Matsurida Gogh earned his first career Group 1 victory with a stunning upset win at odds of 52.30-to-1 in the $3-million Arima Kinen (Jpn-G1) on Sunday at Nakayama racecourse.
The four-year-old Sunday Silence colt entered off a 15th-place finish in the Tenno Sho (Autumn) (Jpn-G1) on October 28 at Tokyo racecourse.
Matsurida Gogh finished 10 1/4 lengths behind winner Meisho Samson in the Tenno Sho but made amends in the 2,500-meter (12.43-furlong) Arima Kinen by defeating that foe as well as Japanese champion Daiwa Major, champion filly Vodka, Japan Cup (Jpn-G1) runner-up Pop Rock, 2006 Emirates Melbourne Cup (Aus-G1) winner Delta Blues, and Group 1 winner Cosmo Bulk.
“[Matsurida Gogh was in] much better condition than he was when near last in his last start in the Tenno Sho Autumn,” said winning jockey Masayoshi Ebina.
Chosan set the pace followed by Daiwa Scarlet, a Group 1-winning three-year-old filly and Japanese classic winner, while Matsurida Gogh saved ground in third.
Daiwa Scarlet seized command with about 600 meters remaining as Matsurida Gogh launched his winning bid from between horses. Matsurida Gogh, who needed several defections in order to draw into the race, outfinished game runner-up Daiwa Scarlet to prevail in 2:33.60 on turf rated as good.
Daiwa Major turned in a strong third-place finish in Japan’s biggest race in his final career start.
Meisho Samson, sent off as the 2.40-to-1 favorite, failed to fire despite being positioned in ideal striking distance by champion jockey Yutaka Take at the top of the stretch, and finished a non-threatening eighth in the 16-horse field.
Pop Rock finished fifth with Cosmo Bulk, Vodka, and Delta Blues tenth, 11th, and 12th, respectively.
Sakae Kunieda trains Matsurida Gogh for owner Fumie Takahashi. Out of the winning Bel Bolide mare Paper Rain, Matsurida Gogh improved to seven wins in 16 career starts.
Extract by Mike Curry (Thoroughbred Times)