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    Little-known Steed Wins the Race in Tokyo
Little-known Steed Wins the Race in Tokyo

Little-known Steed Wins the Race in Tokyo

In a captivating display of skill at Tokyo Racecourse, jockey Yusuke Fujioka astounded spectators by guiding the 38-1 longshot Peptide Nile to a commanding 1 1/4-length victory over Gaia Force in the prestigious $1.8-million February Stakes (G1) on Sunday.

Despite being disregarded as the 11th choice among 16 contenders, the relatively unknown 6-year-old grey produced a stellar performance, securing his maiden graded stakes triumph and marking a career-defining moment.

Peptide Nile's triumph in the one-mile dirt race not only crowned him the victor but also secured him the coveted first automatic spot in this year's $6-million Longines Breeders' Cup Classic (G1) at Del Mar, courtesy of the Breeders' Cup Challenge Series: Win and You're In.

Image Source: Midjourney

Bred by Kineusu Bokujo in Japan, Peptide Nile boasts an illustrious lineage, being the progeny of King Kamehameha and Queen Olive, sired by Manhattan Cafe. Owned by Kazuhiko Numakawa, Peptide Nile clinched his eighth victory in 20 starts, clocking a commendable time of 1:35.70 on a track rated as standard during Sunday's exhilarating race.

Amidst a charged race environment, Don Frankie set a brisk pace, maintaining the lead until the final stretch, closely pursued by Wilson Tesoro, Igniter, Dura Erede, and the eventual champion, Peptide Nile. Navigating expertly in the last turn, Peptide Nile positioned himself strongly in fourth place before unleashing a powerful surge of speed to surge ahead before the furlong pole, ultimately clinching a well-deserved victory.

The triumph also marked a milestone for Peptide Nile's trainer, Hidenori Take, who celebrated his inaugural top-tier victory since establishing his stable in 2018.

Reflecting on the race, Fujioka commended Peptide Nile's performance, marking that he delivered an outstanding performance despite having to deal with a challenging pace. The jockey was surprised by his early and effortless lead. According to Fujioka, while Peptide Nile's previous race didn't unfold as anticipated, maintaining his current rhythm promises a bright future with consistent performances.

Leading up to the race, assistant trainer Kaname Ogino expressed confidence in Peptide Nile's capabilities, emphasising the grey's swift recovery and unwavering strength despite the short interval between races.

Image Source: Midjourney

Gaia Force, making his debut on dirt, displayed commendable resilience to secure the second position. Despite falling short of challenging the winner, his impressive stretch run culminated in a close photo finish, with Sekifu finishing a neck behind in third, followed closely by Tagano Beauty. In contrast, Omega Guiness, the 3-1 favourite, faced a disappointing outcome as he faltered to the 14th position.

The Breeders' Cup Challenge Series, now in its 18th season, offers a platform for winners of select stakes races to secure automatic berths and entry fees for corresponding events at the Breeders' Cup World Championships. Set to take place on November 1-2 at Del Mar, the World Championships will witness the participation of Peptide Nile in the 1 1/4-mile Longines Breeders' Cup Classic, with Breeders' Cup covering entry fees and offering travel allowances for international contenders. To qualify for these rewards, the Challenge winner must be nominated by the Breeders' Cup pre-entry deadline of October 21.


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