Marcellina wins Japanese 1000 Guineas

On a warm Sunday afternoon at Hanshin, under the full-blown cherry blossoms, Marcellina lifted the spirits of Japanese racegoers with a strong closing kick to claim the G1 Oka Sho (1000 Guineas).

Marcellina (3f Deep Impact – Marbye by Marju) was coming off a powerful win in the Elfin Stakes in February and has now captured three wins in four starts.  She is trained by Hiroyoshi Matsuda and scored by three-quarters of a length from Whale Capture (Kurofune) and stablemate Trend Hunter (Manhattan Café).

Marcellina was reserved at the rear of the field by Katsumi Ando.  She gradually made up ground and burst through a gap in the straight to go out after front-runner Forever Mark (Falbrav).   The Shadai Farm homebred found another gear and powered past the tiring leader to claim the first classic of the year in Japan.

Marcellina is from the first crop of Shadai Farm’s Triple Crown winner Deep Impact (Sunday Silence).  He has also sired Japanese G3 winners Danon Ballade and Tosen R in addition to his European based colt Barocci who won the Listed Prix Omnium at Saint-Cloud on March 31.

Marcellina is from Irish bred mare Marbye who won 11 races in Europe topped by the G1 Prix d’Astarte at Deauville.

Trainer Hiroyoshi Matsuda celebrated his third Oka Sho victory on Sunday.  (Oka means cherry flower).  He will set Marcellina for the remaining legs of the Fillies Triple Crown in the Yushun Himba and Shuka Sho.

The JRA has designated the last race on Group 1 days this year as a “Race for Earthquake Aid” event and donate 5% of total turnover to the Japan Red Cross.