Third Leg of the Global Sprint Challenge at Chukyo, Japan
Odds-on-favorite Big Arthur (JPN), who has been made the race favourite in ten out of 11 career starts, measured up to the expectation of the fans by claiming his first grade-race title in his first Grade 1 challenge with a record time in the 46th Takamatsunomiya Kinen (1200m) at Chukyo Japan, on Sunday, the Third Leg of the Global Sprint Challenge.
Five-year-old Big Arthur broke smoothly from barrier four and settled in fourth behind the fast pace set by Laurel Veloce with Hakusan Moon and Mikki Isle in close pursuit. Turning wide through the corners, the son of Sakura Bakushin O burst out behind Mikki Isle who was in the lead at the 200m mark.
Big Arthur, racing in the middle of the track, showed a turn of foot to overtake Mikki Isle with 100m to run and then going away to be the winner with a 3/4 length margin.
The 1200m was covered in a new course record time of 1:06.7 on the Good rated track with the final 600m in 33.4.
Trainer Kenichi Fujioka claimed his first JRA-Grade 1 title and ninth grade-race win since opening his stable in 2002. Yuichi Fukunaga, who partnered with Big Arthur for the first time, marked his 19th JRA-Grade 1 win following his Tenno Sho (Autumn) victory with Just a Way in 2013 and his second Takamatsunomiya Kinen title, which he won with Sunningdale in 2004.