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G3 return for Darlington Hall in Kyodo News Hai


Darlington Hall steps back up to G3 company on his three-year-old return in the Kyodo News Hai over nine furlongs at Tokyo, Japan, on Sunday, 16 February.

The New Approach colt quickened strongly to score in a nine-furlong newcomers’ race at Hakodate in July before a staying-on third over the same trip in the G3 Sapporo Nisai Stakes at Sapporo in August.

Darlington Hall, who is trained by Tetsuya Kimura and ridden by Christophe Lemaire, was also third in the Habotan Sho over a mile a quarter at Nakayama at the end of November. He breaks from stall six in a field of nine that is dominated by unbeaten G3 winner My Rhapsody.

Harry Sweeney, President of Godolphin in Japan, said: “This will be a real test for Darlington Hall. My Rhapsody won all his races last year, culminating in a G3, and was ranked the third best JRA two-year-old colt with a rating of 112. Darlington Hall by comparison was given a rating of 100. When they meet on Sunday, My Rhapsody will have just a 1kg penalty.

“Darlington Hall however has a reasonable chance of finishing second or third. On his last start, he was a little keen early on and had to come wide but finished well to take third in a race which was won in a new record time for 2000 metres. He will have no problem stepping back to 1800 metres and has been pleasing his trainer of late. I expect him to make the frame.”