By Nicholas Godfrey
Japan: Another weekend, another sensational display from a Japanese filly.
Seven days after superstar racemare Almond Eye lit up the racing world with her victory in the Victoria Mile at Tokyo racecourse, the three-year-old Daring Tact (Haruki Sugiyama/Kohei Matsuyama) did the same at the same venue with spectacular last-gasp victory in the Yushun Himba (Japanese Oaks).
In so doing, she became the first horse in 63 years since Miss Onward in 1957 to stay unbeaten through the first two legs of the Japanese fillies’ Triple Crown as she added to her success a month ago in the Oka Sho (1,000 Guineas) in thrilling style. She is the 15th filly to win both races.
Although the daughter of 2014 Japan Cup hero Epiphaneia was sent off 3-5 favourite for the ¥247,880,000 (£1.89m) event, her supporters were handed a nail-biter as she raced on the rail well down the field before fanning out wider in the long Tokyo straight.
“Where is Daring Tact?” exclaimed Murray Johnson, the Japan Racing Association English language race caller as the filly was hidden behind her rivals, seemingly with a mountain to climb as jockey Kohei Matsuyama had to weave between horses.
Daring Tact finally got a clear run about a furlong out, when the filly was still three lengths adrift before she charged home with an irresistible final surge to score by a half-length over the longshots Win Marilyn and Win Mighty.
“It was the first time I rode a favourite [in a G1] and I admit I felt the pressure, so I’m relieved,” commented Matsuyama.
“After a good break, we were bumped a few times, so I decided to keep her relaxed in a position further back than planned.
“She instantly kicked into gear once out of traffic in the straight and showed another amazing run down the middle of the lane. Her tremendous burst of speed was extraordinary.”
• Learn more about racing in Japan at the JRA website