Three-year-old Blast Onepiece captures first G1 title in Arima Kinen

The three-year-old’s struck again in Japan with Blast Onepiece (JPN), the only three-year-old in the field, beat his senior Grade 1 rivals in this year’s 63rd renewal of the Grade 1 Arima Kinen (2500m) at Nakayama on Sunday, December 23rd, 2018, emulating the feat of three-year-old filly Almond Eye in the Grade 1 Japan Cup (2400m) in November.

Before a crowd of over 100,000 the third favourite Blast Onepiece made a clean break from barrier eight and travelled wide in the middle of the field running seventh from the leader Kiseki (JPN).

The son of Harbinger made an early bid from around 600 meters out. The colt secured a clear path turning through the last two corners wide on the track and then produced a strong charge in the final uphill section of the main straight.

Blast Onepiece, out of the King Kamehameha mare Tsurumaru Onepiece, overtook Kiseki less than 100 meters out holding off the strong surge by the race favourite Rey de Oro (JPN) to claim his first Grade 1 title.

The win was also trainer Masahiro Otake’s first Grade 1 title and his tenth JRA grade-race win since opening his stable in 2009. This win also marked jockey Kenichi Ikezoe’s 24th JRA-Grade 1 title following his Oka Sho (Japanese 1000 Guineas) win with Reine Minoru last year and a record-high fourth Arima Kinen title following his win with Dream Journey in 2009 and Orfevre in 2011 and 2013.

“As I had drawn a middle gate I was a bit worried of being caught between horses so I settled him toward the outside. He ran well and though we were closed in by the race favourite at the end, he held on really well. I have been telling everyone that he is a Grade 1 horse and I am happy that I was able to prove it,” commented Kenichi Ikezoe.

Rey de Oro (King Kamehameha) with Christophe Lemaire travelled wide, around ninth from the front and behind Blast Onepiece. He made a powerful late charge that was timed as the fastest last three furlongs of the field, but was a neck short at the wire to finish second.

Ninth choice Cheval Grand (JPN) (Heart’s Cry) under Hugh Bowman eased back towards the rear after breaking smoothly from stall 15 and eventually settled around 11th from the front, eyeing Rey de Oro on the left. Cheval Grand ran well behind Rey de Oro after entering the main straight to secure third place.

Blast Onepiece, bred by Northern Farm, has won five of his seven starts and earned stakes of ¥438,508,000 for owners Silk Racing Co.

The Arima Kinen (The Grand Prix) was the final Grade 1 of the Japanese 2018 year. The Arima fell on the last official celebration of the birthday of the current emperor was the last Grade 1 of the Heisei Era.