‘Lemon Pop was awesome’

Lemon Pop, out of Schumer Bloodstock purchase Unreachable, became only the fourth horse to win both JRA Group 1 dirt races in the same calendar year when running away with the Group 1 Champions Cup at Chukyo in Japan on Sunday. What’s more, the Godolphin colour-bearer had to defy a wide draw – almost unheard of in this race – to win.

As it was, he broke smartly under Ryusei Sakai and was always in control, ultimately winning by over a length from Wilson Tesoro.

It was his tenth win in 14 starts; other highlights include this year’s Grade 1 February Stakes.

“Christmas has come early for us in Japan!” said Godolphin’s Harry Sweeney. “And indeed if Santa Claus doesn’t turn up in three weeks¬†time, we won’t be too upset. Lemon Pop was awesome today–there can be no denying that. No horse drawn in the outside three stalls has even made the frame in the last decade, so Lemon Pop needed to overcome the obstacle of the widest draw of all. Also, doing it from the front is probably not the easiest way to win a Group 1, but he had little alternative because of the draw and it was another excellent ride for Ryusei Sakai. In truth, he looked all over the winner when turning in–he was still traveling very well while everyone else was hard at work.

“Though five years old, he is relatively lightly- raced and over four seasons has only run a total of 14 times. As he is in great form, we are hoping to keep him in training for another year and will be considering the G1 Saudi Cup before hopefully going back to Dubai in March.”

The son of Lemon Drop Kid is out of Unreachable, a daughter of Giant’s Causeway from the family of Danehill who was purchased privately by Chad Schumer as agent for $50,000 after she failed to sell at the 2020 Keeneland January Sale. The mare’s yearling colt by Maclean’s Music made $310,000 at the recent Keeneland September Sale to Irish pinhooker Tom Whitehead.