Group 1 first for Darley Japan

Darley Japan bred its first domestic Group 1 winner when Danon Chantilly scored an impressive victory in the NHK Mile Cup at Tokyo on Sunday.  The Kunihide Matsudhe trained colt ran the 1600m on turf in 1:31.40s which shaved a full second off the previous record set last year by Jo Cappuccino.

Danon Chantilly (3c Fuji Kiseki – Chansonnette by Mark of Esteem) was ridden quietly by veteran hoop Katsumi Ando while A Shin Duck Man set a blistering pace in front.

Making his move on the corner, Ando balanced Danon Chantilly for the run in and then let the dark bay fly.  They were still four lengths in arrears at the 100 metre mark but fairly flew in the final stages to win by more than a length.  It confirmed his rating as Japan’s top 3yo Miler.

“I knew that he had the ability to come from any position and win,” Ando admitted.  “But I was a little bit worried when the high pace had us quite far off the lead.”

Danon Chantilly was bred at Darley’s Hokkaido base and is by former Arrowfield shuttler Fuji Kiseki from a half-sister to successful sires Singspiel (In the Wings), Rahy (Blushing Groom) and Rakeen (Northern Dancer).

Second dam Glorious Song (Halo) was a G1 winner of the Aqueduct Top Flight Hcp, Keeneland Spinster Stakes, Santa Anita La Canada St and Santa Margarita Invitational.

Danon Chantilly will now attempt to complete a G1 double in the Tokyo Yushun (Japan Derby).  Trainer Kunihide Matsuda and Ando completed the same double in 2004 with King Kamehameha.  “It’s 2400m next and he’s an excitable horse, best suited to the mile,” Ando explained.  “But we can take on the challenge with confidence.”