Great white wonder: fairytale result as ‘idol horse’ Sodashi claims Japanese 1,000 Guineas

Horse Racing Sodashi
Sodashi (Hayato Yoshida) wins Oka Sho (Japanese 1,000 Guineas) at Hanshin. Photo Japan Racing Association

By Nicholas Godfrey

Hanshin: Oka Sho (Japanese 1,000 Guineas) G1 ¥237.8m (£1.58m) 1m, turf, 3yo fillies
Sodashi (Naosuke Sugai/Hayato Yoshida)

To the delight of her masses of adoring fans, the great white wonder Sodashi added a Classic to her laurels when she broke the course record to win the Oka Sho (Japanese 1,000 Guineas) at Hanshin.

UPDATE, MAY 23: Not all white on the night: Japan’s ‘idol horse’ Sodashi well beaten behind Uberleben in Oaks

Described locally as an ‘idol horse’, the filly had earned a slice of racing history when she became the first all-white horse to win a G1 event in Japan in the Hanshin Juvenile Fillies in December.

Back at the same venue, Sodashi recorded another nail-biting victory as she held off the desperate late charge of favourite Satona Reinas to take her unbeaten record to five races.

Sent off 13-5 second favourite, Sodashi raced just behind the pace before hitting the front just over a furlong out, establishing clear water between herself and her 17 rivals in a typically big field for the first Japanese Classic of the season.

In effect, the popular daughter of dirt star Kurofune got first run – and while several horses charged down the outside, the winning post came just in time. There was only a neck, half-length and a neck separating the first four.

Sodashi’s winning time of 1m31.1s established a new track record for 1,600m at Hanshin. 

“It’s a great feeling,” said jockey Hayato Yoshida. “Her potential is limitless and I look forward to her future starts.”

White horses are a rarity – that’s officially white, not very light grey, like most of them – anywhere in the world of racing, and Japan’s enthusiastic racing fans have taken the striking Sodashi to their hearts.

“There was a lot of pressure with many doubting how strong a white filly could be so I’m thrilled we were able to prove them wrong,” Yoshida added.

“I was a bit worried that the fast track would be a disadvantage, but she responded beautifully and held off the others closing in on us – I saw them and it made me drive her to the wire.”

Also described as a ‘unicorn’, Sodashi is out of the popular spotted-white mare Buchiko, whose dam was another white mare in Shirayukihime, which translates as ‘Snow White’.

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