Gendarme’s upset Sprinters Stakes win
Experienced sprinter Gendarme has given Kiwamu Ogino his first Group 1 win as a jockey, upsetting his more-fancied rivals in the Sprinters Stakes at Nakayama.
Gendarme has emulated his own dam Believe, claiming the Sprinters Stakes at Nakayama, causing a significant upset in the Group 1 feature.
Having his 29th career start, including his second attempt at this race, the seven-year-old sat just behind the early pace and then forged into the clear just after straightening, powering away from the chasing pack and then holding off the three-year-old colt Win Marvel by a neck.
Naran Huleg was third over the line, another three-quarters of a length away, while Diatonic was fourth just ahead of pre-race favourite Namura Clair.
Jockey Kiwamu Ogino has ridden him to most of his major wins and was on board on Sunday with a beautifully timed ride for his first victory as a jockey in an elite race. He jumped Gendarme to the early lead and then dropped him on to the rail behind T M Spada and First Force.
When First Force dropped off rounding for home, Ogino was able to quickly challenge the leader and Gendarme shot two-to-three lengths clear inside the furlong and then holding off as Win Marvel close rapidly in the final stages.
Gendarme (19-1) leads home a blowout trifecta in the G1 Sprinters Stakes at Nakayama.
Beats Win Marvel (19-1) and Naran Huleg (18-1).
— Asian Racing Report (@AsianRacingRep) October 2, 2022
It was a first success in the Group 1 sprint feature for trainer Yasutoshi Ikee.
While Gendarme had not won at Group 1 level before, he did boast a strong record at the Nakayama track. He won the G3 Yukan Fuji Sho Ocean Stakes over the track and distance back in March, defeating Naran Huleg, while he had won two other Listed events, the Shunrai Stakes and the New Year Stakes, at Nakayama in the past.
His victory comes 20 years after his dam Believe claimed the same race, while he becomes the first Japanese Group 1 winner and 16th global Group/Grade 1 winner overall for the late stallion Kitten’s Joy.