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Sprinters Stakes G1 Guide

The Sprinters Stakes is Japan’s number one sprint race and was once part of the Global Sprint Challenge, a defunct concept from the early years of this century.

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Distance: 1200 metres
Venue: Nakayama
Prize money: ¥368,200,000

The Sprinters Stakes is Japan’s number one sprint race and was once part of the Global Sprint Challenge, a defunct concept from the early years of this century. Three overseas challengers have succeeded in defeating the home contingent. The great Silent Witness from Hong Kong set the ball rolling in 2005 and was followed a year later by the Australian world traveller Takeover Target. Four years after that the longshot Hong Kong raider Ultra Fantasy won the race but Japan has dominated ever since.

The Sprinters Stakes was first run in 1967 and at the start of this century it moved from December to its early autumn position in the calendar. The race is run right-handed at Nakayama with its short 320-metre finishing straight, which includes a sharp, stiff climb through the final 200 metres.

Featured winner: Lord Kanaloa

Japan was never noted for producing horses with exceptional speed over sprint distances: their top sprinters were for the most part talented without being stellar and certainly did not enjoy the same reputation as their Hong Kong and Australian counterparts.

Then along came Lord Kanaloa, probably the greatest sprinter Japan has ever produced and a bona fide champion in the global context. Trainer Takayuki Yasuda’s charge progressed steadily to earn a Group 1 breakthrough as a four-year-old in the 2012 Sprinters Stakes and followed that with a blistering display to land the Group 1 Hong Kong Sprint.

The following year Lord Kanaloa won the Group 1 Takamatsunomiya Kinen, defeated the milers in the Group 1 Yasuda Kinen and then repeated his Sprinters Stakes-Hong Kong Sprint double in emphatic style. He retired to Shadai stallion station with 13 wins and six placings from 19 starts and is the sire of the great mare Almond Eye.

Past winners

YearWinnerJockeyTrainerOwnerTime
2021Pixie KnightYuichi FukunagaHidetaka OtanashiSilk Racing1:07.1
2020Gran AlegriaChristophe LemaireKazuo FujisawaSunday Racing1:08.3
2019Tower Of LondonChristophe LemaireKazuo FujisawaGodolphin1:07.1
2018Fine NeedleYuga KawadaYoshitada TakahashiGodolphin1:08.3
2017Red FalxMirco DemuroTomohito OzekiTokyo Horse Racing Co. Ltd1:07.6
2016Red FalxMirco DemuroTomohito OzekiTokyo Horse Racing Co. Ltd1:07.6
2015Straight GirlKeita TosakiHideaki FujiwaraHirosaki Toshihior Hd Co Ltd1:08.1
2014Snow DragonTakuya OnoNoboru TakagiMakio Okada1:08.8
2013Lord KanaloaYasunari IwataTakayuki YasudaLord Horse Club1:07.2
2012Lord KanaloaKenichi IkezoeTakayaki YasudaLord Horse Club1:06.7
2011Curren ChanSato TetsuzoTakayaki YasudaTakashi Suzuki1:07.4
2010Ultra FantasyAlex H W LaiRicky YiuThe Hon T F Lam1:07.4
2009Laurel GuerreiroShinji FujitaMitsugu KonLaurel Racing1:07.5
2008Sleepless NightHiroyuki UemuraKojiro HashiguchiSunday Racing1:08.0
2007Aston MachanEiji NakadateSei IshizakaMayumi Tosa1:09.4
2006Takeover TargetJay FordJoe JaniakJoe & Ben Janiak1:08.1
2005Silent WitnessFelix CoetzeeTony CruzArchie & Betty da Silva1:07.3
2004Calstone Light ONaohiro OnishiHiroyuki OnedaSadamitsu Shimizu1:09.9
2003DurandalKenichi IkezoeMasahiro SakaguchiTeruya Yoshida1:08.0
2002BelieveYutaka TakeShigeki MatsumotoKoji Maeda1:07.7
2001Trot StarMasayoshi EbinaEiji NakanoMinoru Takano1:07.0
2000Daitaku YamatoTeruo EdaSei IshizakaKazuo Nakamura1:08.6
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