Kyoto held the 40th running of the Group 1 Queen Elizabeth II Cup (2200m) for fillies and mares on Sunday, November 15th, with the Takashi Kubota trained four-year-old Marialite (JPN) under jockey Masayoshi Ebin winning in her first Group 1 race.
It was also a memorable first Group 1 victory for Kubota who opened his stable in 2003 and his first grade-race title in six years and sixth career grade-race title overall. The win was the first for Ebina in the Queen Elizabeth Stakes and his 24th career JRA Group 1 win.
Marialite, by Deep Impact, won over the Heart’s Cry mare Nuovo (JPN) with Deep Impact filly Touching Speech (JPN) third.
The Queen Elizabeth II Cup, formally known as the Queen Elizabeth II Commemorative Cup until 2012, was established in 1976 to facilitate friendly relations between Japan and England, in commemoration of Her Excellency’s visit to Japan in 1975.
The race initially started as a 2,400-meter race and the last leg of the “Triple Crown for three-year-old fillies”, but became a 2,200-meter race for fillies and mares of three-year-old and up from 1996.
The following Sunday the course was witness to the running of the 32nd Group 1 Mile Championship (1600m) and the Noriyuki Hori trained Maurice (JPN) won to make it two consecutive Group 1 wins and a five-race winning sequence.
The son of Screen Hero became the 10th horse to win both the Yasuda Kinen and the Mile Championship, the sixth to do so in the same year following Daiwa Major in 2007.
It was Hori's ninth JRA Group 1 victory following the colt’s Yasuda Kinen title and Ryan Moore, who is racing in Japan under a short-term license, marked his fifth JRA Group 1 win following the Asahi Hai Futurity Stakes title he achieved with Asia Express in 2013.
Tokyo now hosts the the Group 1 Japan Cup in association with Longines (2400m) on November 29th.
There are a further four Group 1 races in December.