Fierce Pride delights with first G3 win in Turquoise Stakes


Fierce Pride secured an important initial G3 success with a comfortable victory in the Turquoise Stakes at Nakayama, Japan, on Saturday, 16 December.

The Deep Impact mare, a full-sister to the G1-placed Soft Fruit, had flashed home from last to take a close third in the same mile race 12 months earlier but raced more prominently this time under Christophe Lemaire.

Settled behind the leaders in fourth, Fierce Pride accelerated smartly entering the final furlong and easily reeled in long-time leader Feel Sympathy with half a furlong to race. The Sakae Kunieda-trained five-year-old hit the line strongly to prevail by a length and a quarter.

Harry Sweeney, President of Godolphin in Japan, said: “Fierce Pride had been knocking on the door and deserved a big day. She had made the frame in Group races in three of her last four starts and we had been hoping she could finally win a Black Type race before her planned retirement to our broodmare band next year.

“We had been planning to run in this race for some time but in fact it nearly didn’t happen as she was only number 17 on the list when entries were made six days ago and this race has a maximum field of 16. Fortunately however one filly was taken out at the declaration stage on Thursday and Fierce Pride squeezed in.

“We were doubly lucky that Christophe Lemaire was available to ride and he certainly made a difference. Kunieda trainer has been among the leading trainers for more than two decades and has handled a lot of elite fillies and mares in his day such as Apapane, Almond Eye and Pink Cameo. The stars aligned perfectly for us.

“Though we had planned to retire her to stud next year, we will now have a conversation about possibly keeping her in training. She has only raced 15 times over four seasons, so there are not that many miles on the clock. Furthermore, we are lucky to already have two full-siblings and a half-sibling producing for us, so that gives us a little latitude.”