Japanese star A Shin Hikari has set the bar for his Royal Ascot rivals with a devastating win on his European debut in the Prix d’Ispahan at Chantilly.
In the hands of Yutaka Take, the Masanori Sakaguchi-trained five-year-old toyed with the field, many of whom possessed Group One-winning form.
But they were no match for A Shin Hikari who was having his first start on Tuesday since dominating the Hong Kong Cup field in December.
With Take urging him to the front inside the final 400m, A Shin Hikari strode to a 10-length win over last-start Prix Ganay winner Dariyan.
A Shin Hikari was unsurprisingly slashed in the market for the Prince of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot and is now the 5-2 favourite.
Sakaguchi confirmed Ascot would be the next port of call, but was quick to rule out the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe.
“He did that very well. The ground was our only worry, but he won magnificently,” Sakaguci said.
“To try running in French races was the choice of his owners.
“He will run at Ascot and will then return to Japan as the Arc trip will be too far him.”