By Nicholas Godfrey
Kyoto: Shuka Sho (Japanese fillies’ St Leger) G1 ¥216m (£1.59m), 2,000 metres (1m2f), turf, 3yo fillies
Japan: Outstanding filly Daring Tact (Haruki Sugiyama/Kohei Matsuyama) became the first undefeated winner of the Japanese fillies’ Triple Crown on Sunday when she overwhelmed her rivals in the final furlong at Kyoto racecourse.
Sent off 2-5 favourite, the daughter of Japan Cup winner Epiphaneia was brought four wide four into the straight before producing much the best finishing burst to take her career record to five out of five.
Having won both the Oka Sho (1,000 Guineas) and Yushun Himba (Oaks) in similar fashion, Daring Tact joins the likes of Gentildonna and Almond Eye as the sixth filly to complete the Classic sweep, also known as a Triple Tiara in some quarters.
She won the Shuka Sho – at 2,000 metres (1m2f), a cut back in distance from the Yushun Himba (1m4f) – by a length and a quarter over 56-1 longshot Magic Castle.
“The filly seemed a bit nervous at the paddock but she broke well and we were able to race in good position and in good rhythm,” said winning jockey Kohei Matsuyama, who won the very next race as well to take him to the 100-winner mark for 2020.
“There was some pressure as we were aiming for the first undefeated Triple Crown filly in JRA history but I’m delighted to be able to accomplish this remarkable feat,” added the rider. “She has developed into a bold filly and I hope that she will remain undefeated.”
Daring Tact’s possible future targets include the Japan Cup on November 29 – raising the tantalising prospect of a clash with brilliant three-year-old colt Contrail, who bids to complete his own Triple Crown next weekend.
With the relaxing of Covid-19 measures from the previous weekend and limited admission now permitted to JRA racetracks, the Shuka Sho was the first G1 race since the February Stakes to be held fans in the stands.
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