stars on earth shot through the rivals in the final steps to take the first Japanese classic of the year, Group 1 Oka Sho (Japanese One Thousand Guineas), the first stage of the Triple Tiara, at Hanshin Racecourse, through a nose in a sweeping finish upset.
The photo showed the duration Filly, with Yuga Kawada, a nose better than Water Navillerawho seemed to have the race in his pocket with 50 meters to go. Namura Clair finished third as little more than two lengths separated the top 10 finishers including the favourite, Namurthe one on the 10th
It was a wild finish as the fillies climbed the hill to the finish, with Water Navillera taking the lead and working hard to hold off Namura Clair. Stars on Earth got stuck behind competitors, eventually finding a narrow seam, getting bumped into by a competitor while running through, and finding just enough to get there first. She completed 1,600 meters (approx. 1 mile) on good to firm grass in 1:32.90.
“I’m so glad she actually got the win in the end,” said Kawada. “I knew we had caught up but couldn’t say who had won.
“I was aware during training that she was a bit difficult to control but aside from keeping that in mind, the plan today was to stay in midfield and let her run at a comfortable rhythm. That was definitely her strength and determination shone and gave us the win today.
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“I’m excited to see how she develops from here,” added Kawada.
Prior to the oka sho, trainer Mizuki Takayanagi said that Stars on Earth tended to swerve to the right and he implemented a gear change to address this issue. He also appreciated how important it was for her to finish well.
“I think she needs more acceleration towards the goal,” said Takayanagi. “But she has talent and I hope things work out for her.”
stars on earth, from the Smart Strike mare Southern Stars, was bred by Shadai Farm and runs for Shadai Race Horse. Takayanagi, who opened his farm in 2010, scored his first Group 1 win.
The race was hampered as a rematch between the 2021 Japanese 2-year-old filly champion circle of life and frequent rival Namur, and the result muddled the prospects for the Triple Tiara, which continues with the 2,400-meter (approx. 1-1/2 miles) Yushun Himba (Japanese Oaks, G1) in Tokyo next month and the Shuka Sho ( G1) over 2,000 meters (about 1 1/7 miles) at Hanshin in October.
Namur entered the Oka Sho with a win in the Tulip Sho (G2) on March 5, where Circle of Life finished third. Water Navillera finished fifth in the Tulip Sho with traffic problems. This was her first race since a third place finish in the Hanshin Juvenile Fillies (G1) won the Circle of Life.
Stars on Earth finished second in their previous two starts in 2022 – the Daily Hai Queen Cup (G3) at Tokyo Racecourse and the Fairy Stakes (G3) at Nakayama. She has not yet managed a distance far beyond 1,600 meters.
Three-year-old males take center stage in Group 1 Satsuki Sho (Japanese Two Thousand Guineas) on April 17 at Nakayama Circuit, the first race in the series, which also includes the Tokyo Yushun (Japanese Derby, G1) on May 29 at the Tokyo racetrack belongs.