Japan


In late March the Hong Kong based Paul O’Sullivan trained Aerovelocity (NZ) travelled to Japan and in historical fashion won the 45th running of the Group 1 Takamatsunomiya Kinen (1200m) at Chukyo, his second Group 1 win after his move to the world stage in the Group 1 Longines Hong Kong Sprint (1200m) at Sha Tin in December.

The win by O’Sullivan in the 2015 Takamatsunomiya Kinen, the Japanese Sprint Champion Title and the third leg of the Global Sprint Challenge, was all the more remarkable as it was the second Group 1 win in Japan by the trainer after he and his father Dave won the 1989 Japan Cup at Toyko with the New Zealand mare Horlicks.

Aerovelocity under Zac Purton was just the third foreign contender, and the first in 12 years, to start in the Takamatsunomiya Kinen. It was Hong Kong’s current champion jockey Purton’s first JRA Group 1 win at his third attempt.

Japanese trainer Noriyuki Hori created his own piece of racing history as the only trainer to win the Group 1 double of the Satsuki Sho, Japanese 2000 Guineas, at Nakayama Racecourse on April 19th and the George Ryder Stakes at Rosehill on March 28th with Real Impact.

The win by Duramente in the Satsuki Sho, the first leg of the Japanese Triple Crown, was Hori's first Classic title and sixth JRA Group 1 title, while jockey Mirco Demuro claimed his first Group 1 victory since becoming a regular JRA jockey in March.

It was Demuro’s fourth Satsuki Sho win, which places him as the only jockey to have won as many Satsuki Sho titles.