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Woman's Heart hopes to unlock Japanese Oaks

James Jose/Dubai
Filed on May 23, 2020
Woman's Heart will be contesting the Grade 1 Japanese Oaks in Tokyo on Sunday. - Supplied photo

Woman's Heart had a winning debut, clinching the Newcomers Race Maiden for two-year-old fillies on turf at the Niigata Racecourse last August.

Grade 3 winner Woman's Heart will look to run with all her heart as she attempts a third foray for a Grade 1 prize in Japan on Sunday.

The promising three-year-old filly from Heart's Cry has been impressive in her five starts so far, with back-to-back wins, including on debut, last year.

And the Katsuichi Nishiura-trained filly will be taking another shot at Grade 1 honours when she contests the Yushun Himba, better known as the Japanese Oaks, in Tokyo.

Woman's Heart had a winning debut, clinching the Newcomers Race Maiden for two-year-old fillies on turf at the Niigata Racecourse last August.

And her class was evident as she went on to land the Grade 3 Niigata Nisai Stakes at the same venue.

That showing prompted her connections to immediately jettison Woman's Heart for the Grade 1 Hanshin Juvenile Fillies at the Hanshin Racecourse last December, where she finished a decent fourth.

Well rested following a break of two months, Woman's Heart returned to action as a three-year-old with a sixth place finish in the Grade 2 Tulip Sho.

Her last outing in April was nothing to write home about, a lowly 16th place finish in the Grade 1 Oka Sho Japanese 1000 Guineas but that doesn't take away from the promise that she holds. It is perhaps just a minor blip along the way.

And quite rightly, after over 40 days of rest and work, Woman's Heart is primed for a return to Grade 1 company during her three-year-old campaign.

All five of her previous starts have come over a mile, indicating she is par for the course.

Jockey Kota Fujioka is at the reins again for the trip over one mile and four furlongs on turf as Woman's Heart breaks from stall 13.

"The Oaks is somewhat of a stretch for Woman's Heart. She was a very good two-year-old and indeed was the joint second highest-rated juvenile filly in Japan last year," opined Harry Sweeney, President of Godolphin in Japan.

"However, she has as yet failed to meet expectations as a three-year-old. In fairness, there are perhaps some extenuating circumstances that might explain her lacklustre performances this year," he added.

On what those factors were, Sweeney said: "The ground was soft and clearly not to her liking on her last outing in the G1 Oka Sho when she beat only two home in an 18-runner field. And though she failed to make the frame on her seasonal debut in the G2 Tulip Sho, she nevertheless was only beaten by a total of two lengths despite being very keen early on."

But Sweeney said there were many positives too.

"There are some positives, however. As she is by Heart's Cry, she should cope adequately with the 12-furlong distance. Furthermore, she is a big scopey filly and Tokyo's big galloping track should suit her. Going left-handed will be fine and we are not unhappy with her draw. She has been training well and it will need to be firm ground if we are to see the best of Woman's Heart. Overall, we will be thrilled if she makes the frame," said Sweeney.

Godolphin mark a treble in Australia, Japan

Godolphin may have missed out on Group 2 honours but they still came away with a treble in horse race meetings Down Under and the Far East.

Jeronimos and Coruscate triumphed in Australia, while Ice Storm scored his maiden win in Japan on Saturday.

Jeronimos, the two-year-old colt from Contributer, clinched the Newcastle Maiden Handicap for his first win in two starts. Saddled by James Cummings and ridden by Jeff Penza, Jeronimos won the six-furlong affair by half-length over Brutality.

Elsewhere, at the Royal Randwick Racecourse in Sydney, Coruscate claimed the At Sea Handicap. The ride of Kerrin McEvoy, Coruscate, the five-year-old son of Exceed And Excel, won by three quarters of a length over Invictus Prince.

Meanwhile, at the Eagle Farm Racecourse in Brisbane, Beyliks was fourth in the Group 2 Classic, while Kementari finished eighth in the Group 2 Victory Stakes.

-James Jose


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