Bobby Zen

Stellenbosch (Jpn) (Epiphaneia {Jpn}) reversed the form with her G1 Hanshin Juvenile Fillies conqueror, Ascoli Piceno (Jpn) Daiwa Major (Jpn), as she ran out an authoritative winner of Sunday’s G1 Oka Sho (Japanese 1,000 Guineas) at Hanshin Racecourse, the first leg of the Japanese Triple Tiara.

The hitherto unbeaten Ascoli Piceno was crowned champion Japanese two-year-old filly in 2023, though Stellenbosch didn’t have much to find with the favourite on their Hanshin Juvenile Fillies running when she’d finished best of all from the rear of the field to be beaten just a neck at the line.

This time Joao Moreira’s mount always had Ascoli Piceno in her sights having recovered quickly from a slow start to race on the immediate inside of her old rival, with the pair finding a slot in mid-division as Shonan Manuela (Jpn) (Just A Way {Jpn}) led the field in the early stages. Swinging wide on the home turn, Stellenbosch quickly moved ahead of Ascoli Piceno and again impressed with her strength at the finish as she powered home to claim brief leader Etes Vous Prets (Jpn) (Too Darn Hot {GB}) in the final 100 metres. Ascoli Piceno tried to match strides with the winner but was still three quarters of a length behind at the line, with another half a length back to the fast-finishing Light Back (Jpn) (Kizuna {Jpn}) in third.

It was a third victory in the Oka Sho for trainer Sakae Kunieda, who was previously successful in 2010 with Apapane (Jpn) (King Kamehameha {Jpn}) and in 2018 with the brilliant Triple Tiara heroine Almond Eye (Jpn) (Lord Kanaloa {Jpn}), while Brazilian-born Moreira was celebrating his first win in the Classic.

“She didn’t jump very well, but she did nothing wrong during the race–she was very impressive,” said Moreira. “When we were approaching the home turn, we were trapped but as we passed by the 500-metre marker, we were able to split horses. She went up front a little bit too early and I was worried she couldn’t sustain her speed all the way to the end but, as with all good horses, she has proved to be capable and has given me my second Group 1 win in Japan which will be in my heart forever.”

Stellenbosch shares her sire with Daring Tact (Jpn), who also completed the Triple Tiara in 2020, while Liberty Island (Jpn) (Duramente {Jpn}) became the seventh filly to win all three legs in 2023. The next leg, the G1 Yushun Himba (Japanese Oaks), takes place at Tokyo Racecourse on Sunday, May 19.

Prior to filling the runner-up spot in the Hanshin Juvenile Fillies, Stellenbosch won two of her first three starts last year, making a successful debut over nine furlongs at Sapporo in July before bouncing back from her first defeat to double her career tally over a mile at Tokyo in November.

Pedigree Notes

Stellenbosch is one of three Classic winners and four Group 1 winners for Epiphaneia, who won the G1 Kikuka Sho (Japanese St Leger) himself in 2013. He later doubled his tally at the top level when also winning the Japan Cup the following year. As well as the Triple Tiara heroine Daring Tact, Epiphaneia is also responsible for the G1 Satsuki Sho (Japanese 2,000 Guineas) winner Efforia (Jpn), who subsequently struck in the G1 Tenno Sho (Autumn) and G1 Arima Kinen in a brilliant three-year-old campaign in 2021. Circle Of Life (Jpn) was the champion two-year-old filly for Epiphaneia the same year when the G1 Hanshin Juvenile Fillies was her standout victory.

Last year’s Hanshin Juvenile Fillies runner-up Stellenbosch is the first winner and first runner out of the winning Bloukrans (Jpn), who did her best work at around 10 furlongs on turf. Bloukrans is in turn out of a half-sister to the late Deep Impact (Jpn), the Japanese Triple Crown winner who quickly rose to become one of the world’s most influential stallions. Deep Impact and Stellenbosch’s grandam, Land’s Edge (Jpn), were both out of the blue hen Wind In Her Hair (Ire), herself a Group 1 winner in Germany and runner-up in the G1 Oaks at Epsom.


Sunday, Hanshin, Japan
OKA SHO (JAPANESE 1000 GUINEAS)-G1, ¥304,040,000, Hanshin, 4-7, 3yo, f, 1600mT, 1:32.20, fm.
1–STELLENBOSCH (JPN), 121, f, 2, Epiphaneia (Jpn)
            1st Dam: Bloukrans (Jpn), by Rulership (Jpn)
            2nd Dam: Land’s Edge (Jpn), by Dance in the Dark (Jpn)
            3rd Dam: Wind in Her Hair (Ire), by Alzao
O-Katsumi Yoshida; B-Northern Farm (Jpn); T-Sakae Kunieda;
J-Joao Moreira; ¥166,628,000. Lifetime Record: 5-3-2-0,
¥215,468,000. Werk Nick Rating: A++.
Click for the free catalogue-style pedigree.
Click for the eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree.
2–Ascoli Piceno (Jpn), 121, f, 3, by Daiwa Major (Jpn)–Ascolti
(Jpn), by Danehill Dancer (Ire). O-Sunday Racing; B-Northern
Farm (Jpn); ¥63,608,000.
3–Light Back (Jpn), 121, f, 3, by Kizuna (Jpn)–In The Spotlight
(Ire), by Exceed And Excel (Aus). 1ST GROUP BLACK TYPE.
(¥242,000,000 Ylg ’22 HOKJUL). O-Kazuhiro Masuda; B-Lake
Villa Farm (Jpn); ¥38,804,000.
Margins: 3/4, NK, HF. Odds: 3.30, 2.50, 13.60.
Also ran: Sweep Feet (Jpn), Etes Vous Prets (Ire), Wide Latour (Jpn), Sekitoba East (Jpn), Queen’s Walk (Jpn), Teumessa (Jpn), Hawaian Tiare (Jpn), Ipheion (Jpn), Chicago Sting (Jpn), Cervinia (Jpn), Mask All Win (Jpn), Cecile Plage (Jpn), Corazon Beat (Jpn), Shonan Manuela (Jpn), Catfight (Jpn). Click for the JRA chart & video.


It was overnight glory for Stellenbosch and magic man Joao Moreira in the Japanese Oka Sho (1000 Guineas)!#ステレンボッシュ #競馬 #桜花賞 @netkeiba

— At The Races (@AtTheRaces) April 7, 2024


The post Strong Finish Carries Stellenbosch To Oka Sho Glory appeared first on TDN | Thoroughbred Daily News | Horse Racing News, Results and Video | Thoroughbred Breeding and Auctions.

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