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Blank Cheque third in G3 Leopard Stakes


Progressive filly Blank Cheque produced an admirable display on her first Graded-race appearance when coming home third in the G3 Leopard Stakes at Niigata, Japan, on Sunday, 9 August.

The three-year-old daughter of Pyro, who went into the nine-furlong dirt contest having won three of her four starts for trainer Toru Kurita, raced behind the leaders in sixth on the inside rail.

Blank Cheque made good headway entering the straight and stayed on strongly under Keita Tosaki to go second a furlong and a half from home. She was passed by Miyaji Kokuo in the closing stages but kept on to go down by three and a quarter lengths in total behind Kenshinko, who won in a course record time.

Harry Sweeney, President of Godolphin in Japan, said: “It was a pleasing run by Blank Cheque. She started as fifth favourite but finished third and therefore outperformed market expectations. Nevertheless, we would have much preferred if she won, so it may be more accurate to report that we are pleased rather than elated. That being said, Blank Cheque has proven that she is a top-class filly. She lined up today against twelve colts and two other fillies and has shown that she can be competitive in Group races.

“The winner today was imperious and smashed the previous track record by 0.3s. Indeed, Blank Cheque was just 0.2s outside the previous record and further validates her run. We don’t believe she was inconvenienced by the 1800m trip today and feel that her best distance is eight to nine furlongs.

“Blank Cheque’s scorecard now reads three wins, one second and one third from a total of five career starts. She will now be sent back to the farm for a well-deserved spell. She is a big strong filly and we believe she has a bright future. We will allow her plenty of time to strengthen and develop and may indeed run her back next time in a conditions race before aiming at a Group race again.

“The winner today, Kenshinko, like Blank Cheque, is by Pyro who stands in Darley Japan and we can draw some consolation from that. Pyro has established himself as one of Japan’s best dirt sires and covered a large book of mares again this year.”