Third favourite Uberleben, a filly by Gold Ship, won the Grade 1 Yushun Himba (Japanese Oaks), the second leg of the Japanese Fillies’ Triple Crown at Tokyo Racecourse and in the process gave her sire a first victory at the highest level.
For the Big Red Farm-bred filly, out of the Roses In May mare Meine Theresia, the win in the 18-runner 1 mile 4 furlong Classic was a first stakes success.
Trained by Takahisa Tezuka, who is experiencing a purple patch, the now eight-time Japanese Grade 1-winning handler also won the NHK Mile Cup with Schnell Meister a fortnight ago.
Uberleben, a winner on her debut start, finished second to Sodashi in the Group 3 one mile one furlong Sapporo Nisai Stakes. Just a third stakes winner overall for her sire Gold Ship, Uberleben was third on her final start as a juvenile last season in the Grade 1 Hanshin Juvenile Fillies over a mile. She also filled the same position in her first two starts this season, in Nakayama’s Grade 3 Flower Cup (1 mile 1 furlong) and the Grade 2 Sports Sho Flora Stakes over a mile and a half.
Breaking well from barrier nine in the Yushun Himba under Mirco Demuro, the filly was settled nicely in midfield and raced wide. Moving up slightly before the home turn, Demuro was anxious to bring her further to the outside entering the home straight. The Italian jockey, who previously won the Oaks with Loves Only You in 2019, then asked Uberleben to launch her challenge.
Uberleben, which means “survival” or “to survive” in German, soon gained ground on the race leaders before she pulled clear of the Grade 1 field after passing the final furlong pole.
The Tezuka-trained filly successfully held off the challenges of the second favourite and Oka Sho (Japanese 1000 Guineas) fourth Akaitorino Musume on her inside and Hagino Pilina on her outside to win by a length and give her rider a 33rd Japanese Grade 1 victory. A nose was the official distance separating the runner-up and third placed fillies at the winning line.
“She suffered from colic in February and has shown a slow but steady recovery,” said Demuro.
“She broke smoothly today and it did worry me a bit that we were dead last in the backstretch but she responded well when the pace accelerated from the third corner and showed her tenacity in steadily advancing in the straight,” explained the Italian-born rider.
“She was strong pulling away and holding off the others. The added distance wasn’t a problem for her at all. I’m thrilled, it’s always wonderful to win a Grade 1 race,” he added.
Uberleben, racing in the colors of K Thoroughbred Club Ruffian, is one of five winners, from as many runners, out of the winning mare Meine Theresia.
Sodashi, the race favourite, a thoroughbred racing history maker when she became the first white filly to win a Japanese Classic on taking the Oka Sho (Japanese 1000 Guineas) earlier this season, broke well from the gates but was keen in the early stage of the race. Soon settled in fourth or fifth place, the two-time Grade 1 winner found a clear path in the home stretch and briefly battled of the race lead, before weakening in the last half furlong to finish in eighth place.
The final leg of the Japanese Fillies’ Triple Crown, the 1 mile 2 furlongs Shuka Sho, will be run at Kyoto Racecourse in October.
Photo: Uberleben, (Japanese Racing Association)