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Monday, May 12, 2008

Deep Sky dazzles in NHK Mile Cup victory

Staff writer

Race favorite Deep Sky pocketed the first of the spring slew of Tokyo G1s Sunday at Fuchu as the Agnes Tachyon colt topped a full gate of 3-year-olds to win by a length-and-three-quarter margin over third choice Black Shell.

News photo
Sky high: Top favorite Deep Sky, ridden by Hirofumi Shii, gallops to win the NHK Mile Cup on Sunday at Tokyo Racecourse in a time of 1 minute, 34.2 seconds. KYODO PHOTO

Goshawk Ken pulled the field of the NHK Mile Cup at a brisk pace as winning jockey Hirofumi Shii held Deep Sky three from the rear three widths off the rail until the final turn.

Despite rain throughout most of the morning, the quickly draining turf at Tokyo Racecourse had improved to slightly yielding.

"Everyone was in the same boat as far as the going was concerned so I wasn't worried," said Shii. "I figured most would head wide and I was planning to stay in," the 35-year-old rider said.

True to plan, Deep Sky got a clear run, went head-to-head with Black Shell at the 200-meter mark and pulled away to win.

"This was the race the trainer was aiming for, the one the horse was being conditioned for," Shii admitted. "It feels good to have won it."

Despite the joy of the win, Shii was surely in some pain after being dumped by Deep Sky postrace. Shii, thinking to give the connections a thrill, raised both hands in the air before dismounting, startling his horse.

"It hurts, but it doesn't hurt," Shii said with a laugh. Later he admitted to having injured his hand though there was no indication of broken bones.

Following runnerup Black Shell over the line were two long shots, Danon Go Go and Dream Signal, with second pick Faridat just making the board in fifth. The Ritto-based Deep Sky, owned by Toshio Fukami and trained by Mitsugu Kon, covered the 1,600 meters of turf in 1 minute, 34.2 seconds.

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