Frankel-sired Soul Stirring (#3) provided Frankel with his first G1 winner last season as a 2yo. On Sunday, she became his first classic winner when she captured the G1 Yushun Himba (Japanese Oaks)
Race favorite Soul Stirring (Frankel – Stacelita) took advantage of the firm track condition as she powered to a 1 3/4-length victory in the Group 1 Yushun Himba (Japanese Oaks).
Bouncing back from a third-place finish in the Oka Sho (Japanese 1000 Guineas), in which she failed to show her best over soft going, the 2016 Champion Two-Year-Old Filly also gave jockey Christophe Lemaire one memorable victory as the French rider was able to celebrate Oaks victories in two countries—one with Soul Stirring’s dam Stacelita (2009 G1 Prix de Diane in France) and now his first Oaks victory in Japan. Trainer Kazuo Fujisawa, whose last G1 victory was in the Asahi Hai Futurity Stakes with Satono Ares last December, became the first JRA trainer to reach a milestone of 100 grade-race titles since the graded system was implemented in 1984 while scoring his 25th career G1 win. Christophe Lemaire, who also won the G1 Victoria Mile with Admire Lead only last week, landed his 12th career G1 title.
Soul Stirring was well-positioned along the rails among the leaders behind Flawless Magic and edged closer to second position while angling slightly away from the rails after the third corner. Smooth into her stretch drive along the center lane, she assumed command before the furlong pole and drew away to a comfortable victory as Mozu Katchan, looking to have any chance from behind on her inside, failed to pin her down.
“It’s such a thrill for me as I also won the Oaks back home with her mother. Soul Stirring certainly has inherited the power both from her sire and her dam. I was quite confident coming into this race. I wasn’t sure yet about the distance as it was her first time (at 2400m) so I wanted her in a good position which I did because she is quick out of the gate. She also has a good lasting speed so I was able to give her the go from early at the stretch and sustain our bid right up to the finish,” commented Christophe Lemaire.
Mozu Katchan saved ground in mid-division early, a few lengths behind Soul Stirring, followed that foe into the stretch and launched her bid as they overtook the tired pacesetter but was unable to keep up with the winner while well clear of the others in second. Admire Miyabi bounced back to form after struggling over the rain sodden track in the Oka Sho. Unhurried after breaking from an outside stall, jockey Mirco Demuro rated the Heart’s Cry filly off the rails and outside a rival, five to six horses from the rear. Making headway approaching the last corner but still well behind as the gray filly swung wide into the lane for a clear run, Admire Miyabi came charging with great force along the uphill stretch with the fastest finish over the last three furlongs and continued to overtake her rivals while unable to threaten the leaders after having to make much ground.
Winning time for the 12-furlong Yushun Himba was 2:24.10. Soul Stirring, who became her sire’s first Group 1 winner when she captured the Hanshin Juvenile Fillies Stakes last December, improved her overall record to three wins and a third in four starts. Soul Stirring races as a homebred for Shadai Farm.
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