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Kanaloa lords it over HK Sprint in breakthrough for Japan

Lord Kanaloa made a sensational impression in his first start outside of Japan (Hong Kong Jockey Club)
Japan's 13 previous starters had been blanked in the Group 1 Hong Kong Sprint, but Lord Kanaloa emphatically ended that shut-out in Sunday's renewal at Sha Tin. After keeping in touch with the early pace for Yasunari Iwata, the Takayuki Yasuda trainee blew the field away with a devastating stretch kick.

"I believe he's the best sprinter in the world," Iwata said, "and was very pleased to see him prove that here in Hong Kong."

Aside from getting his homeland on the scoreboard in this race, Lord Kanaloa snapped the locals' extraordinary run of success in the Sprint. Hong Kong had won nine of the last 10 runnings, and 10 of 13 overall, but the home team could not cope with this progressive shipper.

Lord Kanaloa sat in third while Cerise Cherry and Leading City dueled through the opening quarter. Cerise Cherry then put his pace rival away and established a more comfortable advantage, with Captain Sweet advancing as his nearest pursuer. Favorite and defending champion Lucky Nine, dealt a difficult hand from post 12, was biding his time in last, and incurring a deficit that he couldn't ultimately bridge.

Down the stretch, Lord Kanaloa swooped past Cerise Cherry with remarkable ease and opened up by 2 1/2 lengths. The King Kamehameha colt, who posted the largest winning margin in six years in the Sprint, blitzed six furlongs on the good turf in 1:08 2/5.

Cerise Cherry just saved second from Captain Sweet, and both riders were happy with their efforts.

Lord Kanaloa dusted the Hong Kong brigade in a race that locals have dominated (Hong Kong Jockey Club)
"I decided to go for the rail to avoid interference," Richard Fourie said of Cerise Cherry, "and the horse went all the way. Very brave."

"(Captain Sweet) was not the most fancied of these horses," James McDonald said, "but gave me a good run. I am very pleased with his performance."

Joy and Fun got up for fourth in a commendable reappearance, narrowly besting Lucky Nine.

"What (Joy and Fun) does today is simply amazing," jockey Gerald Mosse said. "He hasn't run since Britain (unplaced in the Group 1 King's Stand at Royal Ascot) and comes back in a Group 1. What a great horse."

"He was gone at the 600 meters," jockey Brett Prebble said of the lackluster Lucky Nine. "He was off the bridle then, which is not him -- wasn't quite himself today."

Admiration reported home sixth, just ahead of the winner's stablemate, the slow-starting Curren Chan. Kenichi Ikezoe, the rider of Curren Chan, claimed foul against Admiration, but the stewards disallowed it.

"She was boxed in right after she jumped from the gate, so she never showed her race," Ikezoe said.  "She is in very good form, so it was very regrettable."

Yasunari Iwata is pumped about Japan's first win in the Sprint (Hong Kong Jockey Club)
Rounding out the field were Flying Blue, Australia's Sea Siren, Singapore's Super Easy, Leading City and a surprisingly empty Time After Time.

"(Sea Siren) was a bit keen early and wanted to lay in," jockey Jim Cassidy said. "I have to say she was disappointing. She was just not herself today."

Joao Moreira, winner of Wednesday night's International Jockeys' Championship, was out of luck here aboard Super Easy.

"The draw (10) went against us and I wasn't able to go in when I wanted," Moreira said. "I was three or four deep all the way, and turning in, I had to come off heels. I was expecting more, but for what this horse has done for me, I'm glad to be sitting on top of him."

"(Time After Time) didn't have the run of the race," Douglas Whyte said of his mount, "but he just didn't have the zip when the question was asked."

Campaigned by Lord Horse Club, Lord Kanaloa boasts a sterling mark of 13-8-4-1 and earnings in excess of 400 million. The bay romped by six lengths in his only start at two, and after two close seconds at seven furlongs and a mile, found his niche in the six-furlong department. Lord Kanaloa commenced a five-race winning streak, highlighted by the Aoi Stakes and a pair of Grade 3s, the Keihan Hai last November and the Silk Road in January.

Making his Grade 1 debut in the Takamatsunomiya Kinen,  Lord Kanaloa was a solid third while stuck down on the inside. He was beaten just three-quarters of a length by Curren Chan, Japan's champion sprinter, in his only finish out of the top two. Upset as the heavy favorite in the Grade 3 Hakodate Sprint in June, he was spelled for the rest of the summer.

Iwata includes Lord Kanaloa's groom in his victory party (Hong Kong Jockey Club)
Lord Kanaloa prefers cooler weather, and returned to action with a strong second in the Grade 2 Centaur Stakes, where he was just nailed at the line. He made no mistake next time in the Grade 1 Sprinters Stakes on September 30 at Nakayama, zipping six furlongs in a course-record 1:06.7 to defeat defending champion Curren Chan. With this landmark success in his first start outside of Japan, he is a lock to replace his stablemate as champion sprinter.

Bred by K.I. Farm in Japan, Lord Kanaloa is a half-brother to multiple stakes-placed Lord Balius. Their dam, the winning Storm Cat mare Lady Blossom, is in turn a half-sister to stakes victor Al Kazan.

Lord Kanaloa's second dam is champion three-year-old filly Saratoga Dew, who garnered the Grade 1 Beldame and Grade 1 Gazelle in 1992. His fourth dam is multiple Grade 2 heroine Alada, and his fifth dam, multiple stakes winner Syrian Sea, is a full sister to Triple Crown legend Secretariat.

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