Equinox is the ‘best horse in the world’, says French jockey
Christophe Lemaire’s mount clocked a fifth consecutive top-level win at a canter
The world’s best racehorse, Equinox, registered a fifth consecutive top-level win with staggering ease when he landed back-to-back runnings of the Tenno Sho (Autumn) in Tokyo on Sunday.
Christophe Lemaire’s mount was well positioned in the mile-and-a-quarter event and breezed to the front inside the final two furlongs, stretching away in the closing stages to score by two and a half lengths from Justin Palace, who won the Tenno Sho (Spring) at Kyoto in April.
Equinox set a track record, beating the previous mark by 0.9sec, and the best time for the distance in Japan, after being aided by front-runner Jack D’Or’s fierce pace from the outset.
Lemaire said: “Equinox has it all and is the best horse in the world. He can get a good position from the start and then he runs calmly through the race.
“He quickens well at the end and has stamina, as he showed in the Arima Kinen. He’s not exactly a horse with incredible speed, but he was able to keep up with the rapid pace and get into another gear at the end — though I was actually surprised he won in a record time. He really is the perfect horse.
“I was confident beforehand knowing what he’s capable of and it was nice to go out there and show it.”
Equinox was paraded in front of the stands after the victory.
Equinox beat Panthalassa in this race in 2022 before going on to land the Arima Kinen, Dubai Sheema Classic and Takarazuka Kinen, putting him on top of the Longines World’s Best Racehorse rankings on 129, as of October 8.
The last horse to win back-to-back runnings of the Tenno Sho (Autumn) was the wondermare Almond Eye in 2019 and 2020, with Symboli Kris S the other consecutive winner in 2002 and 2003.
Almond Eye won the 2020 Japan Cup on her final start, and Equinox could take on St Leger winner Continuous in the Group 1 at Tokyo on November 26. Equinox is 1-2 (from evens) for the Japan Cup with Paddy Power, and if successful, will become the highest prize-money earner in Japanese racing history.
Meanwhile, 35 European hopefuls flew out of Stansted airport in the UK on Saturday headed for Los Angeles and the big Breeders Cup meeting at Santa Anita in California.
The Breeders Cup Turf — scheduled for November 4 — is set to be a cracking contest with trainer Roger Varian confirming his recent Champion Stakes winner, King Of Steel, a definite starter with Frankie Dettori in the saddle.
Mostahdaf, winner of the Juddmonte International at York in August, tops the betting boards at 5-2. He ran fourth behind Equinox in the Sheema Classic in Dubai in March.
It’s been a frustrating year for Aidan O’Brien’s three-year-old, Auguste Rodin, but the colt makes the journey to California and is the ruling second favourite at 11-4.
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