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Sunday, April 20, 2003

Big Taste jumps to grand victory

Staff writer

FUNABASHI, Chiba. Pref. -- The money stayed at home this year as the Japan-based Big Taste topped a field of 16, including six foreign runners representing four countries, for a length-and-a-half win of the Nakayama Grand Jump Saturday.

The fourth pick Big Taste covered the 4,250 meters in a record time of 4 minutes, 48.9 seconds with race favorite Gilded Age crossing the wire in second, and last year's champion, St. Steven from Australia, finishing in third place 3 1/2 lengths later.

The 9-year-old St. Steven took the lead for most of the race, place rider Brett Scott said, "I didn't really want to be." But, "the speed was slower and he jumped too well. We were making two lengths on every jump," Scott said.

The winner, Big Taste, on the other hand, had a relatively soft run of it as jockey Katsuyoshi Tsuneishi stayed midfield aiming to pick up the pace in the final stretch, a strategy that paid off.

Big Taste was sired by Northern Farm's "cornerstone" stallion, Northern Taste, who is now 32 years old. Big Taste is now 6-for-19 (5 wins and 13 starts in jump races) and has accumulated over 177 million yen in prize money.

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