Keiba Diary: Mama Cocha steps up as Sodashi retires
Adrian Webber was on hand to witness Mama Cocha’s big win, and he also has word of her famous older sister’s retirement, plus Mickaëlle Michel’s latest jockey test and an exciting autumn programme.
Sauna-like conditions made for a muggy day at Nakayama on Sunday and the anticipated rain that would have cooled things off and freshened up the turf track never materialized. It seems like a long wait for autumn to arrive in Japan on the back of this year’s hot summer despite chestnuts and persimmons appearing on the nation’s dining tables.
But the running of the G1 Sprinters Stakes is always a sure sign that we have indeed reached autumn and it was Mama Cocha that triumphed. The winning post arrived just in time for her on Sunday: she’d looked all over the winner 200 metres from home, but suddenly started to paddle closer to the line and just managed to hold off the late challenge of the Irish-bred Mad Cool.
【🇯🇵 Sprinters Stakes (G1) , Nakayama, 1200m, 3yo&up, approx US$ 2.81m】
— JRA World Racing (@JRA_WorldRacing) October 1, 2023
Perhaps with the weather as it was, there was never going to be a way for the latter to win and anyway it would be a miserly soul that would begrudge the efforts of Yuga Kawada and trainer Yasutoshi Ikee for their victory in the race.
Despite the full-on humidity, racegoers turned out in force, and the race day attendance was close to 30,000, which was a more than 23 percent increase on last year. They were also splashing the cash, with turnover for the big race alone up by close to three percent on last year’s figure.
Meanwhile, events in Paris later that day mean Through Seven Seas certainly deserves a mention. She put up a bold effort in Sunday’s Arc, but the downside is Japan still hasn’t won France’s most prestigious race.
Soon after Mama Cocha’s big win, news of her full-sister Sodashi’s retirement from racing probably hit her many fans hard, but we all know that legends never die.
Sodashi’s next career move will be to produce foals that hopefully will carry on her wonderful genetics. The white mare’s trainer Naosuke Sugai feels she’ll be just as popular despite her no longer gracing the racetrack.