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Jantar Mantar Shines as the Top Runner in NHK Mile Cup

Piloted by Yuga Kawada, the dark bay colt kicked it into gear in the NHK Mile Cup and grabbed the lead before the 200-meter pole en route to victory.

Jantar Mantar displayed a strong run to rule the 29th NHK Mile Cup and took home his second Grade 1 trophy on Sunday, May 5 at Tokyo Racecourse. 

Undefeated in three starts in 2023, included victories in the Daily Hai Nisai Stakes (G2, 1,600 meters) and the Asahi Hai Futurity Stakes (G1,1,600 meters), the son of Palace Malice was named Japan's Best Two-Year-Old Colt of 2023. 

Jantar Mantar kicked off his 3-year-old campaign with a runner-up finish in the Kyodo News Hai (G3, 1,800 meters) on February 11. In addition, he was coming off a third-place finish in the Satsuki Sho (Japanese 2000 Guineas, G1, 2,000 meters) on April 14. 

For both trainer Tomokazu Takano and jockey Yuga Kawada, this is their first Japan Racing Association G1 victory since the Asahi Hai Futurity Stakes on December 17, 2023. Takano is now the proud owner of seven G1 titles while Kawada now boasts 27.

NH Mile Cup
Jantar Mantar leads the pack in the 29th running of the NHK Mile Cup. (KYODO)

How Jantar Mantar Secured the NHK Mile Cup Victory

Jantar Mantar broke sharply from the 16th stall and was settled in around fifth, next to the race favorite in the backstretch, before gradually making headway after the third corner to hit the straight in third. 

After a tenacious climb up the stretch hill, the dark bay colt kicked into gear, took over the front before the 200-meter pole and charged home in a comfortable 2½-length victory. (Watch the race on the JRA's YouTube channel.)

Jantar Mantar, the second favorite, completed the race in 1 minute, 32.4 seconds, a full second behind the race record set by Danon Chantilly in 2010.

NHK Mile Cup
Winning jockey Yuga Kawada comments on the race moments after it concluded. (©SANKEI)

“I had every confidence in my colt," Kawada said. "Once we were off, I knew he was going to win, there were no doubts in my mind. He ran in a good rhythm and showed his true strength. Concerns of his tight schedule — his latest Satsuki Sho start being only three weeks before — obviously was nothing to be worried about.

"I hope I can prove he is the best miler in Japan in the future.”

In 2022, Kawada won the NHK Mile Cup for the first time aboard Danon Scorpion.

NHK Mile Cup
Jantar Mantar (right) and Ascoli Piceno (second from right) vie for victory in the NHK Mile Cup. (©SANKEI)

Ascoli Piceno Earns a Runner-Up Finish

Race favorite Ascoli Piceno, Japan's 2023 Best Two-Year-Old Filly, secured an early position in fifth to sixth before making her bid rounding the final turns with much left in the tank but found herself trapped behind horses in early stretch.

Under jockey Christophe Lemaire, who just made his comeback after recovering from injuries sustained on March 30 in Dubai, the Daiwa Major filly struggled for room and clipped heels. But she found her stride once on a clear path along the rails near the 200-meter marker and surged from there with good speed to earn a second-place finish.

Tenth choice Logi Leon (Keita Tosaki's ride) ran around eighth behind the top two favorites, met traffic at the top of the stretch but found an opening at the 400-meter pole and launched a strong charge. While unable to cut the gap with the winner, Logi Leon was pinned by the fast-closing runner-up just before the wire, but still secured third place by a neck. 

Fourth favorite Gonbade Qabus, guided by Brazilian Joao Moreira, placed fourth.

Ipheion (Atsuya Nishimura) was fifth, finishing 1¾ lengths behind Gonbade Qabus.

Third favorite Bond Girl, ridden by three-time NHK Mile Cup winner Yutaka Take, finished next-to-last in the 18-horse field.

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A Look Ahead

The G1 Victoria Mile will be held on May 12 at Tokyo Racecourse.

Read the full report with details on each of the NHK Mile Cup entrants on JRA News.


Author: JRA News


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