Gold Ship gets revenge at Takarazuka Kinen


Second favorite Gold Ship won the Takarazuka Kinen, upstaging top pick Gentildonna, to earn his fourth career Grade 1 victory on Sunday.

The 4-year-old colt ridden by Hiroyuki Uchida finished the 2,200-meter race at Hyogo Prefecture’s Hanshin Racecourse in 2 minutes, 13.2 seconds and earned the winner’s prize of ¥132 million. The race had been billed as a clash of the titans between Gold Ship, Gentildonna and Fenomeno.

It was Uchida’s second victory in this race, following his win aboard Eishin Deputy in 2008, while trainer Naosuke Sugai got his first win in the race.

Victory for Gold Ship, winner of the Arima Kinen and two Triple Crown races as a 3-year-old last season, was sweet revenge for his loss against spring Tenno-sho winner Fenomeno who faded into fourth.

“I am happy that a strong Gold Ship has returned,” said Uchida, whose horse beat out Danon Ballade by 3½ lengths. Gentildonna was third, a neck further back.

“The actions of our trainer paid off,” said Uchida. “I was able to take him to the front while saving enough energy for the finish. It went as expected. We got revenge for (our defeat at) the spring Tenno-sho.”

Gold Ship stalked Gentildonna in fourth and waited before a burst in the final straight. He went ahead at the midway point, passing fifth choice Danon Ballade on the outside with a ferocious charge.

“It was a race you’d expect from such a strong horse,” said Sugai. “The stable work paid off from him. I told the jockey just to go out there and give him your all. He was able to guide Gold Ship successfully today.”