-2 favourite in a field featuring six G1 winners for the prestigious metric mile, in which she had floored the great Almond Eye 12 months previously. If she had won, she might well have claimed top spot on the Thoroughbred Racing Commentary’s exclusive Global Rankings.
However, things didn’t go entirely to plan as the five-year-old found herself behind a wall of horses in the stretch before bursting through inside the final furlong.
Even so, Gran Alegria looked set to claim her sixth G1 victory but she just failed to get up, edged out by 47-1 chance Danon Kingly, who held on for his first top-level success by a head on his first outing for seven months. The result was another one-two for progeny of the legendary Deep Impact.
In a tight finish, three-year-old Schnell Meister was a half-length behind Gran Alegria in third, while the 2019 Indy Champ was another neck behind after hitting the front with 200 yards to go.
Last seen down the field in the Tenno Sho (Autumn) in November, Danon Kingly has won six of his 12 career starts including three at lesser graded level. However, he had waited a long time for his first G1 win, having been placed in both the Satsuki Sho (Japanese 2,000 Guineas) and Tokyo Yushun (Derby) as a three-year-old in 2019.
He raced in mid-division and was nearer last than first as they turned into the straight before a determined final effort for hsi first win since the G2 Nakayama Kinen in March 2020.
‟He felt a bit tense at first but he found a good rhythm and I had plenty of horse left,” commented jockey Yuga Kawada. “He responded just as I hoped at the last turn and ran well after that. Although he hasn’t been able to put in the best results in the past, he has definitely shown his true ability today and I’m happy to have been a part of it.”
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