Liberty Island Tough To Oppose In Yushun Himba

Liberty Island | JRA


Some six weeks have passed since Liberty Island (Jpn) (Duramente {Jpn}) came storming down the centre of the Hanshin turf course from near last to take the G1 Oka Sho (Japanese 1000 Guineas) and the daughter of rags-to-riches Australian standout Yankee Rose (Aus) (All American {Aus}) figures a long odds-on selection to add Sunday's G1 Yushun Himba (Japanese Oaks) to her increasingly imposing resume.

The Oaks has proved a favourites' race over the last decade or so. Were she to prove successful in her first go over the metric mile and a half, she would become the sixth to score as the public pick since 2014, and the last time a horse outside the top three in the betting won was Meisho Mambo (Jpn) (Suzuka Mambo {Jpn}) in 2013.

Yuga Kawada carries the same Sunday Racing colours as he did when posting the lone Oaks victory of his career atop Gentildonna (Jpn) (Sunday Silence) back in 2012, and her pre-race blowout this past week suggests she'll be tough to peg back Sunday, even if the trip is something of a query.

“She's been running well in training with a good rhythm and stretching out nicely,” said Kawada. “From where she was in her last race, it was great to get the result and then look to this race with her. We don't know about the distance for sure this time, but I think she can run well over 2400 metres.”

Liberty Island's late sire was also responsible for last year's 11-2 third-choice winner Stars on Earth (Jpn).




Carrot Farm's Perifania (Jpn) (Maurice {Jpn}) was making just her third career start in the 1000 Guineas and sat handy to the pace before settling for third, beaten a neck by the second-placed Kona Coast (Jpn) (Kitasan Black {Jpn}) and a length by Liberty Island for everything.

“She's a little tense, and wants to take the bit, but she's been running on well at the finish in training,” commented Perifania's jockey Takeshi Yokoyama. “There's no problem with her racing left-handed, and while the 2400 meters might be a bit long, the most important thing will be keeping her relaxed throughout the run.”

There does not appear to be loads of early speed in the Oaks, and Golden Hind (Jpn) (Gold Ship {Jpn}), whose sire accounted for 2021 victress Uberleben (Jpn), should find her way to the front and is well-drawn to do so in barrier five. Fourth to the re-opposing Emu (Jpn) (Harbinger {Jpn}) in the G3 Flower Cup at Nakayama in March, the gray filly made all the running en route to a 1 1/4-length tally over So Dazzling (Jpn) (Heart's Cry {Jpn}) in the G2 Flora S. going 2000 metres of the Fuchu racecourse Apr. 23.

Reiko Hara's Nuovo Record (Jpn) (Heart's Cry {Jpn}) defeated heavily favoured Harp Star (Jpn) (Deep Impact {Jpn}) as the distant 8-1 second choice in this event in 2014 and she is represented here by the outposted England Eyes (GB) (Kingman {GB}). Also a veteran of only three prior starts, she was fourth to 1000 Guineas fourth Harper (Jpn) (Heart's Cry {Jpn}) in the G3 Queen Cup in February and closed her final 600 metres in a joint-best :33.4 to fill the same spot when last seen in the Flora S. four weekends ago.

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