Lord Kanaloa winning the Takamatsunomiya Kinen at ChukyoPICTURE: Masakazu Takahashi
HK star Lord Kanaloa stamps sprint class
Report: Japan, Sunday
Chukyo: Takamatsunomiya Kinen (Grade 1) 6f, turf, 4yo+
HONG KONG Sprint winner Lord Kanaloa (Takayuki Yasuda/Yasunari Iwata) confirmed his status as Japan's top sprinter with an easy win in the Takamatsunomiya Kinen, the first of the nation's 20 Grade 1 events this season.
Sent off a 30-100 in a double-figure field, the five-year-old captured the 197 million yen (£1.37m) event in record time as he scored by a length and a quarter over Dream Valentino.
The 6f contest is the second leg of this year's Global Sprint Challenge, a ten-race series in six different countries.
Lord Kanaloa was completing a four-timer, having also won the prestigious Sprinters Stakes in the autumn and the Grade 3 Hankyu Hai on his seasonal debut in February.
In Sunday's race, he settled in mid-division three wide before readily responding for pressure turning into the straight and claiming the race inside the final furlong.
Although Black Caviar fans may have cause for argument, winning jockey Yasunari Iwata claimed Lord Kanaloa was the best sprinter in the world.
"He didn't start well but he relaxed nicely in the pack and he spurted well in the final furlong," he said.
"I think he is the strongest sprinter in the world, so I thought he should not be beaten against domestic rivals like this."
Also in Japan
Nakayama (Saturday): Nikkei Sho (Grade 2) 1m4½f, turf, 4yo+
Last year's Japanese Derby runner-up Fenomeno (Hirofumi Toda/Masayoshi Ebina) landed an easy win in this Tenno Sho prep by a length and a half over Capote Star.