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The second of Japan’s two weight-for-age Grade 1 races over 1600 metres, the Mile Championship has been won by six horses who have also won the Yasuda Kinen.
The Mile Championship in November is the second of Japan’s two weight-for-age Grade 1 races over 1600 metres, the other being the Yasuda Kinen in June of each year. Six horses have won the Yasuda Kinen and the Mile Championship in the same year since the latter race was established in 1984, including the first victor, the interestingly-named Nihon Pillow Winner.
A further six Mile Championship winners went on to win the subsequent year’s Yasuda Kinen. The late-season feature is a regular lead-in for horses being pointed towards a Hong Kong Mile raid and in 2015 the mighty Maurice pulled off the Kyoto-Sha Tin double. The brilliant mare Gran Alegria won the Yasuda Kinen and the Mile Championship in 2020. She won the Mile Championship again in 2021 – at her final start – but was denied a back-to-back double due to being beaten by only a head in the June 2021 running of the Yasuda Kinen.
Japan’s brightest prospects are often given time to mature and Maurice is a classic example of a late-developer blooming into an awesome champion. The Noriyuki Hori-trained son of Screen Hero won two of three starts as a two-year-old but was beaten in all four outings as a three-year-old.
When 2015 dawned, Maurice had not raced since the previous May but his time at the farm had enabled him to develop into a powerful athlete, later to be dubbed ‘The beast from the East’. He posted a perfect campaign of six wins from six starts, including a rolling Group 1 treble in the Yasuda Kinen, Mile Championship and Hong Kong Mile, defeating Hong Kong’s champion Able Friend at Sha Tin.
Maurice returned to Hong Kong in late April 2016 to win the Group 1 Champions Mile but the journey home with quarantine isolation and the tight turnaround meant he was a dull second in the Yasuda Kinen next time. The champion miler returned from a summer break with a good second to Neorealism first-up over 2000 metres at Sapporo, then stepped up to end his career with brilliant wins at that distance in the Grade 1 Tenno Sho (Autumn) and the Group 1 Hong Kong Cup.
|2021||Gran Alegria||5||Christophe Lemaire||Kazuo Fujisawa||Sunday Racing||1:32.6|
|2020||Gran Alegria||4||Christophe Lemaire||Kazuo Fujisawa||Sunday Racing||1:32.0|
|2019||Indy Champ||4||Kenichi Ikezoe||Hidetaka Otonashi||Silk Racing||1:33.0|
|2018||Stelvio||3||William Buick||Tetsuya Kimura||Sunday Racing||1:33.3|
|2017||Persian Knight||3||Mirco Demuro||Yasutoshi Ikee||G1 Racing Co Ltd||1:33.8|
|2016||Mikki Isle||5||Suguru Hamanaka||Hidetaka Otonashi||Mizuki Noda||1:33.1|
|2015||Maurice||4||Ryan Moore||Noriyuki Hori||Kazumi Yoshida||1:32.8|
|2014||Danon Shark||6||Yasunari Iwata||Ryuji Okubo||Danox Co Ltd||1:31.5|
|2013||Tosen Ra||5||Yutaka Take||Hideaki Fujiwara||Takaya Shimakawa||1:32.4|
|2012||Sadamu Patek||4||Yutaka Take||Masato Nishizono||Sadamu Onishi||1:32.4|
|2011||Eishin Apollon||4||Ken-ichi Ikezoe||Masahiro Matsunaga||Toyomitsu Hirai||1:32.9|
|2010||A Shin Forward||5||Yasunari Iwata||Masato Nishizono||Eishindo Co., Ltd.||1:31.8|
|2009||Company||8||Norihiro Yokoyama||Hidetaka Otonashi||Hideko Kondo||1:33.2|
|2008||Blumenblatt||5||Yutaka Yoshida||Sei Ishizaka||Carrot Farm||1:32.6|
|2007||Daiwa Major||6||Katsumi Ando||Hiroyuki Uehara||Keizo Oshiro||1:32.7|
|2006||Daiwa Major||5||Katsumi Ando||Hiroyuki Uehara||Keizo Oshiro||1:32.7|
|2005||Hat Trick||4||Olivier Peslier||Katsuhiko Sumii||Carrot Farm Co., Ltd.||1:32.1|
|2004||Durandal||5||Ken-ichi Ikezoe||Masahiro Sakaguchi||Teruya Yoshida||1:33.0|
|2003||Durandal||4||Ken-ichi Ikezoe||Masahiro Sakaguchi||Teruya Yoshida||1:33.3|
|2002||Tokai Point||6||Masayoshi Ebina||Masahiro Sakaguchi||Masanori Uchimura||1:32.8|
|2001||Zenno El Cid||4||Olivier Peslier||Kazuo Fujisawa||Shinobu Oosako||1:33.2|
|2000||Agnes Digital||3||Hitoshi Matoba||Toshiaki Shirai||Takao Watanabe||1:32.6|
|1999||Air Jihad||4||Masayoshi Ebina||Masanori Ito||Lucky Field Co., Ltd.||1:32.8|
|1998||Taiki Shuttle||4||Yukio Okabe||Kazuo Fujisawa||Taiki Farm||1:33.3|
|1997||Taiki Shuttle||3||Norihiro Yokoyama||Kazuo Fujisawa||Taiki Farm||1:33.3|
|1996||Genuine||4||Yukio Okabe||Yasuhisa Matsuyama||Shadai Race Horse Co., Ltd.||1:33.8|
|1995||Trot Thunder||6||Norihiro Yokoyama||Katsutoshi Aikawa||Teruo Fujimoto||1:33.7|
|1994||North Flight||4||Koichi Tsunoda||Keiji Kato||Taihoku Bokujo||1:33.0|
|1993||Shinko Lovely||4||Yukio Okabe||Kazuo Fujisawa||Osamu Yasuda||1:35.7|
|1992||Daitaku Helios||5||Shigehiko Kishi||Yasuo Umeda||Masaichi Nakamura||1:33.3|
|1991||Daitaku Helios||4||Shigehiko Kishi||Yasuo Umeda||Masaichi Nakamura||1:34.8|
|1990||Passing Shot||5||Takashi Kusunoki||Mitsuru Hashida||Tadaharu Morimoto||1:33.6|
|1989||Oguri Cap||4||Katsumi Minai||Tsutomu Setoguchi||Shunsuke Kondo||1:34.6|
|1988||Soccer Boy||3||Hiroshi Kawachi||Yukiharu Ono||Shadai Race Horse||1:34.6|
|1987||Nippo Teio||4||Hiroyuki Gohara||Kinzo Kubota||Yuichi Yamaishi||1:34.9|
|1986||Takara Steel||4||Yoshiyasu Tajima||Eizaburo Sakamoto||Yoshio Murayama||1:35.3|
|1985||Nihon Pillow Winner||5||Hiroshi Kawachi||Masatoshi Hattori||Hyakutaro Kobayashi||1:35.3|
|1984||Nihon Pillow Winner||4||Hiroshi Kawachi||Masatoshi Hattori||Hyakutaro Kobayashi||1:35.3|