Soul Stirring wins the Japanese Oaks
Soul Stirring became Frankel's first Classic winner on Sunday (21st May), winning the Japanese Oaks at Tokyo in Japan.
The Shadai Farm homebred filly - who is out of multiple Gr.1 winning mare Stacelita - was her sire's first Gr.1 winner when winning the Hanshin Juvenile Fillies Gr.1 last year and was crowned Champion 2YO Filly. She started 2017 by winning the Tulip Sho Gr.3, before finishing third in the Japanese 1000 Guineas on soft ground.
In the Oaks, she defeated her 1000 Guineas conqueror, Reine Minoru.
Taken from the Thoroughbred Daily News, 22nd May 2017:
Just as she did last year when becoming Frankel's first Group 1 winner, Soul Stirring again put her name in the history books by becoming Frankel's Classic winner when easily landing the Gr.1 Yushun Himba (Japanese Oaks) at Tokyo on Sunday.
Sent off the 7-5 favourite despite being beaten by both Lys Gracieux (Heart's Cry) and Reine Minoru (Daiwa Major) in the Gr.1 Oka Sho over half a mile shorter last month, the daughter of Stacelita (Monsun) obviously relished the step up to 12 furlongs and gave Christophe Lemaire an armchair ride throughout.
Breaking smartly, Lemaire reined back Soul Stirring to take a perfect position in third place on the rails as the 18 runners circled the first bend with Flawless Magic (Deep Impact) at the head of affairs. The positions remained so until around the 500-metre marker when Soul Stirring ranged alongside Flawless Magic and as that one's early exertions began to kick in, it was Mozu Katchan (Harbinger) who emerged as the biggest threat to the favourite. She appeared to briefly head Soul Stirring 200 metres from home, but once Lemaire got a bit more serious with the Kazuo Fujisawa trained three-year-old she lengthened again to draw clear close home with Admire Miyabi (Heart's Cry) coming from a long way back to snatch third.
Christophe Lemaire won three Group 1 races on Stacelita in 2009, including the Gr.1 Prix de Diane at Chantilly and it clearly gave him a lot of pleasure to begin to match that feat on her daughter.
"It's such a thrill for me as I also won the Oaks back home with her mother," said Lemaire. "Soul Stirring certainly has inherited the power both from her sire Frankel and her dam. I was quite confident coming into this race. I wasn't sure yet about the distance as it was her first time at 2400m, so I wanted her in a good position which I did because she is quick out of the gate. She also has a good lasting speed so I was able to give her the go from early at the stretch and sustain our bid right up to the finish."
Soul Stirring enjoyed a perfect juvenile campaign, remaining unbeaten in three starts and culminating with a comfortable success in the Gr.1 Hanshin Juvenile Fillies in December. She reappeared with another smart effort when taking the Gr.3 Tulip Sho at Hanshin, a trial for the Gr.1 Japanese 1000 Guineas. Soft ground at Hanshin was put forth as an excuse for her defeat on that occasion and judged on her performance back on a sound surface on Sunday, that appears to have been a perfectly legitimate reason. It will be fascinating to follow her progress in the coming months.
Click here to watch the Japanese Oaks.