Osaka Hai G1 Guide

First run in 1957, the Osaka Hai was only upgraded to Grade 1 status in 2017 but has already established itself as one of Japan's most anticipated contests.



Venue: Hanshin

Distance: 2,000 metres

Prize money: ¥432,000,000

The JRA is not for doling out Grade 1 status at its own pleasure, so it was a big deal when the Sankei Osaka Hai was upgraded to the top tier and rebranded simply as the Osaka Hai ahead of its 2017 edition.

The race, first run in 1957, was traditionally positioned as a lead-up to the spring incarnation of the Tenno Sho over 3,200 metres but became much more than just a trial. Since the turn of the century the rollcall of winners has featured middle-distance stars like Neo Universe and the madcap champion Orfevre.

The quality of runners since 2017 has justified its upgrade. The Osaka Hai starts in front of the Hanshin grandstand and runs right-handed, taking the inner loop out of the backstretch into the home straight.  

Featured winner:  Orfevre

The 2013 Osaka Hai – a Grade 2 contest back then – saw the five-year-old Orfevre seek to reinflate his status after closing out the previous year with a tough second behind Gentildonna in the Japan Cup, which had followed on the heels of his infamous second in the Group 1 Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe in Paris.

Orfevre imposed his class in his late-March step-out at Hanshin as he ran on powerfully to lead home a classy field by half a length. That win teed-up the mercurial chestnut for another trip to Paris where the Yasutoshi Ikee-trained entire repeated his results of a year prior with a win in the Group 2 Prix Foy and another frustrating second-place in the 2014 Arc.

Orfevre wrapped up a stellar career with an incredible eight-length victory in the Grade 1 Arima Kinen that December. The Triple Crown winner retired thereafter to Shadai Stallion Station.     

Orfevre is too good in the G2 Sankei Osaka Hai of 2013. (Photo by JRA)

Osaka Hai Past Winners

2022PotagerHayato YoshidaYasuo Tomomichi1:58.4
2021Lei PapaleYuga KawadaTomokazu Takano2:01.6
2020Lucky LilacMirco DemuroMikio Matsuanga1:58.4
2019Al AinYuichi KitamuraYastutoshi Ikee2:01.0
2018Suave RichardMirco DemuroYasushi Shono1:58.2
2017Kitasan BlackYutaka TakeHisashi Shimizu1:58.9
2016AmbitiousNorihiro YokoyamaHidetaka Otonashi1:59.3
2015LachesisChristophe LemaireKatsuhiko Sumii2:02.9
2014KizunaYutaka TakeShozo Sasaki2:00.3
2013OrfevreKenichi IkezoeYasutoshi Ikee1:59.0
2012Shonan MightySuguru HamanakaTomoyuki Umeda2:05.5
2011Hiruno d'AmourShinji FujitaMitsugu Kon1:57.8
2010T M EncoreSuguru HamanakaMasami Shibata1:59.5
2009Dream JourneyKenichi IkezoeYasutoshi Ikee1:59.7
2008Daiwa ScarletKatsumi AndoKunihide Matsuda1:58.7
2007Meisho SamsonMamoru IshibashiShigetada Takahashi2:01.4



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