Bren O’Brien



Ask Victor More triumphant in Kikuka Sho

Ask Victor More has emulated his sire Deep Impact, holding off Boldog Hos in a photo finish to win a thrilling edition of the G1 Kikuka Sho at Hanshin.

The Yasuhito Tamura-trained Ask Victor More held on for a memorable success in the final leg of the Japanese Triple Crown, the Kikuka Sho, defying Boldog Hos and Justin Palace to record his first Group 1 victory of his career, under a well-timed ride from Hironobu Tanabe.

The son of Deep Impact was third in the G1 Tokyo Yushun and fifth in the Satsuki Sho earlier this year but got a deserved elite success after tracking tearaway leader Seiun Hades throughout and then assuming the lead at the top of the straight.

Justin Palace was the first to issue a challenge, before Boldog Hos, under a determined ride from Hayato Yoshida, surged down the outside. He drove late at Ask Victor More, but the inside colt held him at bay to win by a nose on the line, with Justin Place half a length back in third.

Those three horses cleared out on the rest of the field with another five lengths back to Douradores in fourth ahead of Shihono Speranza. Race favourite Gaia Force, who defeated Ask Victor More in the St. Lite Kinen (St Leger Trial) , finished eighth.

The time of 3:02.4 was a 3000-metre track record for Hanshin, which has hosted the race, the equivalent of the Japanese St. Leger, the past two years with Kyoto under reconstruction. It was the second fastest running of the Kikuka Sho in history and the fastest since Toho Jackal’s win in 2014.

It was Ask Victor More’s fourth win from nine starts, with his biggest win before Sunday coming in the G2 Yayoi Sho over subsequent Tokyo Yushun winner Do Deuce in March.

He completed a magical 24 hours for the late Deep Impact, becoming his 58th Group 1 winner after Auguste Rodin had won the G1 Futurity Trophy at Doncaster on Saturday. Deep Impact’s sons have now won five editions of the Kikuka Sho – a race the sire won himself in 2005 to complete his Triple Crown – including four of the past five.

Ask Victor More is a half-brother to multiple Group 1 winner Qemah with both out of the Rainbow Quest mare Kartica. Bred by Shadai Farm, the winner was purchased for 187 million yen (US$1.3 million) at the 2020 JHRA Select Sale by Hirosaki Toshihiro.




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