Japanese globetrotting mare Deirdre (JPN) will make her seasonal debut at the US$1,000,000 Mohamed Yousuf Naghi Motors Cup after the 6-year-old daughter of Harbinger was shipped into Saudi Arabia from Newmarket in England on Sunday.
Stabled in her international home base since May last year, she has been in the care of Yoshitake Hashida, son of trainer Mitsuru Hashida, and her daily rider and groom Yuta Komiyama.
"Deirdre is a daughter of Harbinger, so that was one of the reasons we came over to Europe," said the owner’s racing manager Seiko Hashida, who is also the daughter of the trainer.
Deirdre’s first start in Europe was the 2019 G1 Prince of Wales's Stakes at Royal Ascot, finishing sixth after the rain affected track did not suit her. She remained in Europe, staying at Jane Chapple-Hyam’s Abington Place Stables in Newmarket.
She secured her first victory in Europe in the Group 1 Nassau Stakes at Goodwood, becoming the first Japanese trained runner to win in Europe since Agnes World winning the July Cup in 2000, and also becoming the first Japanese trained filly to accomplish the feat since Seeking the Pearl in the 1998 Prix Maurice de Gheest.
The win came during a sad week for the whole Japanese racing world as the death of its greatest stallion Deep Impact had just been announced, however, Deirdre’s big achievement gave the community a much-needed morale boost.
Following the victory in the Nassau Stakes, she ran fourth in the Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown in September and then finished a commendable third over the heavy ground in the Champion Stakes at Ascot. She rounded off the season with fourth place in the Hong Kong Vase at Sha Tin.
Deirdre flew into Saudi Arabia from Newmarket on Sunday and has posted good works ever since. Hashida was very happy seeing her training on the turf course on Wednesday morning.
“She was moving very beautifully on turf. I think the course is well maintained and flat with good cushion,” said Hashida. “I am so impressed with how tough she is both physically and mentally and I am also grateful for her attitude towards training and racing.
"This is the first time for a Japanese trainer to keep a horse outside of Japan this long amount of time, so I cannot thank all the people in Newmarket enough for all the great support and I would like to thank all the individual members of my team who are doing their best to take care of her.”
Hashida said about the future plans for Deirdre: “We will skip the trip to Dubai and she will go back to Newmarket after Saturday's race. We will take aim at our biggest target of the year, the Prix l’Arc de Triomphe, in October. I am very honored to be involved in the inaugural international racing event in Saudi Arabia and we hope she will win.”