FUNABASHI, CHIBA PREF. – 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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