THE favourite Hatano Vainqueur (Mitsugu Kon/Hirofumi Shii) took his unbeaten record on dirt to five when taking the Japan Dirt Derby, the highlight of the spring season for three-year-olds.
The son of King Kamehameha, who has won five of his seven races altogether, caught Trip on the line.
Jockey Hirofumi Shii said: "I am very relieved because we were the favourite - and because he doesn't usually starts slowly, I am always worried very time we race.
"But I thought there would be a slowish pace in this 2,000- metre race so we had to be near the leaders and then make our move at the home turn.
"His last spurt was better than I expected so I was delighted," added Shii. "The level of this year's three-year-old dirt horses is high so I hope we can do it again next time."