With last month’s devastating earthquake and tsunami still affecting large portions of the country, Japan transferred the Satsuki Sho (2000 Guineas) from Nakayama to Tokyo and delayed the classic for a week until Sunday, April 24.
Last start G2 Spring Stakes winner Orfevre stormed clear to score by three lengths clocking 2.00.60s for 2000m.
Orfevre (3c Stay Gold – Oriental Art by Mejiro McQueen) is a brother to Japanese champion Dream Journey. He hugged the rail midfield while Eishin Osman (Rock of Gibraltar) spreadeagled the field by seven lengths up front. As the closers caught the runaway leader, jockey Kenichi Ikezoe angled wide with Orfevre and the colt burst away with an impressive turn of foot.
Orfevre and runner-up Sadamu Patek (Fuji Kiseki) were both bred by the Shadai Corporation. Winning trainer Yasutoshi Ikee emulated his father Yasuo Ikee who prepared 2000 Guineas winners No Reason (2002) and Deep Impact (2005).
“I was a bit worried about Nakayama because it’s a tighter track than Tokyo,” Ikee said. “He had been eating up and we worked him hard. I was a lot more confident with him than we were with his big brother Dream Journey.”
Sons of Sunday Silence, namely Stay Gold, Fuji Kiseki, Deep Impact, Agnes Tachyon and Manhattan Cafe, accounted for the first seven home.
Orfevre’s sire Stay Gold won the 2001 Dubai Sheema Classic and G1 Hong Kong Vase before retiring to the Breeders Stallion Station. His 16 stakes winners have all raced in Japan except for El Dorado who doubled up in the G1 Singapore Gold Cup.