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Fine Needle jets past pack to claim Sprinters Stakes

Kyodo

Race-favorite Fine Needle came from behind to claim the Sprinters Stakes on Sunday, as Grade 1 racing resumed after a three-month break.

Fine Needle, piloted by Yuga Kawada, triumphed at a rainy Nakayama Racecourse in Chiba Prefecture with a late sprint past runner-up Love Kampf. The five-year-old horse won in 1 minute, 8.3 seconds by a neck and earned his second G1 victory.

“He did such a great job in catching up (to Love Kampf). I believed he would get through,” said Kawada, who had ridden the horse to his maiden G1 win at the Takamatsunomiya Kinen in March.

“Winning a G1 in both the spring and fall proves that (Fine Needle) is the strongest in the sprint world.”

Yutaka Take rode 13th-favorite Rhein Spirit to a third place finish, a half-length behind Love Kampf. The veteran jockey set another Japan Racing Association history record on Saturday for earning an unprecedented 4,000th win.

Third-favorite Once in a Moon, who led after the final turn, finished sixth, while second-favorite Nac Venus finished seventh.

==Kyodo