Four-year-old Mr Melody captured his first G1 title in this year’s Takamatsunomiya Kinen. Debuting in November of his two-year-old season, the Scat Daddy colt marked two wins and two seconds in his first four starts on dirt raced over 1,200 – 1,400 meters. Registering his first graded win in his first start on turf in the Falcon Stakes (G3, 1,400m) at Chukyo Racecourse last March, he has since been raced on turf, including his runner-up effort in the year-end Hanshin Cup (G2, 1,400m) and a seventh in the previous Hankyu Hai (G3, 1,400m) in February. This win marked trainer Hideaki Fujiwara’s 10th JRA-G1 win following last year’s Satsuki Sho (Japanese 2000 Guineas) with Epoca d’Oro and jockey Yuichi Fukunaga’s 23rd JRA-G1 win and third Takamatsunomiya Kinen title following his win with Sunningdale in 2004 and Big Arthur in 2016.
Third pick Mr Melody broke smoothly from stall 3 and settled around fourth, inside Danon Smash. Though meeting traffic entering the lane, the Scat Daddy colt found an open space between horses, surged out behind Seiun Kosei,who had overtaken the front after entering the lane, and briefly dueled with the chestnut but assumed command 150 meters out for his first G1 title.
“He was in good form and I was able to race him as planned. I tried to position him toward the front and was able to find an open space in the lane at the right timing. He’s a capable horse, being able to handle his first G1 1,200-meter race on turf with a win. There are many options for him going forward as he can also cover 1,400 meters as well as dirt surface.”
Quick out of the gate, 12th pick Seiun Kosei immediately led the field and, while overtaken by Mozu Superflare turning the corners, recaptured the front 300 meters out. Though soon overtaken by the eventual winner, the 6-year-old Admire Moon chestnut held on well, holding off the strong challenge by Shonan Anthem, for second place.
Seventeenth pick Shonan Anthem settled in mid-division and was positioned right behind Mr Melodywhen facing the homestretch. The son of Jungle Pocket surged out behind the eventual winner with a powerful drive that marked the second fastest over last three furlongs but was a head short of Seiun Kosei.Race favorite Danon Smash settled within striking distance, around 3-4th from the front, and made bid from the outside entering the homestretch but was unable to reach the top three, finishing 0.2 seconds behind in fourth.
Other Horses :
5th: (5) Teehaff - traveled in mid-pack, met traffic at early stretch, responded well in last 200m
6th: (8) Let’s Go Donki - sat towards rear, accelerated between horses, timed fastest over last 3 furlongs
7th: (16) Dea Regalo - positioned towards rear, circled wide, showed belated late drive
8th: (12) Logi Cry - traveled 3-wide in mid-group, struggled to find clear path, quickened in last 300m
9th: (6) Ares Barows - raced behind eventual winner, boxed in at top of stretch, lacked needed kick
10th: (2) Rhein Spirit - saved ground near winner, found little room at early stretch, showed brief effort
11th: (17) Daimei Fuji - ran 4-wide in mid-division, passed tired rivals after 4th corner
12th: (14) Peisha Felicita - traveled 3-wide in mid-pack, even paced at straight
13th: (11) Hiruno Devaro - trailed in rear, turned wide, failed to respond at stretch
14th: (9) Nac Venus - sat 3-wide in mid-group, unable to reach contention
15th: (15) Mozu Superflare - set pace, led until 300m out, fell back
16th: (18) Daimei Princess - was off slow, raced near rear, circled wide, never a threat
17th: (1) Snow Dragon - settled in mid-division, checked at 3rd corner, no factor
18th: (10) Love Kampf - advanced to 2nd, faded after entering lane