Bren O’Brien



Dirt move yields Group 1 reward for Jun Light Bolt

A superbly timed ride from Yukito Ishikawa saw Jun Light Bolt claim his first Group 1 success in the Champions Cup at Chukyo on Sunday.

Jun Light Bolt backed up his recent victory in the G3 Sirius Stakes, confirming himself as one of Japan’s premier dirt performers with a storming win in the Champions Cup.

Jockey Yukito Ishikawa, searching or his first Group 1, extricated himself and his horse into the clear at exactly the right time, and the pair surged late to claim victory from Crown Pride, who looked the winner for much of the home straight having earlier powered past early leader Red Soldado.

The three-year-old couldn’t resist the late surge from Jun Light Bolt, who arrived to win by a neck, with another length and a quarter back to Hapi, who finished in third, having raced close to the pace throughout.

Last year’s winner T O Keynes, the short-price 1.5 favourite, never seriously threatened and had to settle for fourth, just ahead of Shamal.

It’s been a remarkably successful switch to dirt racing for Jun Light Bolt, who raced solely on turf until this season. Having been placed in the Listed July Stakes at Fukushima on his dirt debut, he has now rattled off a hat-trick of wins, with Sunday’s success coming after victories in the Listed BSN Sho and the G3 Sirius Stakes.

That he is now a Group 1 winner at start number 26 is credit to the vision and persistence of Yasuo Tomomichi. It is the revered trainer’s third Group 1 victory of 2022, having guided Do Deuce to success in the Tokyo Yushun and Potager to win the Osaka Hai.

Jun Light Bolt, a son of King Kamehameha, had been a relatively expensive yearling purchase back at the 2018 JRHA Select Sale, costing Junji Kawai nearly 130 million yen ($US970,000) from the draft of his breeders at Northern Farm.

His dam, Special Groove is a grand-daughter of multiple Group 1 winner Air Groove, meaning he is closely related to stars like Duramente, Rulership and Admire Groove.

He is now the third winner of the Champions Cup by the late King Kamehameha, joining Chuwa Wizard and Hokko Turamae.




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