The Arc would be the perfect ending for Deirdre but the Eclipse would make for a great first chapter of this new journey
This weekend we will have the joy of watching both The Derby and The Oaks on the same day for the first time in history. Kameko v English King as well as Love v Frankly Darling.
And the action doesn’t stop there, with the Eclipse on Sunday rounding off a bumper two days of fantastic racing. This will go down as one of the best weekends in British racing ever, and one of the most competitive.
Amongst one of the entries in the Eclipse on Sunday is one of the heroes of Japanese racing, Deirdre. The six-year-old mare who traveled over from Japan last year and finished the season with a British Group One, the Nassau Stakes at Goodwood, and £540,000 of win and place prize money.
After a quick trip to Saudi Arabia, she is back at Jane Chapple-Hyam’s yard and will be taking on the best of the best once again. Her first challenge is the not-so-easy task of the Eclipse this weekend, where Enable, Japan, Ghaiyyath, and Lord North all compete, and her main target is winning the Arc in October, taking on the same rivals and more.
We caught up with Yoshi Hashida, assistant trainer and son of Mitsuru, on how the superstar mare is and how they are feeling ahead of a mammoth few months.
The last few months have not been easy
“After we came back from Saudi, we continued with usual training, but with Coronavirus, it’s not been easy.” Yoshi understands the impact that the global pandemic has had all over the world but it is remarkable how much it can impact the training regime of a horse. However, Deirdre has a characteristic that he believes can set her apart from the rest of the field. “She knows the way and knows how to be ready”. He repeatedly emphasised how fortunate that he and Mitsuru are to have such a good mare and to be able to challenge on the big stage.
She loves it here in England and feels at home
The Deirdre team have now been here for over a year and she seems to have settled in. She adjusted to the European life well last year and has traveled to Sha Tin and Meydan before, so Yoshi and Mitsuru know they have a mare that gets used to her surroundings quickly. However, he seems to think that she has adjusted even more this time. He added that “she feels at home here now” and this is the first time in a long time that a Japanese horse has been sent to England for two years. “This time is different though, what we achieved last year was quite something, but this is a completely different challenge and we are looking forward to a new journey for her.”
Not many in Japan believed
“We have so much respect for British racing, but there weren’t many people in Japan that believed we could run well at Goodwood”, Yoshi said he was optimistic but the home of horse racing is the pinnacle for any international runner. Every time Yoshi returns home there is an endless conversation about the quality of the racing here in Britain and how he looks forward to returning all the time. Japanese racing is on the way up and if Deirdre can be a small part of that, it means a lot to him. He says the training facilities in England are like none other and added “we are so thankful to Jane Chapple-Hyam for allowing Deirdre to stay and use the Newmarket facilities like Warren Hill”. Deirdre has made friends now and it is because of her that they have the ability to come over.
The Nassau has opened a few eyes
Deirdre’s victory in the Nassau last year was a momentous moment in racing for everyone in Japan and Yoshi believes that people have woken up because of it. “People are very curious about the way in which we train Deirdre, but the victory at Goodwood has opened some eyes. It is difficult to fly over at the moment but I believe that more and more will come in the future.”
It’s an honor to compete against Enable
When we started talking about the big weekend ahead, the first thing Yoshi wanted to highlight was how honored he felt to be taking part against such a great mare in Enable. “They are the same age and we have been waiting for this moment for a long time. She is such a big mare and I can’t describe the feeling.”
Sandown will suit us because of the long straight
“We are very confident about Deirdre’s late speed”, there was no holding back when asking Yoshi about Deirdre’s chances this weekend. He thinks the ground and track will help on the day. Anyone who watched the mare last year will have seen her closing speed and how easily she can find her way through the field in the back end of races. However, he also added “this is going to be the best race of the year with the highest-rated horses involved. The likes of Japan, Ghaiyyath, and Lord North show just how tough it is going to be and it is great to be involved.”
Oisin is the perfect man for the job
Winning Champion Jockey in 2019 was a huge moment for Oisin Murphy. However, Yoshi believes Oisin has taken a step up this year, and winning the 2,000 Guineas confirms his position as one of the best jockeys around. “He’s also great for International Racing, everyone saw how good he was after the Nassau last year and he adds to the story for England and Japanese racing jurisdictions to grow together. If Oisin and Deirdre can be one of the bridges to help Japan and the UK work together, then that would be some achievement.”