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Horse Racing

In the Asahi Hai Futurity Stakes, Unbeaten Jantar Mantar Dominates en Route to Win

Challenged by rivals in the Asahi Hai Futurity Stakes, the Palace Malice dark bay found another gear in the last 200 meters to pull away and win.

Race favorite Jantar Mantar claimed victory in the 75th running of the Asahi Hai Futurity Stakes on Sunday, December 17 at Hanshin Racecourse.

It was Jamar Mantar's third consecutive win in as many career starts. He becomes the first Palace Malice colt to win a Japan Racing Association Grade 1 title.

Winning his racing debut on October 8 (Kyoto, 1,800 meters), he registered his first graded title in the Daily Hai Nisai Stakes (G2, 1,600 meters) on November 11. 

In the December 17 race, trainer Tomokazu Takano claimed his sixth JRA G1 victory. Before that, his last was in the Mile Championship with Namur a month earlier.

Jockey Yuga Kawada registered his 26th JRA G1 title. This follows his Shuka Sho win with Liberty Island in October. It is his third Asahi Hai Futurity Stakes victory. He also won the race with Danon Premium in 2017 and Grenadier Guards in 2020. 

Asahi Hai Futurity Stakes
Jantar Mantar closes in the victory. (KYODO)

How Jantar Mantar Won the Asahi Hai Futurity Stakes

Jantar Mantar, breaking smoothly from the third stall, settled in mid-division, around seventh, by the rails. He continued to save ground rounding the corners to take command at the top of the stretch in Takarazuka, Hyogo Prefecture. 

Though challenged by rivals in the straight, the Palace Malice dark bay found another gear in the last 200 meters to pull away. In the end, he managed to hold off the fast-closing Ecoro Walz before the wire to prevail by 1¼ lengths. (Watch the race on the JRA's YouTube channel.) 

Asahi Hai Futurity Stakes
Winning jockey Yuga Kawada (KYODO)

"I urged him to go a bit earlier than planned as it didn't seem like we were going to get a clear path," Kawada said after the race. "He has a good character and he's a highly capable horse, so I think he will continue to grow and I look forward to his future races."

Jantar Mantar completed the race in 1 minute, 33.8 seconds.

Asahi Hai Futurity Stakes
Another view of the race's conclusion. (ⒸSANKEI)

Ecoro Walz Makes a Super Late Charge

Breaking from the innermost stall, fourth choice Ecoro Walz, guided by Yutaka Take, eased back to trail in the rear, angled out entering the lane, and, though still trailing in the very rear at the 200-meter pole, launched a tremendous late charge to pass all his rivals but the winner for a runner-up seat. 

Fifth pick Tagano Elpida (Taisei Danno) broke sharply to chase the leaders in third. He circled wide, and while unable to keep up with the winner, sustained the bid to rally for a runner-up spot. But he was denied by Ecoro Walz just before the wire to finish third, a neck behind the runner-up. 

June Take (Mirco Demuro) placed fourth and Tagano Dude (Yoshihiro Furukawa) was fifth.

Second favorite Strauss (Tom Marquand) finished 10th in the 17-horse field.

Read about all of the race's participants in this expanded report on JRA News.

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