For fans of international racing, the sight of Yoshito Yahagi and his unmistakable dress style is nothing new, given that he has already won some of the biggest prizes in the UAE, Hong Kong and Australia.
But the significance of his double strike at the Breeders’ Cup on November 6 with Only love you and Lorraine Steps should not be lost to anyone.
No horse in Japan had ever won a Breeders’ Cup race before Saturday. Now there are two title holders in the same barn at the Ritto training center of the Japan Racing Association.
Loves Only You wins the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf
Loves Only You entered the Maker’s Mark Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf (G1T) with excellent international credentials, having finished third in Mishriff and Chrono Genesis in the Longines Dubai Sheema Classic (G1) before winning the FWD Queen Elizabeth II Cup (G1) in Hong Kong, a venue Yahagi is aiming for with 2019 winner Yushun Himba (Japanese Oaks, G1) next month.
The assumption has long been that more internationally oriented Japanese trainers would make their biggest mark in turf racing – this is where the best-bred horses are concentrated – and the Breeders’ Cup falls smack in the middle of it. the high national season in terms of grade 1 races and astronomical prices.
For Marche Lorraine, beating American fillies and mares on land in the Longines Breeders ‘Cup Distaff (G1) under an inspired Oisin Murphy was justification not only for Yahagi’s daring overall approach, but also for the Breeders’ Cup and the US Triple Crown pursuit of runners through Japan-based agent Kate Hunter.
Murphy has been a long-time ally of Yahagi, both during winter stays in Japan and during major international meetings.
He said: âI tried to ignore her chances and give her every chance in the race and hopefully she could finish. And to be honest we were obviously hostage to fortune, I sat in the back, and they went pretty fast. So we needed them to do it, but it was a brilliant performance. “
Marche Lorraine charges late to win the Breeders’ Cup distaff
For Yahagi, being the first to break some barriers is nothing new, having trained Graceful Lily become the first Japanese winner of the Australian Ladbrokes Cox Plate (G1) in 2019, three years later Real steel and Ryan Moore landed the Dubai Turf sponsored by DP World (G1) in Meydan.
Instantly recognizable thanks to his taste for wide-brimmed hats – the Breeders’ Cup version was naturally purple – Yahagi’s reasoning could provide a model for future challenges in the United States.
âTraveling with two fillies from Japan was not the ideal plan, but Marche Lorraine was a good partner for Loves Only You,â explained Yahagi. “And Marche Lorraine had three turf victories in Japan and I thought in order for horses to be competitive on gravel in the United States, they had to have some sort of speed, which means like winning turf races in Japan. . “
Yahagi has yet to form his focus on Europe in earnest, although his ambition was evident at an early stage, given he sent the winner from Tokyo Yushun (Japanese Derby, G1) Shiny deep at Ascot for Betfair King George VI 2012 and Elizabeth Stakes (G1) on her very next start.
More recently, Entscheiden finished third at the FanDuel Breeders’ Cup Mile Presented by PDJF (G1T) winner Space blues in the Qatar Prix de la ForÃªt (G1) last month, a race all the more notable as its presence in France was mainly as a traveling companion and training partner of the Qatar challenger Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe (G1). Deep bond , which, like Entscheiden, belongs to the Maeda family.
John Gosden very famously predicted that the future of racing lay in Eastern Europe in Asia, and there was further proof of this maxim in the victory of the Longines Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1 ) of Knicks go in the colors of the Korea Racing Authority.
Thirty years ago, ambitious Japanese owners like Gary Tanaka entered European and American racing. Their successors now have a domestic scene on par with either of these “old world” powers.
Thanks to the brilliance of the Knicks Go, South Korea’s ambitions to become a major power in world racing reached a new milestone on Saturday.