Loves Only You creates Breeders’ Cup history for Japan
Loves Only You became the first ever Breeders’ Cup winner for Japan in the Filly & Mare Turf at Del Mar.
A Group One winner in Hong Kong and third in the Sheema Classic in Dubai, connections were further rewarded for their globetrotting when she showed a devastating turn of foot to go between War Like Goddess and My Sister Nat.
Trained by Yoshito Yahagi and ridden perfectly by Yuga Kawada, who had a brief spell in Britain in 2018, she looked beaten heading into the final furlong but found plenty for pressure.
Aidan O’Brien’s Love did not enjoy the best trip, being forced wide for most of the race while last year’s winner, the James Fanshawe-trained Audarya appeared to be full of running before the turn for home but struggled to find a clear route in the straight.
Love eventually finished fourth with Audarya behind in fifth.
Kawada, who came to Britain and rode winners at the likes of Redcar and Ripon through a link with Roger Varian, got the breaks when he needed them.
However, Audarya’s chance of joining Ouija Board as a dual winner of the race were ended on the home turn.
Jockey William Buick said: “I was boxed in all the way round the final bend into the straight.
“I rode her for luck, but it just didn’t happen.”
The winning trainer said: “We have made history today and our jockey rode her perfectly. We’ve had so many Breeders’ Cup challengers and what a great feeling it is to have finally achieved a win.
“After she ran at Sapporo (in August), we took her to a track that resembled a US turf course.
“The first time she travelled overseas she didn’t enjoy it, but every time since she has got stronger mentally. So after the QEII in Hong Kong, we decided to come here.
“We’ve been invited into the Hong Kong Cup in December, and she will stay her at Del Mar to prepare for that.”
Jockey Ryan Moore felt Love had just fallen short, saying: “She ran well, just not good enough on the day.”
Ocean Road was sent off at big odds for trainer Hugo Palmer and jockey Oisin Murphy, who was more than satisfied with her sixth place.
He said: “(We) had a great run round and she’s put up a good performance.”
Palmer added: “She ran very well and is going to be a lovely filly for next year. I expect her to keep improving.”