EVERYONE in the Twiston-Davies yard has always thought a great deal of The New One, who coasted to an easy victory at Warwick and is all set for the Cheltenham Festival.
Sent off at 1/2 to enhance his impressive record this season, the five-year-old allowed Timesishard an early lead in the Grade 2 Neptune Investment Management Novices’ Hurdle, but took over before the seventh and steadily drew away to beat Mickie by 16 lengths, with Hold Court tailed off in third. The latter has been in good form himself, so the distances were surprising.
However, this was certainly not the strongest Grade 2 race of the season. The New One could do no more than win, and he was coasting the whole way for Sam Twiston-Davies. He was highly regarded in his bumper days, clearly stays a trip over hurdles (this was two miles, five furlongs) and appears all set for the same sponsors’ novices’ hurdle in March. He is generally quoted at around 8/1 for that contest, although Coral and William Hill went a couple of points shorter.
“He has so much speed, but he stays very well too. He could be the best I’ve ever trained,” Twiston-Davies senior enthused. “I was hoping we’d learn more about him and it would have been nice if he’d had a proper test today. I’ll see if we can find another race over two and a half miles before Cheltenham, to give him experience as much as anything.”
The mare Mickie did well under the circumstances, and trainer Henry Daly will go for the race confined to her sex at Ludlow on February 6th. She is owned by the Ludlow Racing Partnership and will be worth careful consideration.
[A son of King’s Theatre, The New One went on to win at Cheltenham after that, and enjoyed a stellar career. He won three bumpers, including the Grade 2 John Smith’s Champion Open NH Flat Race at Aintree, and the Listed EBF High Sheriff Junior Open NH Flat Race at Cheltenham.
His total of 17 wins over hurdles up to the age of 10 included the Grade 1 Neptune Investment Bingham Novice Hurdle at Cheltenham, the Grade 1 Doom Bar Aintree Hurdle, the Grade 2 International Hurdle at Cheltenham three times, the Grade 2 Champion Trial Hurdle at Haydock on four occasions, the Grade 2 Neptune Investment Leamington Novice Hurdle at Warwick and a listed hurdle at Kempton three times.
The New One’s dozen placed efforts saw him finish second four times in the Grade 1 Christmas Hurdle at Kempton Park, runner-up in the Grade 1 John Smith’s Aintree Hurdle (he was third in it another year), and third in the Stan James Champion Hurdle]
GENTILDONNA has been crowned Horse of the Year in addition to champion three-year-old filly.
The daughter of Deep Impact has had a stellar year winning all three legs of the fillies’ Triple Crown, in addition to beating older fillies and colts in the Japan Cup. She entered the Japanese history books on a number of scores; firstly as the only three-year-old filly to win the Japan Cup, and secondly as the first filly/mare to win four Group 1 races in the same calendar year.
Furthermore, her earnings last year of ¥681,738,000 (€5,750,000) is also a record for a filly in any year. The Japanese horse market is incredibly biased against females. Nevertheless, Gentildonna became the fourth filly in the last five years to be awarded Japan’s top racing honour, the others being Buena Vista and Vodka (twice).
The decision to award Gentildonna champion three-year-old filly status was unanimous among the 289 racing journalists eligible to vote.
However, in the Horse of the Year category, 21 votes were cast in favour of Gold Ship who, despite missing out of the top honour, enjoyed the very significant consolation of being the unanimous choice in the champion three-year-old colt division. The son of Stay Gold won the Group 1 Satsuki Sho-2000 Guineas and Group 1 Kikuka Sho-St Leger, but could do no better than finish fifth in the Derby which was won by Deep Brillante.
However, Gold Ship proved that the 2012 crop of three-year-olds was a vintage one by beating older horses in the Group 1 Arima Kinen. He remains in training in 2013, and connections have nominated the spring running of the Group 1 Tenno Sho-Emperor’s Cup and the Group 1 Takarazuka Kinen as likely early targets, with a possible trip to Longchamp in the autumn.
Gold Ship is trained in Ritto by Naosuke Sugai who has established himself as one of Japan’s brightest training talents. Though just in his fourth year training, and perhaps lacking the same quality horse-supply chain of some of his competitors, he nevertheless trained the winners of eight group race winners in 2012. In addition to Gold Ship, he also trained Robe Tissage who won the Group 1 Hanshin Juvenile Fillies’ and received all but one vote in the champion two-year-old filly category.
Sugai had the best strike rate last year among the more than 200 JRA-registered trainers, and was awarded the JRA’s ‘best training technique’ award.
As is the case for two-year-old fillies, there is only one Group 1 race in the JRA calendar for juvenile colts, the Futurity Stakes, and its winner is invariably crowned champion two-year-old colt. This year the winner of both honours was Logotype. However, not all were convinced, and 50 votes were cast in favour of other candidates, with the majority going to Epiphaneia, a Symboli Kris S colt out of the Grade 1 American Oaks winner Cessario.
The champion older colt award went to Orfevre. He was champion three-year-old and Horse of the Year in 2011, but had a frustrating time last season. Though he won the Group 1 Takarazuka Kinen, he nevertheless had to settle for heart-breaking defeats in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe and in the Japan Cup. Furthermore, his reputation was seriously sullied early in the year when he attempted to pull up/run out in the Group 2 Hanshin Daishoten.
Nevertheless, he was adjudged by most to be the best older colt and polled 273 of the 289 votes cast.
Lord Kanaloa was the near unanimous winner in the champion sprinter/miler division. The son of King Kamehameha won the Group 1 Sprinters Stakes at home, before successfully flying the flag for Japan in the Group 1 Hong Kong Sprint.
The most competitive division was that of best older filly or mare. Curren Chan, winner of the Group 1 Takamatsunomiya Kinen received 177 votes. However, almost 125 voters thought differently, including 30 who considered that no award in the category should be made in 2012.
The champion dirt horse award went to Nihonpiro Ours, the 20/1 surprise winner of the Group 1 Japan Cup dirt last year.