Sodashi to switch from turf to dirt for G1 Champions Cup

Horse Racing Sodashi goes for Champions Cup
Sodashi; the Classic-winning filly will try to emulate her relatives on dirt. Photo Japan Racing Association

By Jon Lees

Japan: All-white cult horse Sodashi is set to try dirt for the first time on her next start in the Champions Cup under a change that could open more options for the Classic winner.

Having registered two G1 wins on turf, including the Oka Sho (Japanese 1,000 Guineas) in April, Japan’s ‘idol horse’ will switch surface to contest the G1 Champions Cup at Chukyo on December 5.

Trainer Naosuke Sugai is taking the route knowing she is bred from a family of dirt winners. Her sire Kurofune won the Japan Cup Dirt in 2001, and her mother Buchiko also scored all four wins in the dirt.

Sugai referred to her pedigree in announcing he would “try it once” and “keep an eye on it” with the race set be run over her ideal distance of 1,800m [9f], adding there would be more options for her if the switch proves successful.

Sodashi, also referred to as a ‘unicorn’, has become one of Japan’s most popular horses, not just because of her rare colour but on the track where she has established a record of six wins from eight starts.

She became the first officially white horse to win a G1 during an unbeaten two-year-old campaign and, in addition to winning the Oka Sho, defeated Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf winner Loves Only You in the G2 Sapporo Kinen in September.

She suffered her two defeats in the Japan Oaks and Shuka Sho last time out when she banged her mouth on the starting gate and subsequently had a tooth removed.

• Read more at Daily Sports online

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