Second favourite Efforia took an impressive three-length win in the 81st Satsuki Sho (Japanese 2,000 Guineas) at Nakayama on Sunday.
The son of Shadai Stallion Station’s Epiphaneia was a second Grade 1 winner for the sire (after Daring Tact’s Fillies’ Triple Crown victory in 2020) and is now a career four wins from four starts.
The Carrot Farm-owned bay colt is out of the three time-winning Heart’s Cry mare Katies Heart, she being a three-quarter sister to multiple Grade 1-winning champion and sire Admire Moon.
Effori made two starts as a juvenile, winning his debut at Sapporo in August last year, before tasting victory at Tokyo Racecourse in November. His three-year-old campaign began with a victory in the Group 3 Kyodo News Hai Tokinominoru Kinen in February 2021.
Efforia, trained by second-time Japanese Grade 1-winning handler Yuichi Shikato, broke from gate seven in the 16-runner field. He tracked the pace set by World Revival passing the grandstand on the first circuit.
Efforia gained the lead in the home stretch, soon finding himself a number of lengths clear of the field. He passed the winning post with three lengths to spare over his rivals in the $2.273 million race. Titleholder claimed the runner-up position, a neck in front of Stella Veloce.
“I was fortunate to have been able to ride this colt since his debut” said the maiden Grade 1-winning jockey Takeshi Yokoyama. “Although I knew the colt,” he continued, “coming here undefeated, (he) would be heavily backed and the pressure would be great.”
The young rider, in only his fifth season, continued:
“I believed that if I put my concentration on using whatever skills I had as a rider and bring out the best performance from my horse, that we would have a great chance of winning,” he explained.
The successful jockey, Takeshi Yokoyama is the son of Norihiro Yokoyama a winning rider of the Japanese 2000 Guineas with Seiun Sky in 1998, the year Takeshi was born.
Interestingly, they are the third father-son jockey winners of the colts’ Classic following Yutaka and father Kunihiko Take and Yuichi and father Yoichi Fukunaga.
Efforia will now likely be aimed at the Tokyo Yushun (Japanese Derby) over 1m mile 4 furlongs at Tokyo Racecourse on 30 May 2021, with the Kikuka Sho (Japanese St Leger) over 1 mile and seven furlongs on 24 October 2021 at Kyoto Racecourse the probable long-term target this season.
Next Classic action in Japan is the Yeshun Himba (Japanese Oaks) on 23 May 2021 at Tokyo Racecourse when white horse, Sodashi, winner of the recent $2.16 million Grade 1 Oka Sho (Japanese 1000 Guineas) at Hanshin Racecourse, will go in search of a victory in the second leg of the 2021 Japanese Fillies’ Triple Crown.
Photo: Efforia, (Courtesy of Japanese Racing Association)