Silver for African Gold in G3 Chunichi Shimbun Hai
African Gold bounced back to his best with a battling half-length second in the G3 Chunichi Shimbun Hai at Chukyo, Japan, on Saturday, 11 December.
The Stay Gold homebred was third in the 2019 G2 Copa Republica Argentina but had failed to replicate the same level of form over the past two seasons.
Pushed along leaving the stalls by Kyosuke Kokubun, African Gold soon settled in second as Shonan Bardi established a length and a half advantage.
The front two continued to fill the same positions throughout the 10-furlong contest, with Shonan Bardi kicking for home entering the final two furlongs.
African Gold was unable to press for the lead in the straight but the Masato Nishizono-trained six-year-old stayed on gamely to repel a host of challengers inside the final furlong, hitting the line strongly to secure a second Group placing.
Harry Sweeney, President of Godolphin in Japan, said: “We are thrilled that African Gold finished second in the G3 Chunichi Shimbun Hai today. And as he started at odds of 150/1, it would be inaccurate to suggest that we were other than a little surprised. He is a six-year-old gelding who has recorded his best career result today on what was his 25th career start! And furthermore, he has just become our newest millionaire.
“It is slightly over two years since African Gold’s last win but he nevertheless had just about been washing his face, though a poor run today would certainly have resulted in him being retired. Instead, he will now stay in training next year and will attempt to emulate Territorial who earlier this year won his first ever Group race at the age of seven.
“Kudos to jockey Kokubun who rode today as if he was on the favourite and matched African Gold’s titanic effort.”