Oju Chosan made winning his third consecutive Nakayama Grand Jump easy despite facing setbacks earlier this year with minor health problems that forced him to pass up an intended prep start before his history-making challenge in extending his J-G1 winning streak to five and tying Australia’s Karasi Nakayama Grand Jump (2005-2007) in consecutive Nakayama Grand Jump wins.
His dominating victory this year broke the previous race record set Up to Date in 2015 by 3.6 seconds. The talented and speedy jumper now has notched nine consecutive grade-race wins—another JRA record, steeplechase and flat racing combined and is the richest steeplechase horse with a career earnings of 533,073,000 yen, exceeding the previous record held by Gokai (502,244,000 yen).
Both trainer Shoichiro Wada and jockey Shinichi Ishigami claimed their fifth career J-G1 title—all won with Oju Chosan.
Oju Chosan broke smoothly out of gate six and settled nicely along the rails behind Meisho Arawashi who assumed a brief lead over the first obstacle then Up to Date who advanced from the outside to take command approaching the second obstacle (fence no.1).
Up to Date continued to lead the way, a few lengths clear of the rest of the field, up to the big brush fence where the gray was joined by Oju Chosan and Meiner Crop as the three horses cleared the fifth obstacle (no.6) side-by-side and changed hands to the left. Oju Chosan cruised without a hurry a few lengths behind Meiner Crop and Up to Date, who disputed the lead in front, but advanced to second again before the big hedge (no.7) with Meiner Crop and Crans Montana close at his heels as the field changed hands again to the right.
Nihonpiro Baron advanced to third as both Meiner Crop and Crans Montana began to fall behind entering the backstretch towards the tenth obstacle (no.8) but still had much ground to make behind Oju Chosan who had closed in on Up to Date with 800 meters to go and then took over that foe as they cleared the second to last fence (no.9).
Up to Date showed great effort to chase Oju Chosan, clearing the last fence a couple of lengths from the eventual winner, but was no match to the eventual winner who opened the gap with every stride to a staggering 15-lengths victory. Still, the son of Kurofune, while second best to the unbeatable bay, proved a different class from the rest of the field finishing a good nine lengths in front of the third-place finisher.
“He felt really strong today. We gave too much space between ourselves and Up to Date in our last start so the plan this time was to stay within striking distance from the leader. I had hoped Up to Date would pull us along a little further but I could feel my horse so strong before the final jump and he just fired from there. Quite frankly, I think this horse is just too strong and unbeatable so we’re quite confident in continuing to extend his winning streak and notch another J-G1 win in December,” commented winning jockey Shinichi Ishigami.
THE 20TH NAKAYAMA GRAND JUMP (J-G1)
4-year-old & up, 4,250 meters (about 2 and 2/3 miles), turf
Saturday, April 14, 2018 Nakayama Racecourse 11th Race Post time: 15:40
Total prize money: ¥ 142,660,000 (about US$ 1,296,909 <US$1=¥110>)
1. Oju Chosan (JPN), bay, horse, 7-year-old
Stay Gold / Shadow Silhouette (Symboli Kris S)
Owner: Chosan Co., Ltd. Breeder: Naoyoshi Nagayama
Trainer: Shoichiro Wada Jockey: Shinichi Ishigami
22 Starts, 12 Wins (20 Starts, 12 Wins *steeplechases only)
Added money: ¥ 66,420,000 Career earnings: ¥ 533,073,000 (¥ 533,073,000 *steeplechases only)
Principal race performances: ’17&’16 Nakayama Grand Jump (J-G1, 4,250m) 1st
’17&’16 Nakayama Daishogai (J-G1, 4,100m) 1st
’17&’16 Tokyo High-Jump (J-G2, 3,110m) 1st
’17 Hanshin Spring Jump (J-G2, 3,900m) 1st
’16 Tokyo Jump Stakes (J-G3, 3,110m) 1st
2. Up to Date (JPN), gray, horse, 8-year-old
Kurofune / Linear Muse (Tony Bin)
Owner: Hiroe Imanishi Breeder: North Hills Co,. Ltd.
Trainer: Shozo Sasaki Jockey: Mitsuaki Hayashi
3. Nihonpiro Baron (JPN), chestnut, horse, 8-year-old
Fusaichi Richard / Nihonpillow Annika (Captain Steve)
Owner: Hyakutaro Kobayashi Breeder: Hyakutaro Kobayashi
Trainer: Hidetaka Tadokoro Jockey: Yuzo Shirahama
3rd: (3) Nihonpiro Baron―ran in 8th early, improved position to 6th after 5th jump (fence no.6), 5th after 7th jump (fence no.7), 3rd before 10th jump (fence no.8), chased leaders, weakened after final jump (fence no.10)
4th: (5) Le Pere Noel―settled in 7th, made headway after 10th jump (fence no.8), dueled with T M Opera Don
5th: (10) T M Opera Don―sat towards rear early, steadily improved position, advanced to 4th briefly in stretch, weakened in final strides
6th: (8) Crans Montana―chased top 2 finishers in 3rd early, stayed prominent up to backstretch then faded.
7th: (2) Thinking Dancer―positioned in 5th early, 6th after 7th jump (fence no.7), made headway to 4th around
10th jump (fence no.8), weakened at stretch
8th: (7) Meisho Arawashi―raced in 4th early, dropped back to 6th after 5th jump (fence no.6), 8th after 7th jump (fence no.7)
9th: (1) Sanrei Duke―traveled around 10th, unable to reach contention
10th: (11) Tosen Melissa―trailed in rear early, passed tired rivals, never a threat
11th: (12) Samurai Fountain―almost rear throughout, no factor
12th: (4) Meiner Crop―led briefly around 5th jump (fence no.6), tired after early efforts.
Fractional time (sec./furlong): Last 4 furlongs: 49.8 Last 3 furlongs: 36.9 (1 mile: 1:43.8)