12/02/2012 1:44PM

Japan: Nihonpiro Ours sets track record winning Japan Cup Dirt


Nihonpiro Ours, an 18-1 outsider, won the biggest race of his career, and first Grade 1, in Sunday’s $3.3 million Japan Cup Dirt at Hanshin Racecourse.

Ridden by Manabu Sakai for trainer Yuki Ohashi, Nihonpiro Ours closed  from fourth in a field of 16 to win by 3 1/2 lengths over Wonder Acute.

Nihonpiro Ours ran 1,800 meters, or about 1 1/8 miles, in a track- record time of 1:48.8.

Wonder Acute, second in the 2011 Japan Cup Dirt, closed from the back of the field and finished a half-length in front of the 3-year-old colt Hokko Tarumae. Roman Legend, the 6-5 favorite, could only finish fourth.

Transcend, the winner of the 2011 Japan Cup Dirt, finished last after racing in third on the backstretch. Espoir City, the winner of the 2009 Japan Cup Dirt and third last year, finished 10th.

Nihonpiro Ours, a 5-year-old horse by White Muzzle, has won 10 of 22 starts and approximately $4.6 million, racing in Japan. Owned by breeder Hyakutaro Kobayashi, Nihonpiro Ours was ninth in the 2011 Japan Cup Dirt. Earlier this year, he won stakes at two of Japan’s minor tracks, Nagoya and Kanazawa.

Handle for the Hanshin program was approximately $247.7 million, according to a statement from the Japan Racing Association.