BigDaddy News

Horse Racing News

Cervinia Defeats Stellenbosch in Japanese Oaks

One week after missing a massive long shot winner, Japanese punters were back in the swing for the Yushun Himba (Japanese Oaks-G1) May 19 at Tokyo Racecourse as the top three in the wagering also were first three to finish.

The order wasn’t quite right as Cervinia, second on the odds board, edged the favorite, Stellenbosch, by a half-length. Light Back was third—all a far cry from the 208-1 score by Ten Happy Rose a week earlier in the Victoria Mile (G1) over the same course.

KIECKHEFER: Ten Happy Rose Wins Victoria Mile at 208-1 Odds

The orderly outcome belied Cervinia’s recent record.

By Harbinger , out of 2016 Yushun Himba runner-up Cecchino, the filly missed her intended 2023 finale, December’s Hanshin Juvenile Fillies (G1) with a leg issue. After an absence of more than five months, she returned in the Oka Sho (Japanese One Thousand Guineas-G1) April 7 but finished 13th as Stellenbosch triumphed.

Sign up for

The Yushun Himba was a whole different story as the fillies stretched out to 2,400 meters (about 1 1/2 miles) for the first time.

Cervinia and Stellenbosch both settled in mid-pack, well off a breakaway pair of long shots. Turning for home, Cervinia and jockey Christophe Lemaire had an outside position while Stellenbosch and partner Keita Tosaki were a few paths farther inside.

As they crested the rising ground, Tosaki found a seam for Stellenbosch, took the lead and seemed on cruise control to take the second jewel of the Filly Triple Crown. But Cervinia found more, rallying boldly outside her rival for the victory. Stellenbosch was found after the race to have lost a shoe.

Cervinia, bred by Northern Farm and campaigned by Sunday Racing Co., finished in 2:24.0 over a course rated good to firm.

Trainer Tetsuya Kimura had confidence before the race despite Cervinia’s disappointing Oka Sho performance.

“She’s better than before her last race, and she’s come on for her training,” Kimura said, “So there are positives with her. I think she’ll get into the flow of the race running left-handed. And the extra distance shouldn’t be a problem. The return of jockey Christophe Lemaire is another plus.”

“I’m back,” said Lemaire, who was injured in a fall at Meydan Racecourse on Dubai World Cup (G1) night and only recently returned to riding. He missed the mount on Cervinia in the Oka Sho, yielding to Bauyrzhan Murzabayev.

“It’s a wonderful feeling,” Lemaire said. “The filly didn’t do well in the Oka Sho but I know how high her potential is and was very confident today. I tried not to let her make an early bid—let her find her stride after turning into the straight—and she just stretched beautifully from there.”

Lemaire pocketed his 51st Japan Racing Association Grade 1 victory—fourth in the Yushun Himba following wins on Soul Stirring in 2017, Almond Eye  in 2018 and Stars on Earth in 2022.

Light Back, a Kizuna  filly, repeated her third-place finish in the Oka Sho. Queen’s Walk, Lance of Queen and fourth-favorite Sweep Feet, finished in a bunch for fourth, fifth and sixth placings, respectively, promising some interesting competition going forward in the season.

Liberty Island  won the 2023 Yushun Himba en route to a Triple Crown sweep with a victory in the Shuka Sho (G1) and finished second behind Equinox  in the Japan Cup.

Liberty Island returned to finish third in the Dubai Sheema Classic (G1) in March—a race won by Rebel’s Romance , who coincidentally arrived in Hong Kong May 18 to contest the Standard Chartered Champions & Chater Cup (G1) May 26 at Sha Tin Racecourse.


Leave feedback about this

  • Quality
  • Price
  • Service


Add Field


Add Field
Choose Image
Choose Video

Want To Earn From Skills ?

Bonus On New ID