Ryan Moore thwarted on hot favourite in Dubai World Cup trial
Report: Japan, Sunday
Tokyo: February Stakes (Grade 1) | 1m, dirt | 3yo+
It isn't often that Ryan Moore has to settle for second best in Japan but that was the case on Sunday when hot favourite Gold Dream was caught close home by Nonkono Yume (Yukihiro Kato/Hiroyuchi Uchida) in the February Stakes.
One of just two Grade 1 events on dirt on the Japan Racing Association calendar, as well as being a prestigious event in its own right, the 216 million yen (£1.45m/€1.64m) contest is the nation's principal trial for the Dubai World Cup. Indeed, after winning the race 12 months ago Gold Dream went to Meydan, where he was last of 14 behind Arrogate after a slow break.
In front of a crowd in excess of 50,000 at Tokyo racecourse, Nonkono Yume was settled in the rear of a 16-runner field before taking a wide route following Gold Dream round the final turn.
Gold Dream looked sure to win as he led inside the final furlong, only for Nonkono Yume to run him down with a late charge in a tight finish. He scored by a neck, with Incantation a close third on the inner.
Both Gold Dream and Nonkono Yume, who won the Japan Dirt Derby in 2015, remain possibles for Meydan.
Speaking of the runner-up, Moore said: "He didn't break as well as usual but he was in better shape than last time. I had to move up earlier than I wanted and he couldn't hold them off."
>>Nonkono Yume receives a fees-paid berth in the starting gate for the Breeders' Cup Classic plus $40,000 travel expenses as part of the event's annual 'Win and You're In' Challenge.
Also on Sunday
Tokyo: Hyacinth Stakes (Listed) 1m | dirt | 3yo
A place in America's most celebrated race was up for grabs here as the Hyacinth is the final leg of the 'Japan Road to the Kentucky Derby', offering a guaranteed spot at Churchill Downs.
However, there is no decision as to whether Sumahama (Ryo Takahashi/Yusuke Fujioka) will be travelling to the States after the favourite scored by two and a half lengths from Taiki Ferveur.
Read exclusive tipping, interviews and comment when you join Members’ Club Ultimate. Enjoy your first month free when you subscribe using promo code FREETRIAL. Find out more here