KYOTO – Seventh pick Hiruno d’Amour captured his first Grade 1 title on Sunday, edging Japanese Derby winner Eishin Flash by a half-length to win the spring Tenno-sho.
The 4-year-old Hiruno d’Amour, ridden by Shinji Fujita and trained by Mitsugu Kon, charged down the final straight on the outside to cut a time of 3 minutes, 20.6 seconds over the 3,200 meters on heavy going at Kyoto Racecourse.
The 132 million victory automatically qualified Hiruno d’Amour, who followed in the footsteps of his sire Manhattan Cafe to win the race, for this season’s Melbourne Cup in November.
Fifth choice Namura Crescent came in third another 1? lengths behind third favorite Eishin Flash. To the Glory, the top pick in a full field of 18, crashed and burned to 13th under new partner Hirofumi Shii.
Japan Cup holder and second choice Rose Kingdom, ridden by six-time spring Tenno-sho winner Yutaka Take, also disappointed, crossing the line 11th.
“I’m happy for the horse more than I am for myself,” said Fujita, who lifted his first spring Emperor’s Cup, as did Kon. “I’m just glad I finally made him a Grade 1 winner.”
“I was hoping he could get a break somewhere, but I wasn’t really helping with some bad riding I was doing. That break came today.”