The 145th Tenno Sho (Spring) is won by 159-1 chance Beat BlackPICTURE: Masakazu Takahashi
Black triggers surprise as favourite Orfevre misfires
Report: Japan, Sunday
Kyoto: Tenno Sho (Spring) (Group 1) 2m, turf, 4yo+
BEAT BLACK powered to a surprise four-length victory, with reigning Horse of the Year Orfevre finishing well beaten in the 145th running of this prestigious contest.
Ridden by Syu Ishibashi for trainer Hitoshi Nakamura, Beat Black was always front rank and took the lead with four furlongs to run.
Jockeys among the bigger chasing pack wereperhaps expecting the leader, a 159-1 chance, to wilt, but Beat Black was well clear a furlong and a half out and was not hard pressed to maintain a decisive advantage all the way to the line.
Tosen Jordan ran on to emerge the winner's closest pursuer, while third-placed Win Variation recorded the fastest time over the final three furlongs to finish two lengths down on the runner-up.
Orfevre started odds-on favourite but he was towards the rear early and improved his position only to amoderate 11th of the 18 runners at the end of the 2m contest run on firm ground and for which the winner's purse was in excess of £1 million.
Orfevre's trainer Yasutoshi Ikee was unable to pinpoint a reason for the four-year-old's eclipse and said plans, such as a trip to Paris for the Arc, would have to be reviewed.
"I want to apologise that he couldn't run as well as the fans' expectation," Ikee said. "I am not surewhat has happened."
Jockey Kenichi Ikezoe added: "He was swept off his feet on the ground. A few times his steps were unbalanced. I felt his footwork was not smooth and he was not his usual self."