OKA SHO (Grade 1)

Hanshin, Turf, 1600m

13 April 2014

Harp Star (Jpn) (Deep Impact) may have been second best in last year’s G1 Hanshin Juvenile Fillies, the championship race of that division, but she left no doubt as to her dominance at Hanshin Sunday, making a last-to-first run to claim the G1 Oka Sho (Japanese 1000 Guineas), the first leg of the Japanese Fillies Triple Crown by a neck over Red Reveur (Jpn) (Stay Gold), with Nuovo Record (Jpn) (Heart’s Cry) third.

Taking up her usual position at the rear of the field, Harp Star sat last of 18 through the early stages while Red Reveur and Nuovo Record stalked the pace. Tipping wide to circle the field coming off the turn, Harp Star charged down the middle of the track and hit the lead in the closing stages to win in a mainly hands-and-heels ride.

“It’s as if she knew that this was a big Group 1 race because she gave it her best,” said winning rider Yuga Kawada. “I’ve experienced a lot with her since her 2-year-old races so I’m just glad we were able to win today.”

It was the fourth Oka Sho victory as a trainer for former jockey Hiroyoshi Matsuda. His first came with Harp Star’s second dam, Vega, in 1993, followed by the mighty Buena Vista (Jpn) (Special Week) in 2009 and Marcellina (Jpn) (Deep Impact) in 2011. Harp Star is the fourth Oka Sho winner for her sire, Deep Impact (Sunday Silence), in addition to Marcellina, Gentildonna (Jpn) and last year’s winner, Ayusan (Jpn).

Extract from Thoroughbred Daily News