Saturday 24 February 2018

Joshua Tree fails to make it big in Japan for O'Brien

Nick Robson

Aidan O'Brien's Joshua Tree failed to trouble the judge in a controversial renewal of the Japan Cup in Tokyo.

Winner of the Canadian International, Joshua Tree could do no better than 10th -- one place ahead of James Given's Dandino.

Star filly Buena Vista was easily first past the post under Christophe Soumillon, but was demoted into second after being adjudged to have caused interference with Rose Kingdom, which was surprisingly awarded the race in the winner's enclosure.

Buena Vista, trained by Hiroyoshi Matsuda, had just three behind her as they straightened up along the straight, but Soumillon's mount flew when asked to go about her business.

Although the scrimmaging with the Kojiro Hashiguchi-trained Rose Kingdom appeared minimum, the Yutaka Take-ridden colt was announced the winner following a 20-minute inquiry.


Victoire Pisa finished third, with the Ryan Moore-ridden Jaguar Mail fourth. A philosophical Soumillon said: "It's always very bad news when the stewards are not on your side, but I try to be happy.

"For me, I won the race. I was really surprised and I couldn't understand what happened. It was a dream come true to win this race, but racing is racing. I'm very unhappy for the trainer and all of her fans. She's the most wonderful filly I have ever ridden."

Jockey Colm O'Donoghue said of Joshua Tree: "I am happy with his performance. He is only a three-year-old and we have a lot to look forward to.

"I am proud to have been able to ride in the Japan Cup against such a strong field of good horses from Japan, as well as overseas."

O'Brien's assistant Thomas Comerford added: "I think it was run a bit too slow for us. He was staying on and the next thing you know the other horses just passed us. It turned into a sprint."

Irish Independent

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