Shuka Sho Offers Level Playing Field

Sodashi | JRA


Sunday's final leg of the Japanese Filly Triple Crown, the G1 Shuka Sho, looms a championship event and serves as a rubber match between the winners of the first two races in the series–Sodashi (Jpn) (Kurofune), the G1 Oka Sho (Japanese 1000 Guineas) victress and Uberleben (Jpn) (Gold Ship {Jpn}), who took out the G1 Yushun Himba (Japanese Oaks)–over a 2000-metre distance that is a quarter-mile longer than the Guineas and two furlongs shorter than the Oaks.

Sodashi, a white filly just like her extremely popular dam Buchiko (Jpn) (King Kamehameha {Jpn}), ran the table in four starts at two, locking up a championship in the G1 Hanshin Juvenile Fillies (1600mT) before resuming with a gut-busting success in course-record time in Apr. 11 Oka Sho. With questions to answer in the Oaks, Sodashi didn't quite see out the trip, weakening to eighth behind the fast-finishing Uberleben, but she bounced back to defeat 2019 Oaks winner and GI Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf-bound Loves Only You (Jpn) (Deep Impact {Jpn}) in the G2 Sapporo Kinen going the 2000 metres Aug. 22.

“She was very strong in Sapporo,” said jockey Hayato Yoshida. “The course suited her and we had only 52 kg. From two weeks ago, however, compared to Hokkaido, her mood starting returning more to what it was in the spring when she'd been tense and nervous. But she also showed strength I hadn't seen in the spring Group 1s and the way she took the bit. Everything about her felt more powerful.”

Uberleben, third in the Juvenile Fillies last December, filled the same position in a pair of lead-up events in early spring but came good in the Oaks, sitting a bit of a wide trip beneath Mirco Demuro before weaving through late to account for Akaitorino Musume (Jpn) (Deep Impact {Jpn}) by a tight length (see below). Uberleben has overcome an interrupted preparation to make the Shuka Sho, but she has the full confidence of her trainer.

“After the Japanese Oaks, she had inflammation in the tendon of her left foreleg,” Takahisa Tezuka explained. “The swelling itself soon subsided and, in short, she was able to start training at the farm sooner than I'd thought she would. When her hard training started, her lungs were still weak and I did question whether she'd be ready in time. But, with each bit of work, she improved and faster than I thought. This week's fast week saw her the most on her game.”

Third and beaten under a length in the Guineas, Fine Rouge (Jpn) (Kizuna {Jpn}) was only 11th in the Oaks, but bounced back to win the Sept. 11 G3 Shion S. with some authority, besting Through Seven Seas (Jpn) (Dream Journey {Jpn}) by 1 3/4 lengths, with Miss Figaro (Jpn) (Deep Impact {Jpn}) another nose back in third. It will be up to Christophe Lemaire to work out a trip from an awkward gate.

Andvaranaut (Jpn) (King Kamehameha {Jpn}) has worked her way through the grades, with three wins from four starts this term, including a cosy defeat of A Shin Hiten (Jpn) (A Shin Hikari {Jpn}) and Art de Vivre (Jpn) (King Kamehameha {Jpn}) in the 2000-metre G2 Rose S. at Chukyo Sept. 19.


WATCH: Uberleben outlasts her rivals in the Yushun Himba

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