Winner of the Asahi Hai Futurity Stakes, Admire Mars captured his second G1 title in this year’s NHK Mile Cup after being sent off second favorite. The 2018 Best Two-Year-Old Colt claimed four out of four at the mile last season, and was second in the Kyodo News Service Hai (G3, 1,800m) and fourth in his latest start, the Satsuki Sho (Japanese 2000 Guineas, G1, 2,000m), this year. For trainer Yasuo Tomomichi, following his latest G1 triumph in the Asahi Hai Futurity Stakes with the colt, this becomes his 11th JRA-G1 victory and second NHK Mile Cup title—his first was in 2015 with Clarity Sky. Jockey Mirco Demuro now boasts 29th JRA-G1 wins—his latest was in the Hopeful Stakes with Saturnalia last December.
A touch late at the start breaking from a wide gate, Admire Mars traveled three to four-wide in mid division in the backstretch and swerved out to a farther position with nearly half of the field still to beat entering the straight. The Daiwa Major chestnut fought hard against a six to seven-horse rally down the long Tokyo straight under steady right-hand encouragement from Demuro and finally burst through 100 meters out while holding off a good challenge from Cadence Call and Catedral to claim the title.
“Our draw was wide, his start wasn’t so good and we had to race in a lower position than hoped, but he just hates to lose—once another runner came up next to him, he found his second wind. He’s truly an amazing miler,” said Mirco Demuro after the race.
Breaking smoothly from the widest stall and next to Admire Mars, Cadence Call was reserved in fourth to fifth from the rear. Still near the rear in upper-stretch, the Lord Kanaloa colt was switched to an outer path to avoid traffic and from there, unleashed the fastest stretch run to catch all but the winner a half-length behind in second.
Catedral sat in fourth to fifth close to Cadence Call earlier and as the eventual top two finishers took a wide path towards the finish line, the Heart’s Cry bay split horses 150 meters out while displaying the second fastest last three-furlong run but was a nose short at the wire for third.Race favorite Gran Alegria was off a bit slow, sat in fourth and entered the lane behind a wall of horses in seventh to eighth. After bumping Danon Chaserwhile shifting out for a clear path two furlongs out, the Oka Sho (Japanese 1000 Guineas) winner couldn’t find her best stride but dug in gamely to clear the wire in fourth, but was demoted to fifth because of interference to a rival.
Other Horses :
4th: (3) Danon Chaser - ran in 6th along rails, bumped by favorite 400m out, responded inside winner, finished
5th and promoted to 4th
6th: (8) Val d’Isere - sat in mid-pack, angled out at early stretch, passed tired rivals
7th: (14) Happy Hour - raced 3-wide 2nd from rear, showed belated charge, tied 2nd fastest over last 3 furlongs
8th: (16) Toya Rito Seito - traveled in front of winner, led briefly, overtaken by late chargers in last 100m
9th: (12) Wide Pharaoh - settled outside favorite, rallied for lead, outrun in last 100m
10th: (6) Groove It - took economic route inside winner, failed to find clear path after entering lane
11th: (5) Meiner Flap - hugged rails in mid-group, showed effort until 100m out
12th: (2) Pourville - chased leaders in 3rd, held well, weakened in last 100m
13th: (13) Fantasist - raced 3-wide in mid-division, even paced
14th: (1) Kurino Gaudi - tracked leader in 2nd, weakened in last 100m
15th: (15) Wittelsbach - saved ground 4th from rear, ran willingly along rails until 200m pole
16th: (4) Iberis - set pace, outrun in last 200m
17th: (9) Mikki Black - trailed in rear, unable to reach contention
18th: (11) Lord Gladio - sat 3rd from rear, never fired