INDEPENDENT HORSE RACING NEWS

Stunning Rose claims Shuka Sho as luckless Stars On Earth denied Triple Tiara

Stunning Rose has denied Stars On Earth’s quest for the Japanese Triple Tiara, delivering jockey Ryusei Sakai his first Group 1 success in the Shuka Sho at Hanshin.

The same trifecta filled the order in the Shuka Sho as did the Yushin Himba (Japanese Oaks) in May, but this time it was the Tomokazu Takano-trained Stunning Rose to the fore, edging out Namur in stirring contest, with an unlucky Stars On Earth charging late for third.

Just over half a length separated the first three on the line, with Stunning Rose benefitting from settling closer to the pace, assuming control of the race inside the final furlong.

Namur, who has swept widest of all on the turn, closed determinedly from midfield but could only cut the margin back to half a length on the line. Stars On Earth, who had been third last on straightening, picked her way through the field, finding plenty of traffic along the way but Christophe Lemaire had left his run too late and the Yushun Himba and Oka Sho winner was just edged out for second.

The remainder of the field were headed by fourth-placed Memory Raison, while the other leading chance, Art House, challenged briefly in the straight but faded to finish fifth.

It was marquee moment for Ryusei Sakai, who spent time riding in Australia earlier in his career, and who had twice been placed in Group 1 races in Japan before Sunday.

Meanwhile, it was a Group 1 quinella for Takano, whose most recent Group 1 success as a trainer had been in last year’s Osaka Hai.

Bred by Northern Farm, Stunning Rose, who is raced by Sunday Racing, is a three-quarter sister to 2010 G1 Japan Cup winner Rose Kingdom. Both are by the late King Kamehameha, who has now sired 14 Group 1 winners.

Stunning Rose has now won five of her ten starts to date including her last start win in the G2 Shion Stakes at Nakayama and the G3 Flower Cup at the same track.

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