CONTRAIL maintained his unbeaten record with victory in the Grade 1 Satsuki Sho (Japanese 2000 Guineas) at Nakayama racecourse.
The son of Deep Impact was making his three-year-old debut and is now four from four heading to his next target, the Tokyo Yushun (Japanese Derby).
Drawn on the inside, he was switched and smoothly circled runners wide into the straight before getting the better of the also-unbeaten Salios during the final furlong, scoring by half a length with the pair well clear of the third.
The manner of victory saw Paddy Power cut Contrail to 16/1 from 33/1 for the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe.
Winning jockey Yuichi Fukunaga said: “He won strongly today. The race itself wasn’t the way as I had expected. I actually had the idea of him racing further up in front as usual, but as it turned out, he wasn’t keen to go up front early and I didn’t push him so we were positioned much farther behind going around the second corner.
“I had no choice but to change lanes to the outside after that, but with the way he was moving in the post parade and the response once I took him to the outside, I had every confidence in him entering the stretch.
“His power was so that I thought we might pull away, but Salios didn’t let us win so easily. Winning the way he did today, I am confident that he has every reason to handle the extended distance in the coming Derby.”