EXCLUSIVE: Sodashi has a new rider as Damian Lane booked to partner ‘White Wonder’

The star mare’s trainer Naosuke Sugai has turned to Australian jockey Damian Lane as he seeks to unlock Sodashi’s full ability this year.

Sodashi has a new jockey for the first time with Damian Lane set to take over from Hayato Yoshida.

David Morgan

Chief Journalist


Damian Lane will ride Japan’s superstar mare Sodashi when the ‘White Wonder’ makes her eagerly-anticipated return to action in the G1 Victoria Mile at Tokyo on May 14.

Hayato Yoshida has ridden Sodashi in all 14 of her races so far but trainer Naosuke Sugai and owner Makoto Kaneko have opted to change things up this season and have turned to the in-demand Australian ace.

Lane’s profile in Japan continues to soar thanks to his successful short-term stints riding on the JRA, and his big-race successes on Japanese runners at home and overseas. That impressive record includes a G1 Cox Plate and G1 Arima Kinen on Lys Gracieux, the G1 Caulfield Cup on Mer De Glace, the G1 Mile Championship on Serifos, and the G1 Hong Kong Vase aboard Win Marilyn.

His latest big win for Japanese interests came a little more than a week ago when the Melbourne-based hoop snagged the lucrative G3 Red Sea Turf Handicap at Riyadh on Silver Sonic.  

“I’m looking forward to Damian unlocking her full potential,” Sugai told Asian Racing Report, and added a Japanese phrase that indicates he “wants to see the unknown” with Sodashi this year.

“I want to see how much better she may actually become as a five-year-old … I want to see her amazing power.”


Sodashi has won a Group 1 race in each of the three seasons she has raced, including last year’s Victoria Mile. The daughter of Kurofune is ready to return to full training under Sugai’s watch at his Ritto base, with that race being her first objective for the campaign ahead.

“She is coming back to the stable this Thursday and she won’t be running before the Victoria Mile,” Sugai added.

Lane’s new connection with the wildly popular Sodashi is testament to his own expanding popularity in Japan. So far, most of his major Japanese wins have been for horses connected to Yoshida family-related entities, but Win Marilyn’s win at Sha Tin in December came in the colours of Win Co Ltd, and this latest link with Kaneko forms a connection with yet another major Japanese owner.

Damian Lane wins the G3 Red Sea Turf at Riyadh aboard Japanese raider Silver Sonic. (Photo by Lo Chun Kit)

Sodashi wins the G1 Victoria Mile of 2022. (Photo by Shuhei Okada)

Damian Lane throttles down Win Marilyn after a dominant Hong Kong Vase victory. (Photo by HKJC)

Lane will also ride the same owner’s Hrimfaxi, a leading contender for the first colts’ classic, the G1 Satsuki Sho, on April 16. That weekend will mark the start of the rider’s next two-month stint in Japan.

Japan’s champion jockey Yuga Kawada has ridden Hrimfaxi to three wins from four starts and last time out the Rulership colt took the G3 Kisaragi Sho at Chukyo to complete a hat-trick.

Lane rode an impressive 32 winners in Japan last year across a couple of short-term contracts and he has continued his big-race form in Australia since the turn-of-the-year, numbering the G1 C. F. Orr Stakes among his haul of domestic wins.




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