Deep Impact's Contrail a Class Above in Japanese Derby

Mark Smith - Monday June 1

For a fleeting second at around the 300 metre mark in Sunday’s Tokyo Yushun (Japanese Derby), Damian Lane on Salios must have thought he was half a chance of upsetting the favourite Contrail but a couple of backhanders by Yuichi Fukunaga on the exquisite black son of Deep Impact settled the matter in a few strides and he went sailing into the distance to keep his record at a perfect five for five.

Contrail all alone at the finsih of the Japanese Derby (image JRA)

Following his win in the Satsuki Sho (Japanese 2000 Guineas), Contrail becomes the first horse since his own sire Deep Impact to win the first two legs of the Triple Crown while undefeated.

His trainer Yoshito Yahagi confirmed that Contrail would be aimed at the Kikuka Sho (Japanese St. Leger 3000m) on October 25, in the hope of becoming the eighth Triple Crown winner, the last being Orfevre in 2011.

Following the win of Daring Tact (Epiphaneia) in last week’s Yushun Himba (Japanese Oaks), there are for the firs time in history, a colt and a filly aiming for their respective Triple Crowns while undefeated.

Yuichi Fukunaga gave a copybook display on Contrail who was third on the fence before peeling three and four wide on the turn.

He only asked last seasons champion 2yo for maximum effort at the 250 metres. What a pity that horse racings most passionate fans could not be there to roar Contrail home in the latter stages. He put on a real crowd-pleasing performance to defeat Salios (Heart’s Cry) by three lengths with Weltreisende(Dream Journey) one and a quarter lengths back in third.

“I was just focusing on finishing this race on a high note and although he still has room for improvement, he tends to lose his focus when he’s leading, he still is able to win like he did today,” Fukunaga said.

“He’s got great potential and there’s a lot to look forward to in this colt. The pace was not really flowing in the first half but I sort of expected Nori-san (Norihiro Yokoyama on My Rhapsody) to make a move like that and it opened up the path for me to reach the horse in front which was critical.”

A homebred for North Hill Farm’s Shinji Maeda, Contrail is out of the Unbridled's Song mare Rhodochrosite, who was a $385,000 Keeneland September Sale yearling purchase by Koji Maeda. She was placed in four of her seven starts in Japan.

Rhodochrosite is a daughter of the Tiznow mare Folklore who was honoured as the champion American two-year-old of 2005 following her victory in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies.

Rhodochrosite has a yearling colt from the final full crop of Deep Impact and was covered by Heart’s Cry in 2019.

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