Heartache for Lemon Pop in G3 Musashino Stakes
Lemon Pop saw his unbeaten record at Tokyo ended by the narrowest of margins as he was headed on the line by Gilded Mirror in the G3 Musashino Stakes on Saturday, 12 November.
The four-year-old colt, making his G3 debut for Hiroyasu Tanaka having scored on all six of his previous course visits, soon raced in third behind this season’s Godolphin Mile winner Bathrat Leon and Admire Lupus.
Bathrat Leon kicked on at the top of the straight, with Lemon Pop moving up to second under Keita Tosaki just inside the final quarter-mile.
Lemon Pop closed inexorably on the leader and hit the front in the dying strides but was himself collared passing the post by Gilded Mirror, who flashed home for a nose verdict.
Harry Sweeney, President of Godolphin in Japan, said: “We’re very disappointed. Lemon Pop has been an amazingly consistent horse and even in defeat today, his record is an impressive six wins and three seconds from only nine starts. However, having won his last four starts in impressive fashion, we were dreaming of gold today.
“There are no obvious excuses and he was just caught on the line. His trainer believes that he is better sprinting but unfortunately there are very few options for him at this level in Japan. We are ultimately hoping that he will run in the G1 February Stakes over a mile early next year and that was part of the reason we stepped him up to a mile today.
“Though a winner now of almost US$1,200,000, incredibly, he may still not have earned enough to guarantee him a run in the G1 February Stakes and may need to race again in January to make sure of a starting berth.”