• Kyodo

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Jockey Yuichi Fukunaga steered Contrail to the horse’s first Grade 1 victory on Saturday at the 36th running of the Hopeful Stakes, the final major race of the year.

The top favorite finished the 2,000-meter turf race for 2-year-olds in 2 minutes, 1.4 seconds, beating third-pick Weltreisende by a length and a half at Nakayama Racecourse.

Contrail was fourth in the 13-horse pack for the majority of the race, but came from behind down the final stretch to end the year on a winning note. The colt, sired by seven-time G1 champion Deep Impact, has now won all three career starts since his September debut.

“(Contrail) was fast. All I did was hang on,” Fukunaga said.

“Of course the main objective today was to win … but this race was also important in terms of predicting how successful the horse will become,” he said.

Second-favorite Wakea, ridden by Christophe Lemaire, was third.

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