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Horse Racing

Victoria Mile Winner Ten Happy Rose Gives Jockey Akihide Tsumura His 1st G1 Victory

Ten Happy Rose, the 14th favorite in the 15-horse field, took the lead late in the Victoria Mile and held on for a 1¼-length victory over Fierce Pride.

It's been said that good things come to those who wait. And the satisfaction of achieving a major goal can be an intensely emotional experience as Victoria Mile winner Akihide Tsumura demonstrated on Sunday, May 12.

Tsumura rode 14th favorite Ten Happy Rose to a 1¼-length victory in the 19th Victoria Mile at Tokyo Racecourse to earn the first Japan Racing Association Grade 1 triumph of his 21-year jockey career.

Sunday's marquee thoroughbred event in the nation's capital was a dynamic performance for the Epiphaneia-sired 6-year-old, who completed the 1,600 meters in 1 minute, 31.8 seconds.

Just ask Tsumura.

"From the start to the final turn, things went as I had hoped before the race, but I didn't think I'd be in front with 200 meters left," Tsumura, 38, said after the race. "That final furlong felt so long."

He added, "I've finally won a G1 [race]. But I don't want this to be the last; I want to experience again that roar from the crowd coming back after the race."

Victoria Mile
Jockey Akihide Tsumura reacts after winning the 19th Victoria Mile aboard Ten Happy Rose. (KYODO)

Summing up the joy he experienced on Sunday, Tsumura added, "When we were actually leading in the last 200 meters, it was almost unbelievable. I am grateful for the fans that have been rooting for me and I hope this is just the start of more victories like this."

For trainer Daisuke Takayanagi, Sunday's G1 victory was his second overall and first since the 2021 Champions Cup with T O Keynes.

Victoria Mile
The 19th running of the Victoria Mile. (©SANKEI)

How the 19th Victoria Mile Unfolded

Kizuna-sired Conch Shell was the frontrunner for much of the race. But the 4-year-old filly, with Mirai Iwata handling the reins, slowed down as the runners approached the final furlong (just over 200 meters).

Ten Happy Rose overcame a slow start, running fourth from the rear after the first 400 meters were completed, but made steady progress after that. She moved past Conch Shell with a late burst of speed to secure the victory in the 15-horse race featuring fillies and mares ages 4 and up. (Watch the Victoria Mile on the JRA's YouTube channel.)

During the exciting final stretch of the race, as a spirited crowd of 37,619 spectators cheered for the horses, fourth favorite Fierce Pride (Christophe Lemaire's ride) chased Ten Happy Rose. But like the other entrants, Fierce Pride didn't pass Ten Happy Rose before the final wire.

Victoria Mile
Ten Happy Rose closes in on a victory in the 19th Victoria Mile. (KYODO)

Race favorite Masked Diva (Joao Moreira) finished third, a neck's length behind Fierce Pride.

Doe Eyes, the 11th favorite ridden by Katsuma Sameshima, placed fourth, a further neck's length adrift.

Another longshot, 13th favorite Rouge Lignage (Kazuo Yokoyama), came in fifth, a half-length behind Doe Eyes.

Second favorite Namur (Yutaka Take) placed eighth. Third favorite Umbrail (Yuga Kawada) finished sixth.

A Look Ahead

The JRA continues its spring G1 racing season with the Yushun Himba (Japanese Oaks), a 2,400-meter race for 3-year-old fillies, on Sunday, May 19 at Tokyo Racecourse. It is the second leg of the Fillies' Triple Crown.

It's just a shoe!

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Author: Ed Odeven

Find Ed on JAPAN Forward's dedicated website, SportsLook. Follow his [Japan Sports Notebook] on Sundays, [Odds and Evens] during the week, and X (formerly Twitter) @ed_odeven.

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