Bathrat Leon Fights His Way To 1351 Turf Sprint Glory
25 February 2023
25 February 2023 – Japanese sprinter-miler Bathrat Leon (JPN) made the most of his potent mix of speed and willpower to land the 1351 Turf Sprint presented by stc, and add another big prize in the Middle East to his resume.
A fast-diminishing head margin separated the Yoshito Yahagi-trained five-year-old from the American raider Casa Creed (USA), who had also finished runner-up in the race in 2022.
Bathrat Leon made all the running. He was sharpest from the gates and established a break of a length or so on the rail until swinging for home with jockey Ryusei Sakai appearing confident.
At this point Casa Creed broke from his position in midfield and began to reduce the margin. With 100m to go he was a length down, but the post came just in time for Bathrat Leon in a slick winning time of 1:17.49.
Local-trained runner Raaed (IRE) ran on strongly from the tail of the field to nick third. Last year’s winner, the Japanese mare Songline (JPN), did not perform with the same verve and trailed home in second-last place.
Successful in the Godolphin Mile on dirt at the Dubai World Cup meeting last year, connections indicated Bathrat Leon would aim for a repeat success in the same race at Meydan next month.
Ryusai Sukai, jockey, Bathrat Leon, 1st: "I am very grateful to the owner and my boss Mr Yahagi and the connections who gave me the chance to ride here. My horse had the best run, he had a great trip."
Yoshito Yahagi, trainer, Bathrat Leon: "Even as a trainer, I don’t have the right answer if he is a turf horse or a dirt horse. I thought Bathrat Leon would suit the turf here and the distance. I think his best is seven furlongs, this is six-and-a-half furlongs.
"The jockey and I had the same opinion to go from the front, they get on very well. We won today, we have to have a discussion with the owner. He handles turf pretty well, but at the moment I would say we can look at the Godolphin Mile."
Luis Saez, jockey, Casa Creed, 2nd: "He broke from there pretty well and I was in a good position. I thought we were going to get up to win but every time the winning horse just kept going and going and it was too late when we passed him. That's racing but I saw the line and I knew I was not in front in time. He tried pretty hard, it’s just the winner was tough to catch. I thought we were going to get him."
Ricardo Ferreira, jockey, Raaed, 3rd: "I think this was a good race for my horse. He did not jump very well so I had to come from last and I needed to wait, but the horse finished very well."
Sean Levey, jockey, Happy Romance, 4th: "She was back from a layoff so she ran a blinder. It’s difficult for her to lay up over the trip but she stuck her neck out. We think she’ll come on for the run and will hopefully go to Dubai."
Christophe Lemaire, Songline, 11th: "We were a little outpaced when leaving the stalls but we were just behind the second who could have taken me a long way if I had the horse, but the mare was never on the bridle and gave me the impression that she was holding back."