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Shock Action leads home 1-2 in G3 Niigata Nisai Stakes


Shock Action and Blue Symphony set up an exciting autumn for Godolphin’s two-year-olds in Japan as the duo finished first and second in the G3 Niigata Nisai Stakes over a mile at Niigata on Sunday, 30 August.

Both colts went into the mile contest on the back of impressive victories, with the Ryuji Okubo-trained Shock Action winning by four lengths at Niigata earlier this month and Blue Symphony having scored on debut for Keizo Ito at Tokyo in June.

Shock Action raced in fifth of the 11-strong field for much of the race under Keita Tosaki as Havasu set off into an uncontested lead, with Blue Symphony being held up towards the rear early on by Hironobu Tanabe before moving up to third just after the halfway point.

Blue Symphony continued to take closer order and went second approaching the final three furlongs before staying on well to press for the lead as Havasu started to fade a furlong and a half from home.

Shock Action quickened powerfully to also challenge for the lead over a furlong from home and the son of Gleneagles soon asserted, powering clear inside the final furlong to win by a length and three-quarters. Blue Symphony kept on in second to finish half a length ahead of Phrase d’Armes, despite drifting towards the stands’ rail in the closing stages.

Harry Sweeney, President of Godolphin in Japan, said: “We are thrilled with the result. Shock Action looked very good when winning last time out but we were not able to assess from his maiden win exactly how good he was. However, we are all now very clear that he is top class. It was a fine performance as he pulled away from the field in the home straight to win impressively and cosily by close to two lengths. He was not put under any great pressure and showed a lot of maturity to run up the centre of the long Niigata straight and to bank the US$300,000 winner’s cheque.

“His trainer, Ryuji Okubo, had been very bullish about this horse for some time. Even after he was defeated on his first start, the trainer was adamant that Shock Action was well above average. He has been proven to be absolutely correct. With this win he now already has enough earned prizemoney to guarantee himself a starting berth in the G1 Satsuki Sho (Japanese 2,000 Guineas) next year. He will however run again before that and will probably line up in the G1 Futurity over a mile in December with possibly a prep race before that. He will now be given a spell.

“It was a great run also by Blue Symphony to finish second and it is unfortunate that it was another Godolphin horse that denied him the main prize. Hironobu Tanabe made plenty of use of the horse early on in Niigata’s long straight but he held on gallantly for second. He raced along the inside rail early in the straight but was allowed to drift, perhaps intentionally, and ended up very close to the outside rail at the winning post. In either case, it was not the most economical of routes and there certainly is a big win in this horse in the near future. His jockey reported after the race that he felt the colt may perhaps be better suited by 1400 metres at this stage.

“Both of these horses were pre-trained at our Castle Park pre-training facility and kudos to our team there.”