Fan-Favourite Sodashi Lands Horror Draw For Victoria Mile

Sodashi winning last year's Victoria Mile | JRA


Sodashi (Jpn) (Kurofune), the world's most recognisable not to mention most talented registered white horse, has drawn the widest barrier in a field of 18 while making her 5-year-old reappearance in defence of her title in Sunday's G1 Victoria Mile at Tokyo, a 'Win and You're In' qualifier for this year's GI Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf at Santa Anita Park in California.

A two-length winner of this event last season, Sodashi was only fifth as the favourite in last August's G2 Sapporo Kinen (2000m) behind Jack d'Or (Jpn) (Maurice {Jpn}), Panthalassa (Jpn) (Lord Kanaloa {Jpn}) and Win Marilyn (Jpn) (Screen Hero {Jpn}), each of whom have since recorded top-level successes. A head second in the nine-furlong G2 Fuchu Himba over this course in October, the two-time champion was last seen finishing a competitive third behind Serifos (Jpn) (Daiwa Major {Jpn}) in the G1 Mile Championship last November. Sodashi gets a noteworthy change in the saddle Sunday.

“Jockey Damian Lane rode her two weeks ago, and he said he found her easy to ride,” said trainer Naosuke Sugai. “He has been studying all her races and I do want him to ride her as he feels is right. There are a lot of top horses in the lineup, but I want her to be able to bring out her best. Of course, I want results, but the most important thing is that she runs safely and comes out of the race well.”




Reining Japanese champion 3-year-old filly Stars on Earth (Jpn) (Duramente {Jpn}) won the first two legs of last year's Japanese Filly Triple Crown, the G1 Oka Sho and G1 Yushun Himba, ahead of a luckless third behind Stunning Rose (Jpn) (King Kamehameha {Jpn}) in the G1 Shuka Sho. Sidelined thereafter, she flew home late and was unfortunate not to get past the aforementioned Jack d'Or in the G1 Osaka Hai on her seasonal return Apr. 2.

“She'd been coming off a layoff in her previous race, but this time, with a race behind her, I think she has improved,” said jockey Christophe Lemaire, back from his sixth-place effort in the GI Kentucky Derby last weekend. “She feels to be in perfect shape. We lost last time because we were racing from too far back. The start will be important.”

Songline (Jpn) (Kizuna {Jpn}) is back at the mile, having finished a somewhat disappointing 10th behind Bathrat Leon (Jpn) (Kizuna {Jpn}) when going for back-to-back victories in the G3 1351 Turf Sprint in Saudi Arabia Feb. 25. She improved from a well-backed fifth in this spot to cause a mild upset in last term's G1 Yasuda Kinen in her next visit to the races.

So deep is this year's renewal that Lotus Land (Point of Entry), a dual Group 3 winner and near-miss second in the 2022 G1 Takamatsunomiya Kinen, is no better than a 100-1 chance. She exits a sixth in the latter event Mar. 26 when the ground at Chukyo was exceptionally testing.

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