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INDEPENDENT HORSE RACING NEWS
The G1 February Stakes may be one of only two elite level JRA races run on dirt, but Japan's first Group 1 event of the season also boasts several outstanding turf performers on its honour roll.
The February Stakes is one of only two Group 1 races on dirt organised by the JRA.
The race, which starts on the turf course before soon joining the dirt course, has been won by top-class turf runners in its time, notably the Grade 1 Yasuda Kinen winners Mozu Ascot and Agnes Digital. The latter took the 2002 February Stakes on the back of a famous win in the Group 1 Hong Kong Cup at Sha Tin.
The second JRA dirt track major is the Champions Cup in December and three horses, Wing Arrow, Transcend and Gold Dream, have won both races in the same year. Transcend is also one of four horses to have won the end-of-year Champions Cup and then followed up in the February Stakes two months later. The February Stakes was first run in 1984 as a Group 3 handicap and became an international Group 1 race in 2007.
The Yanagawa Bokujo-bred Copano Rickey was a dirt track specialist with an impressive collection of major wins. His two biggest successes were achieved in the JRA’s February Stakes, which he won in 2014 and 2015 to become the race’s first two-time winner.
He also landed the Group 2 Tokai TV Hai Tokai Stakes at Chukyo under JRA jurisdiction. But the Akira Murayama-trained entire won many more majors on the NAR circuit, taking out the Hyogo Championship, the Teio Sho, three editions of the Kashiwa Kinen, the JBC Classic twice, the Mile Championship Nambu Hai twice, and a career-capping victory in the 2017 Tokyo Daishoten.
In all, Copano Rickey won 11 races designated as Grade 1 or JPN Group 1, giving him a record of sorts as the most prolific ‘Grade 1’ winner in Japan’s history.
Copano Rickey goes back-to-back in the 2015 February Stakes. (Photo by JRA)
|2022||Cafe Pharoah||Yuichi Fukunaga||Noriyuki Hori||Koichi Nishikawa||1:33.8|
|2021||Cafe Pharoah||Christophe Lemaire||Noriyuki Hori||Koichi Nishikawa||1:34.4|
|2020||Mozu Ascot||Christophe Lemaire||Yoshito Yahagi||Capital System||1:35.2|
|2019||Inti||Yutaka Take||Kenji Nonaka||Shigeo Takeda||1:35.6|
|2018||Nonkono Yume||Hiroyuki Uchida||Yukihiro Kato||Kazumasa Yamada||1:36.0|
|2017||Gold Dream||Mirco Demuro||Osamu Hirata||Katsumi Yoshida||1:35.1|
|2016||Moanin||Mirco Demuro||Sei Ishizaka||Yukio Baba||1:34.0|
|2015||Copano Rickey||Yutaka Take||Akira Murayama||Sachiaki Kobayashi||1:36.3|
|2014||Copano Rickey||Hironobu Tanabe||Akira Murayama||Sachiaki Kobayashi||1:36.0|
|2013||Grape Brandy||Suguru Hamanaka||Takayuki Yasuda||Shadai Race Horse Co.||1:35.1|
|2012||Testa Matta||Yasunari Iwata||Akira Murayama||Kazumi Yoshida||1:35.4|
|2011||Transcend||Shinji Fujita||Takayuki Yasuda||Koji Maeda||1:36.4|
|2010||Espoir City||Tetsuzo Sato||Akio Adachi||Yushun Horse Club||1:34.9|
|2009||Success Broken||Hiroyuki Uchida||Hideaki Fujiwara||Tetsu Takashima||1:34.6|
|2008||Vermilion||Yutaka Take||Sei Ishizaka||Sunday Racing||1:35.3|
|2007||Sunrise Bacchus||Katsumi Ando||Hidetaka Otonashi||Takao Matsuoka||1:34.8|