NHK Mile Cup: shock result as trainer snaps 72-race losing streak
It had been a long time between big race wins for trainer Tsuyoshi Tanaka but his colt Champagne Color had everything fall his way in a wet and wild Group 1 at Tokyo.
Trainer Tsuyoshi Tanaka found the best possible race to break a long losing streak when his unheralded colt Champagne Color burst through the pack on a dreary day at Tokyo Racecourse.
Champagne Color was rated ninth in betting at 21-1 for the NHK Mile Cup – his trainer’s zero-for-72 record in 2023 obviously playing a part in the lack of public confidence – but rattled home under a patient ride from veteran jockey Hiroyuki Uchida.
It was Tanaka’s first win since November and his first Group 1 victory since the trainer caused another famous upset; when 36-1 chance Logotype beat 1.7 favourite Maurice in the 2016 Yasuda Kinen.
Victory in the Group 1 mile for three-year-olds also snapped an unwanted run of outs for the 52-year-old Uchida, the popular rider of former champion Gold Ship: it was his first win at the top level since 2018.
Champagne Color beat fast-finishing filly Umbrail, Obamburamai was third, the top three all running on from the rear of the field and benefiting from breakneck sectionals through the first part of the race. Race favourite Carro Veloce was fifth after settling just worse than midfield for jockey Damian Lane.
Watch Asian Racing Report chief journalist David Morgan speak to editor Michael Cox about the race and look forward to the Group 1 Victoria Mile on May 14.