Trainer Tsuyoshi Tanaka will wait for the dust to settle before making any further plans for Logotype after shock front-running tactics brought about an upset result in the Yasuda Kinen at Tokyo racecourse yesterday.
Logotype was a dual Group One winner as a young horse but hadn’t won for more than three years, let alone at the highest level, before denying Japan’s reigning horse of the year Maurice back-to-back Yasuda Kinen wins and leaving Hong Kong raider Contentment a disappointing last.
A decision on whether overseas targets, including the Hong Kong Mile, are on the agenda for Logotype will be left for another day after jockey Hironobu Tanabe sprang to the front at the start and made the most of a soft lead on the six-year-old.
“Finally we have broken through this wall and got this Group One,” a visibly relieved Tanaka said after Logotype held off Maurice and Fiero for his first victory since taking the Satsuki Sho, the Japanese 2,000 Guineas, in April 2013. “To be honest, this victory today was unexpected so I haven’t made my plans yet.”
In a race that looked to lack pace on paper, Logotype still wasn’t the expected pacesetter, but just as much of a surprise was the presence of Maurice outside the leader – although Tommy Berry later admitted that wasn’t his plan and that his horse had overraced.
“I didn’t envision the race panning out like that at all, we thought there would be a lot more pressure in the race, being a Group One,” Berry said after Maurice’s winning streak was snapped at seven. “We saw ourselves being fourth with cover, at the closest, and fifth or sixth if they really ran along. Being outside the leader was never an option, but I didn’t have a choice after going a furlong. He just pulled himself there and went quite keen after that.
“He copped a couple of bumps with Contentment at the start that got him a little bit fired up and when there was no speed, he got on the bit and just became keen for the first half of the race. He relaxed a little bit when we got down the side of the track, and he was still on the bit as we came into the straight. I waited for the horses we thought were the chances to come up alongside before I let him go, but the winner stuck on well, which we didn’t expect it to do. He had a soft lead in front and my bloke was just out of his comfort zone a little bit being outside the leader.”
After the initial jostling with Maurice, Contentment was given a lovely run in the race by Brett Prebble, sitting on the leader’s back, but the jockey said the John Size-trained five-year-old might not have been comfortable on slightly shifty ground that had been softened by showers, although he agreed that the slow first half of the race had made it tough for the chasers.
“I don’t think he liked the footing, the ground was pretty shifty and chopped up and he didn’t appreciate it,” Prebble said. “He jumped out and he really didn’t travel until the favourite came around him, and Maurice kept bumping him and taking his running a bit. He got on the bridle and wanted to be a little bit more competitive but once we got in behind him I was happy.”
“I was happy at the 1,000m mark because they were crawling. I was behind the favourite and I was pretty happy about it, but with 600 metres to go I could feel he wasn’t on the bridle like he would be in Hong Kong. It was a crawl and sprint – no pressure on the leader whatsoever. I’d have loved to have been on the leader on the circle, I knew that he was going to win.”
Size left Tokyo empty-handed once again – Contentment was his eighth runner in the race - and said the lean gelding may have been feeling the effects of a long season.
“He raced like an empty horse, there was nothing to give – he was the first horse beaten,” Size said. “He’d had nine runs this season and that was his 10th run, we’re always in that position here, that we hope a horse has another run in him. He did everything perfectly running up towards the race, but on the day he’s got nothing there. It’s disappointing but it happens to some horses.”