World Super Jockey series results
Champion NAR jockey Yasunari Iwata wins the 19th World Super Jockey Series!
In an amazing turnaround, National Association of Racing (NAR) jockey, Yasunari Iwata jumped from 8th place (on 21points) prior to the running of the final World Super Jockey Series (WSJS) race, to snatch victory in the series by 1 point after a brilliant ride steering favourite Osumi Grass One to win the fourth and final leg of the series – the 2005 Golden Boots Trophy, run at Hanshin racecourse today.
Against 8 of the best jockeys in the world, and 5 of the best jockeys in the Japan Racing Association (JRA), Iwata was clearly excited to win the final leg, punching out his left hand in delight when crossing the line.
In a series well known for producing its fair share of upset results, this year three of the four favourites won their races.
The first race, the 2005 Golden Spur Trophy was one of two Series races held on Saturday 3rd December, and was the only Series race to be held on the dirt course. This race, although won by Michael Kinane (Europe) on the odds-on favourite was highlighted by an intelligent ride by local JRA jockey Yutaka Take on the third favourite, going straight to the lead, controlling the pace and almost stealing the race. In the end, under stern riding from Kinane, the favourite Super Chance got to the lead just in time to win by a neck. Another local Japanese JRA jockey, Norihiro Yokoyama made a good start to the series by finishing third on the 11th pick in the race, as did Rafael Bejarano (North America) and Darren Beadman , picking up valuable points for finishing fourth and fifth respectively. Ultimate winner Iwata had been given the rank outsider of the field to ride, and he ended up with a difficult start to the series finishing only 12th.
In the second leg of the series, the 2005 Golden Whip Trophy, Beadman pulled off the only upset of the series, winning the race with a big finish down the outside on Lord Majesty. Iwata made up some ground on the series leaders with a 2nd on Mighty Collar, and fellow Japanese jockey, Shinji Fujita (JRA) earned some good points by finishing 3rd. Kinane followed up his win in the first race with a very impressive 4th on the rank outsider of the field, and ended the first day on top of the points table.
The third race of the series (the Golden Saddle Trophy) was run the next day – Sunday 4th December, and Yokoyama followed up on his 3rd in the first race, with a win (leading all the way) on favourite Nishino Due. Kieren Fallon (Europe) moved up the leader board with a 2nd, and Leith Innes finished 3rd to also improve his position. Kinane was on the 4th favourite for the race, Meiner Pasion, but could only finish 8th, and ultimate winner Iwata grabbed 7th place in front of him to ensure a shot at the series, riding the favourite in the last race.
Riding Osumi Grass One from the outside barrier, Iwata settled in the second half of the field, getting across to be one off the rails fairly early in the race. The pace in the race was slowed by the leaders during the race, and not wanting to be left too far back in a sprint home, Iwata moved the favourite around the field in a very quick move, and approaching the final turn, he was ready to pounce. He did that in the straight, and eventually went on to an easy 1 3/4 length win. JRA jockey Eiji Nakadate finished 2nd on the second favourite, and Bejarano rode the 9th pick in the race to finish 3rd.
JRA jockey Yokoyama and representative Kinane were the other main chances to win the series, but when Yokoyama finished 6th, and Kinane finished 8th in the last, the series went to Iwata, by just one point!
The final placings (and points) were:
1 Yasunari Iwata (NAR) 41 (1・15・5・20)
2 Norihiro Yokoyama (JRA) 40 (13・1・20・6)
3 Michael Kinane (Europe) 39 (20・11・4・4)
4 Rafael Bejarano (North America) 36 (11・2・10・13)
5 Darren Beadman (Oceania) 33 (10・20・1・2)
6 Shinji Fujita (JRA) 29 (5・13・6・5)
7 Leith Innes (Oceania) 25 (1・10・13・1)
7 Eiji Nakadate (JRA) 25 (6・3・1・15)
9 Kieren Fallon (Europe) 24 (4・4・15・1)
9 Stephane Pasquier (Europe) 24 (2・1・11・10)
11 Yutaka Take (JRA) 22 (15・2・3・2)
12 Edgar Prado (North America) 20 (3・5・1・11)
13 Yuichi Fukunaga (JRA) 10 (1・6・2・1)
14 Douglas Whyte (Asia) 8 (2・1・2・3)
The win in the Golden Boots Trophy was the 26th win for Iwata in the JRA this year, and he will be joining the JRA next year. There are many people looking forward to some exciting rivalry in 2006 between Take - who has completely dominated JRA racing in recent years, and Iwata - who has been one of the most dominant jockeys in the NAR.
If you want a second opinion, just ask me again...
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