Admire Mars’ record franked by Gran Alegria

Admire Mars defeated subsequent Champion Sprinter-Miler Gran Alegria in the 2019 NHK Mile Cup G1. (PHOTO: J. Fukuda/JRA)

Gran Alegria’s recent Twitter appearance as a mocked-up Vogue cover girl reflects her status as the new star of Japanese racing.

Her outstanding performance to finish a close second to Danon Kingly in the Tokyo Yasuda Kinen G1 on 6 June – which Gran Alegria won in 2020 – did not diminish her standing as a 5-time Group 1 winner and Japan’s Champion Sprinter-Miler of 2020.

It also prompts a fresh look at the racing career of Arrowfield’s new stallion for 2021, Admire Mars who met Gran Alegria in four Group 1 miles and defeated her twice.

Their first encounter was at two in the 2018 Hanshin Asahi Hai Futurity G1 where Admire Mars found another gear in the last 100 metres, defeating the third-placed favourite Gran Alegria by 2.5 lengths in 1:33.9.

Admire Mars’ jockey Mirco Demuro said after that race, “It was our plan to keep our eyes on Gran Alegria and everything went smoothly. He showed a terrific turn of foot. He’s a smart colt and hates to lose.” 

That performance secured the title of Champion 2YO Colt for Admire Mars who earned a rating of 116, well clear of the Champion 2YO Filly Danon Fantasy (111) and Gran Alegria (109).

Five months later the pair met again as 3YOs in the Tokyo NHK Mile Cup G1 and as Demuro explained, Admire Mars prevailed in 1:32.4 despite  a difficult run.

“Our draw was wide, his start wasn’t so good and we had to race in a lower position than hoped, but he just hates to lose—once another runner came up next to him, he found his second wind. He’s truly an amazing miler.”

Gran Alegria, who started favourite after winning the Oka Sho  G1 (Japanese 1000 Guineas), finished gamely for 4th almost two lengths behind Admire Mars, but was subsequently relegated to 5th.

In December 2019 Admire Mars defied his double-figure odds in the Hong Kong Mile G1 to run down Hong Kong Champion Beauty Generation and become the first 3YO winner of the race. Others in Admire Mars’ wake at Sha Tin were dual Group 1 winner Waikuku, Japan’s 2019 Champion Sprinter-Miler Indy Champ and last month’s sensational Doomben Cup G1 winner Zaaki. 

The son of Daiwa Major was awarded an end-of-year figure of 118 alongside Danon Kingly as Japan’s best 3YO turf milers, with Gran Alegria on 117 in the same category and named Champion 3YO Filly. 

Both bred by Katsumi Yoshida’s Northern Farm, Admire Mars & Gran Alegria met as 4YOs  last year in two exceptional Group 1 contests, the Yasuda Kinen and the Hanshin Mile Championship. The mare won both of them, with Admire Mars 6th at Tokyo and a commendable 3rd at Hanshin after rallying strongly to finish a length from Gran Alegria, with Indy Champ between them.

Admire Mars concluded his racing career with a solid third in Golden Sixty’s 2020 Hong Kong Mile G1, and once again beating Waikuku & Beauty Generation.

To put Admire Mars’ record in context, consider where some of these races sit among the LONGINES Top 100 Group 1 Races for 3YOs & upwards, alongside comparable Australian Group 1 races over 1600 metres:
6th – 2020 Yasuda Kinen G1 – ranked 7=; rating 123.25
1st – 2019 Hong Kong Mile – 24=; 119.75
3rd – 2020 Hanshin Mile Championship – 29=; 119.50
3rd – 2020 Hong Kong Mile – 29=; 119.50
2019 George Main S. – 32=; 118.75
2019 Makybe Diva S. – 46=; 118.00
2020 Chipping Norton S. – 51=; 117.50
2020 George Main S. – 82=; 116.00

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