Gentildonna failed in her attempt to land a third successive Japan Cup success as she could finish only fourth behind Epiphaneia at Tokyo Racecourse in a contest overshadowed by the death of former Irish Derby winner Trading Leather.
Godolphin’s 2013 Curragh hero died after suffering a serious fracture while running in the Group 1 race. The four-year-old colt Godolphin had hoped would help the stable land its first victory in Japan’s most prestigious race, was pulled up in the final turn.
“Trading Leather was much adored and had a tremendous career, the highlight being his Irish Derby win,” his trainer, Jim Bolger, said on the stable’s website (www.godolphin.com). “His passing is tough for us all, especially my staff. This is a very sad loss.”
Godolphin bought a majority stake in Trading Leather at the end of 2013 after the Irish Derby win and the colt started running in their blue silks this year. He finished third in the Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown in September and has earned $2.2 million (£1.4m) since his debut in 2012.
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Partnered by Ryan Moore, the Sei Ishizaka-trained Gentildonna had no answer as the Christophe Soumillon-ridden Epiphaneia ran out a four-length winner of the 12-furlong Grade 1 event.
Just A Way, who was such an impressive winner in Dubai back in March, had to settle for second with Spielberg a half length back in third and Gentildonna beaten a further three-quarters of a length in fourth.
In Ireland, Valseur Lido emerged an emphatic winner of a highly-competitive renewal of the Bar One Racing Drinmore Novice Chase at Fairyhouse.
Giving owners Gigginstown House Stud and jockey Bryan Cooper a Grade 1 double after the earlier victory of Lieutenant Colonel, the Willie Mullins-trained five-year-old dispensed with the opposition in tremendous style.
Real Steel, also representing Gigginstown, made the running despite losing ground by jumping out to the left on occasions and remained in contention. Valseur Lido (7-2) made smooth progress to lead after the second-last and forged clear to win by eight lengths from Apache Stronghold. Real Steel kept on admirably for third.
The Tullow Tank, the 7-4 favourite, never got into a challenging position and could finish only fifth. Lieutenant Colonel gave Sandra Hughes her first Grade 1 triumph when winning a dramatic race for the Bar One Racing Hatton’s Grace Hurdle at Fairyhouse.
Hughes, who took over the reins when her father, Dessie, died two weeks ago, had her first winner on Saturday – a popular and emotional success. There was drama when the Mullins-trained favourite Zaidpour fell, bringing down King Of The Picts at a flight around the halfway stage and hampering Jetson.
Little King Robin set out to make all the running but was stalked by both the remaining runners. There was little to choose between the pair at the final flight, but Lieutenant Colonel (7-2), owned by Gigginstown produced the better turn of foot for Cooper to score by four lengths from Jetson.
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