Bren O’Brien



Liberty Island all class in Juvenile Fillies victory

Liberty Island has stamped herself as the leading two-year-old filly in Japan, with a superb victory in the G1 Hanshin Juvenile Fillies.

Liberty Island, the daughter of Duramente and dual Group 1-winning Australian mare Yankee Rose, has confirmed her star status, romping to a 2.5-length win in the G1 Hanshin Juvenile Fillies.

Given a patient ride by Yuga Kawada, Liberty Island emerged swifty from midfield to descend on her rivals inside the final 200 metres and win with plenty in hand, defeating outsiders Shinryokuka and Doe Eyes, who filled the placings.

It was a first victory in the race for Kawada, who was ruled out of a trip to Hong Kong this week due to a positive PCR test for Covid, while it was a second Group 1 win in a month for trainer Mitsumasa Nakauchida, who also won this race with Danon Fantasy in 2018.

It’s also a significant moment for the investment Liberty Island’s breeders Northern Farm have made in elite Australian mares in recent year. The Katsumi Yoshida-led breeding outfit purchased Yankee Rose, the daughter of All American who won two Group 1s in Australia for trainer David Vandyke, in a private transaction back in 2017.

Liberty Island, who is raced by Sunday Racing, is Yankee Rose’s second filly and her first by the late stallion Duramente. The two-year-old began her career with a victory at Niigata in July before she was beaten by Ravel in the G3 Artemis Stakes at Tokyo in October.

Ravel was considered one of her key rivals on Sunday along with Moryana and Umbrail, but the weight of money was firmly in Liberty Island’s court and she started a clear 2.6 favourite.

Kawada gave her backers few concerns through the run as she settled well off the pace initially set by Santee Tesoro, with Itinerator on her outside. Santee Tesoro briefly shot clear on straightening, but with the other chief contenders all struggling, it was clear as soon as Liberty Island got in the clear that she would be very hard to hold out.

The result was a fait accompli at the furlong marker and it was a very comfortable watch in the concluding stages as she became a Group 1 winner at her third start.

“I am happy that the filly was able to show her performance at its best today. I just let the filly choose the position within the field that she felt comfortable in and concentrated on maintaining the good flow and rhythm during the trip,” Kawada said.

“She cruised along smoothly and her response when asked was just as I had imagined so I was quite confident that she would make it to the finish line. She has progressed well, including her loss last time out, towards winning this big championship race and she has given us a promising view on what to expect and aim for in her coming future.”




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