World Premiere storms to victory in Tenno Sho (Spring)

Third favourite World Premiere displayed a strong stayer performance beating the race favourite near the wire to claim this year’s Tenno Sho (Spring) behind closed doors once again, void of the fans at Hanshin Racecourse on Sunday. 

It is the second G1 victory for the 2019 Kikuka Sho (Japanese St. Leger) winner who has overcome a setback after finishing third in the 2019 Arima Kinen (G1, 2,500m). Sidelined for nearly a year, the Deep Impact colt made his comeback in the Japan Cup (G1, 2,400m) last autumn with a  promising sixth, followed by a fifth in the Arima Kinen a month later and has just come off a third in the Nikkei Sho (G2, 2,500m) on March 27. 

This is trainer Yasuo Tomomichi’s 13th overall JRA-G1 victory and first since winning the Kikuka Sho with the horse in 2019. He also celebrates his second Tenno Sho (Spring) title after winning it with Admire Jupiter in 2008. Jockey Yuichi Fukunaga, the successful rider of last year’s Triple Crown victor Contrail, pocketed his 29th JRA-G1 win today and first Tenno Sho (Spring) trophy emulating his father and former jockey Yoichi Fukunaga who won the race in 1976.

Breaking from the innermost stall, World Premiere was unhurried on the rails in seventh, a couple of lengths behind second favorite Aristoteles who sat another couple of lengths behind the front group led by Diastima. As the field made their moves after the third corner, the son of Deep Impact chased Aristoteles into the lane, picked him off from the outside before the furlong marker and closed in strongly on the front runners with a tenacious stretch run. 

While Diastima weakened on the rails, World Premiere finally pinned and stole the lead from Deep Bond and Curren Bouquetd’or 100 meters out, clearing the wire 3/4 length in front of Deep Bond for the win.

“We had a weak start but recovered well since with the advantage from breaking from stall #1, and kept our eyes on the favorites from behind throughout. I shifted him outside a little earlier than planned to secure a good striking position. He responded incredibly with a good turn of foot. It’s a great honor to have won such a prestigious race like this,” commented Yuichi Fukunaga.

Race favorite Deep Bond broke sharply from a wide stall and was settled in fourth to fifth and three-wide in the back of the leading group. Maintaining his good striking position, the Kizuna colt entered the lane in third and chased the two in front persistently but was caught by World Premiere in the last half-furlong before overhauling the tiring Diastima and then Curren Bouquetd’or in the final strides for second.

Five-year-old mare Curren Bouquetd’or saved ground on the rails in third up to the third corner of her first long-distance challenge and kicked into gear taking over the lead from Diastima before hitting the top of the straight. While trying hard to shake off the stubborn Diastima, the fourth favourite ran out of steam and gave in to the fast-closing World Premiere and Deep Bond to finish a two-length third. 

4-year-olds & up, 3,200 meters (about 16 furlongs), turf, right-handed
Sunday, May 2, 2021 Hanshin Racecourse 11th Race Post time: 15:40
Total prize money: ¥ 325,000,000 (about US$ 3,096,000 <US$1=¥105>)
4-y-o & up: 58kg (about 128 lbs), 2kg allowance for Fillies & Mares,
1kg allowance for Southern Hemisphere-bred born in 2017
Course Record: 3:14.7 Race Record: 3:12.5 [Kitasan Black (JPN, by Black Tide), Kyoto, 2017]
Safety factor: 18 runners Going: Good to Firm Weather: Fine

FP BK PP Horse Jockey S&A Color Wgt Odds (Fav) Margin (L3F) Sire Dam (Dam’s Sire) Owner Breeder Trainer

1 1 1 World Premiere (JPN) Yuichi Fukunaga H5 d.b. 58.0 5.2 (3) 3:14.7 (36.7) Deep Impact Mandela (Acatenango) Ryoichi Otsuka Northern Racing Yasuo Tomomichi

2 6 12 Deep Bond (JPN) Ryuji Wada C4 br. 58.0 3.6 (1) 3/4 (37.1) Kizuna Zephyranthes (King Halo) Shinji Maeda Murata Bokujo Ryuji Okubo

3 2 3 Curren Bouquetd'or (JPN) Keita Tosaki M5 b. 56.0 7.3 (4) 2 (37.7) Deep Impact Solaria (Scat Daddy) Takashi Suzuki Shadai Farm Sakae Kunieda

4th: (2) Aristoteles—traveled in 6th eyeing Deep Bond, showed effort but neck short for 3rd place
5th: (14) Win Marilyn—sat 3-wide around 7th near winner, sustained bid but lacked needed speed
6th: (5) Diastima—set pace, showed tenacity along rails, weakened in last 100m
7th: (7) You Can Smile—settled in 15th, gradually made headway, failed to respond at stretch
8th: (6) Makahiki—raced around 11th, driven and advanced, even paced at stretch
9th: (13) Namura Donovan—ran 3-wide in 14th, improved position but never threatened
10th: (17) Authority—sat 3-wide around 11th, switched to outside at early stretch, lacked needed kick
11th: (16) Melody Lane—saved ground in 13th, circled wide, passed tired rivals
12th: (10) Ghost—settled around 10th behind winner, unable to keep up with contention
13th: (15) Ocea Great—was off slow, trailed in rear, made headway at backstretch, showed little at
14th: (11) Meisho Tengen—took economic trip around 9th, dropped back rounding last corners
15th: (8) Divine Force—positioned near rear, no factor
16th: (4) Shironii—raced around 4th inside Deep Bond, outrun after turning last corners
17th: (9) Jako Maru—pressed pace in 2nd, faded after 3rd corner

Fractional time: 12.8 - 11.3 - 11.7 - 11.9 - 12.1 - 11.9 - 11.8 - 12.1 - 13.1 - 12.6 - 12.1 - 12.0 - 11.9 - 12.1 - 12.3 - 13.0
(sec./furlong) Last 4 furlongs: 49.3 Last 3 furlongs: 37.4