Monday, October 31, 2005
Outsider stuns in Tenno Sho Autumn
HEAVENLY ROMANCE stunned in the 132nd Tenno Sho in front of more than 103,000 in attendance including the Emperor and Empress. In one of the most unexpected finishes in racing history, the 14th pick outsider won the Autumn edition of Emperor’s Cup Sunday afternoon at Tokyo by a head from favorite ZENNO ROB ROY with DANCE IN THE MOOD another neck further away third. ASAKUSA DEN’EN followed in fourth place and SWEEP TOSHO fifth. Mikio Matsunaga was the winning rider to complete the 2,000-meter turf test in 2 minutes 0.1 second.
HEAVENLY ROMANCE, starting at odds of 75.8(or 374-5), is the longest-priced winner since Gallop Dyna at 88.2(or 436-5) chance in 1985. In addition, she is the first female Tenno Sho winner in 8 years since Air Groove’s success in 1997.
As expected, STORMY CAFE led the 18 strong-field, going the first half in 62.4 seconds, and TAP DANCE CITY was right on his tail. HEAVENLY ROMANCE saved the ground at mid-field, just behind ZENNO ROB ROY, while DANCE IN THE MOOD sat behind the leaders.
Before climbing up to the stretch hill, both front-runners were done. From there, DANCE IN THE MOOD took up a lead, and ZENNO ROB ROY was drawing up. For a moment, it looked like the two stablemates would fight it out to the finish, but HEAVENLY ROMANCE was in a hurry. “I never intended to bring her to the outside throughout the race.”, said Matsunaga, who forced her to split between the two and put her head in front at the finish. Trainer Shoji Yamamoto said, “The pace was not as fast as I expected, but she had a very strong finish.”
HEAVENLY ROMANCE, a 5-year-old daughter of Sunday Silence out of the Sadler’s Wells mare First Act, registered the first g1 success, totaling 8th win in 31 starts under the color of North Hills Management Co. Ltd., who is also a breeder of her. The first prize of 135+ million yen brought her career earnings to 391+ million yen.
Posted by starsfaraway at 6:13 PM