Gran Alegria breaks Almond Eye's record time as she lands Oka Sho
Gran Alegria broke Almond Eye's race record as she charged to a two-and-a-half-length victory in the Oka Sho – the Japanese 1,000 Guineas – at Hanshin on Sunday.
The Kazuo Fujisawa-trained three-year-old, who was third behind the colts when last seen in the Grade 1 Asahi Hai Futurity Stakes last year, sat close to the speed under Christophe Lemaire before blasting away from her opposition inside the final quarter of a mile to stop the clock at 1min 32.7sec – 0.4 seconds faster than Almond Eye last year.
The Oka Sho is the first leg of the Japanese Triple Crown, which Lemaire won last year with Almond Eye, and the rider said: “She certainly won strongly. I was a little bit worried as it was her first time out after a long break.
"She was unable to make use of her speed in the Asahi Hai Futurity Stakes so I made sure this time to secure a good position early on and from there I had every confidence in her exceptional speed."
He added: "The extended mile and a half in the Yushun Himba [Japanese Oaks] is going to be a tough race for us."
Shigeru Pink Dia ran on for second for trainer Kunihiko Watanabe, with Chrono Genesis a neck back in third.
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