By Jon Lees
GB: Globe-trotting racemare Deirdre is close to embarking on the latest leg of her world tour with another crack at the Prince of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot among her options.
The Japanese star has spent the winter at her overseas base in Newmarket while connections map out a programme that will have its climax in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe in Paris in October.
The popular six-year-old has already had one outing this year when adding Riyadh to an extensive list of international destinations where she ran second in a race on the inaugural Saudi Cup card in February.
Deirdre added lustre to her nation’s record abroad by winning the G1 Nassau Stakes at Glorious Goodwood last year, becoming the first Japanese-trained horse to win in Britain since Agnes World landed the July Cup in 2000.
She has also flown her nation’s flag in Dubai, Hong Kong and Ireland but this year’s campaign is focussed around capturing the Arc, which has become a holy grail for Japan.
Providing an update on the mare, Seiko Hashida Yoshimura, owner Toji Morita’s racing manager and daughter of trainer Mitsuru Hashida, said: “She came back from Saudi Arabia and recovered well.
“Now she is fresh and in good condition. She did well in Saudi Arabia considering that she is not at her best at the beginning of the season and the winner was better on the day.”
Deirdre started last year’s European campaign in the Prince of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot, where she finished sixth behind Crystal Ocean, before winning the Nassau on her next start with champion jockey Oisin Murphy in the saddle for the first time.
“The Prince Of Wales’s Stakes and the Prix Ganay [June 14] are the likely options as the next race,” added Hashida Yoshimura.
“The situation is changing and we have to see how the racing goes, so we need some more time to make the final decision, but at least we are trying to aim for racing in June. The Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe is our big goal to aim at.”