Gold Actor stars in Arima Kinen

Profile Picture: Kellie Reilly

December 27th, 2015

Although fan favorite Gold Ship raised the rafters at Nakayama as he began to circle the field on the far turn of Sunday’s Arima Kinen (G1), it was the other “Gold” runner – Gold Actor – who finished best of all to claim the prestigious season-ender. Gold Ship flattened out down the stretch and came home an anticlimactic eighth in his career finale.

Gold Actor, third in last year’s Kikuka Sho (Japanese St Leger) (G1), was making just his second attempt in Grade 1 company here. He furnished new career highs for trainer Tadashige Nakagawa and jockey Hayato Yoshida, who were likewise earning their first Grade 1 laurels. Now unbeaten from four starts this campaign, he has become yet another revelation for his sire Screen Hero, who is also responsible for the latest mile sensation on the world stage, Maurice. Both have burst onto the scene as four-year-olds with perfect seasons in 2015.

The eighth choice at 16-1, Gold Actor was taking a class hike after scoring his first stakes victory in the November 8 Copa Republica Argentina (G2) at Tokyo. The blaze-faced dark bay showed in front in the opening strides, but was content to let Kitasan Black and Lia Fail go forward. Those two sophomores, the respective first and third from the recent renewal of the Japanese St Leger, got away with a very steady tempo.

Gold Actor was ideally placed in a ground-saving spot just behind them. In contrast, Queen Elizabeth II Cup (G1) heroine Marialite was parked out wide from post 16 throughout.

Gold Ship, unhurried in his usual spot at the rear early, made a bold move approaching the final turn and briefly appeared to have the leaders in his sights. But the race shape had been against the 3-1 favorite, and the more forwardly placed runners simply had too much pace left for the drive. To his credit, he actually tried, but could not sustain his effort.

Meanwhile, Kitasan Black had put away the tiring Lia Fail, only to have Marialite seamlessly take up the baton from her fellow U. Carrot colorbearer. Marialite served up a stiff challenge, but she could not overtake the stubborn Kitasan Black. Her cumulative ground loss may have proven costly in these final stages.

Then Gold Actor whipped around them both and finished with a flourish. Sounds of Earth, always in striking range on the outside, also did his best work late and missed by a neck. Kitasan Black hung tough for third, a head in front of Marialite. Lovely Day, the 7-2 second choice, reported home fifth. Tosen Reve recorded the fastest final three furlongs (:34.4) when rallying from far back for sixth.

Gold Actor negotiated 2,500 meters (about 1 9/16 miles) on the firm turf in 2:33.0, advancing his record to 13-7-2-1.

“It was my first time riding this colt at Nakayama, but I knew that this course would suit him and having picked a good draw, I was able to ride him as I had imagined,” Yoshida said. “We made a rather early move so I was praying that he would stay to the finish. He’s a smart horse and I knew that he had the ability to perform at this level.

“I, as a jockey, took up this career to become a Grade 1 winner and I am happy that my efforts to this day finally paid off.”

A May 18 foal, Gold Actor broke his maiden early in his 3-year-old season and progressed over the course of 2014, concluding the year with his placing in the Japanese St Leger. He wasn’t seen again until July 4, but returned successfully from the eight-month layoff in a Hakodate allowance. Resurfacing after another three-month break, he landed an allowance at Tokyo October 12, and made it a hat trick in the aforementioned Copa Republica Argentina.

While Gold Actor has more to offer, Gold Ship will now sail into the sunset. Japan’s champion 3-year-old colt of 2012 won a pair of classics, the Satsuki Sho (Japanese Two Thousand Guineas) (G1) and St Leger, two runnings of the Takarazuka Kinen (G1), and this year’s Tenno Sho Spring (G1). His retirement ceremony was held after the Arima Kinen, which he won in 2012 and had taken third the past two years.


Photo courtesy of Tomoya Moriuchi/