Horse Racing | Press Article 16/04/24

Deirdre (20/1) provided Japan with a historic success in the £600,000 G1 Qatar Nassau Stakes.

Trained by Mitsuru Hashida and ridden by Oisin Murphy, the five-year-old daughter of Harbinger finished with a flourish in the 10-furlong contest to capture G1 honours by a length and a quarter from long-time leader Mehdaayih (3/1).

Deirdre finished sixth in the G1 Prince Of Wales's Stakes at Royal Ascot in June with connections blaming the soft ground for her performance. They decided to remain in England, situated at Jane Chapple-Hyam's Abington Place Stables in Newmarket with Deirdre coming to Goodwood Racecourse for an away day last month to gain experience of the course.

Today's victory was the second time Japan have won a G1 contest in Britain following Agnes World's win in the 2000 G1 July Cup at Newmarket.

The mare is owned by Mr Toji Morita, who owns a family business in Osaka, Japan. His Racing Manager Seiko Hashida Yoshimura, who is also the daughter of the winning trainer Mitsuru Hashida, was thrilled by Deirdre's success.

She said: "That was a special performance from Deirdre. It is fantastic to have a winner at the Qatar Goodwood Festival. This is very important not only for us, but also for the whole of Japan to come over to Britain and have a big-race winner.

"Today's victory is important for Japan because it showed that it is not just possible to come here and compete, but that it is also possible to win. Hopefully, we can have a good influence on Japanese racing with this win.

"It was a very big challenge to come here. We have been in Britain for three months with Deirdre and we are so pleased that we kept believing in her. We had a lot of support and this has made this victory possible.

"We were just hoping for the best for her today. It was a gloriously sunny day at Glorious Goodwood and everything just fell right for her. Goodwood is a beautiful racecourse. It is very different to Japanese racecourses which are usually oval-shaped. We were sure that she would like this track and it worked out very well. The quicker ground was another important factor for her today and it is very special to win a G1 event in Britain.

"We could see at Royal Ascot that she was trying very hard. There was heavy rain there and that did not help her chances.

"A lot of credit has to go to Oisin Murphy. We did not give him any instructions and just decided to let him ride the horse in the way he felt right. He is a brilliant jockey.

"We have not yet decided if Deirdre will return to Japan or whether she will stay over here. We will make that decision in the coming days when we sit down and have a chat about what we should do next. She could possibly stay in Europe.

"Deirdre is a daughter of Harbinger [2010 King George VI & Queen Elizabeth QIPCO Stakes winner] so that is one of the reasons we came over here. After Royal Ascot, we stayed in Newmarket, and thanks goes to Jane Chapple-Hyam. We had very good surroundings and we trained very well coming here. Hopefully, everybody at home [in Japan] was watching." 


Deirdre's victory in the G1 Qatar Nassau Stakes was a superb result for her homeland of Japan and a significant one for international racing.

Ridden by Oisin Murphy, the five-year-old mare pulled off a 20/1 shock, but she beat a top-class field fair and square, becoming the first runner and winner for Japan at Goodwood, and only the second Japanese-trained winner in Britain, following Agnes World's victory in the 2000 Darley July Cup at Newmarket.

The Mitsuru Hashida-trained winner scored by one and a quarter lengths and the same from pace-setting Mehdaayih (3/1), the mount of Frankie Dettori, and Rawdaa (6/1), ridden by Danny Tudhope. Hermosa was the unplaced 13/8 favourite.

Murphy, who is leading Britain's Stobart Jockeys' Championship with 86 winners, three clear of Tudhope, formed contacts in Japan during a visit there in January when he rode in a number of races. He said: "I'm so glad the Japanese have bought a horse here and she has performed. I've been telling people since I came back from Japan of the regard they hold their horses in, and it's fantastic they have won a Group One race here - she was already a Group One winner, but it is great to do it in Britain.

"I can't tell you how pleased and thrilled I am for all the connections."

Deirdre was undertaking her second start in Britain after finishing sixth in the G1 Prince Of Wales's Stakes at Royal Ascot. She is a daughter of the stallion Harbinger, who raced in Britain and won the 2010 G1 King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes before being sold to Japanese breeding interests.

Murphy added: "I had a lovely draw beside Mehdaayih, and Hermosa was just on my outside. I would have liked to have sat a bit closer but couldn't go the pace. There was no pressure on me and so I rode her as I felt from instinct. It paid off, she picked up really well and I was able to use that fresh strip of ground on the rail.

"She's a big, masculine mare, a real physical, and I'm not surprised she was able to carry the 60 kilo [9st 7lb] which is far more than she would be used to carrying in Japan. I kept looking at her price, but thinking she had a wonderful chance. She worked brilliant, but to go and win against a decent field was something else.

"Hopefully we will see more horses from Japan coming over. Northern Farm, which bred this mare, has some wonderful pedigrees and this is a huge result. When in Japan I was spoilt because I rode great horses every morning."




A one and a quarter length second in the feature race of the day, the £600,000 G1 Qatar Nassau Stakes, saw the John Gosden magnanimous in defeat when his filly 3/1 chance Mehdaayih found just the Japanese raider Deirdre (20/1) too good.

Gosden said: "The race went great even though I didn't think we would make the running. Mehdaayih broke well - unlike her - and I noticed that Frankie [Dettori] and Ryan [Moore on Hermosa] were up there wanting to control the race and they went a bit hard for the first furlong.

"Mehdaayih has run a blinder and looked like she had got it won, but Deirdre slipped up the inside rail. It is a fantastic result for racing.

"For a young filly, Mehdaayih was a long time in front and she got a little bit lonely.

"I left the tactics open, I said that if she didn't break well to bring her wide on the outside, but if she did break well to, by all means, ride it has you find it. A young filly like this, she has never been in front in her life.

"I think we will freshen her up, Frankie was quite keen to freshen her up and go for the Prix de l'Opera.

"I think to bring Deirdre over here from Japan and win a Group One like this, at a great festival, it is fantastic for international racing and for Japanese racing. If we were going to be beaten, I am delighted to be beaten by the Japanese.

"I saw Deirdre as a threat today, I have seen her train across the road in Newmarket and I know her form. She is a tough race mare, a real pro, and her owners are the most charming people.

"It is a fabulous result for racing. We have had two fabulous results today, the charity race and this. I think it is wonderful for racing and wonderful for the country.

"I hear that there might be at least three horses coming over from Japan for the Prix de l'Arc de Triomph so this great.

Frankie Dettori added: "She ran a super race. We were beaten by an older mare but no complaints."

 Oisin Murphy - 26th Goodwood winner (4th at Qatar Goodwood Festival)      

3.35pm Qatar Nassau Stakes (Group 1), 1m 1f 197y

1 Deirdre (Toji Morita) Mitsuru Hashida JPN 5-9-07 Oisin Murphy 20/1

2 Meydaayih (Emirates Park Pty Ltd) John Gosden 3-8-13 Frankie Dettori 3/1

3 Rawdaa (Abdullah Saeed Al Naboodah) Sir Michael Stoute 4-9-07 Danny Tudhope 6/1

13/8 fav Hermosa (9th)

9 ran

Time: 2m 2.93s

Distances: 1¼, 1¼

Tote Win: £19.30       Places: £3.40, £1.60, £1.90   Exacta: £110.50

Breeding: b m Harbinger (GB) - Reizend (JPN) (Special Week (JPN))

Breeder: Northern Farm

Mitsuru Hashida - 1st Goodwood winner


Deirdre (JPN) Factfile - Before today's race 


5 b m Harbinger (GB) - Reizend (JPN) (Special Week (JPN))

Born: April 4, 2014

Breeder: Northern Farm

Owner: Toji Morita

Trainer: Mitsuru Hashida

Jockey: Oisin Murphy

Form: 241324/326141110/63112-6466

*22/1 chance with Unibet for today's £600,000 G1 Qatar Nassau Stakes, when ridden for the first time by Oisin Murphy.

*Finished sixth on her UK debut behind Crystal Ocean on unsuitable soft ground in the 10-furlong G1 Prince Of Wales's Stakes at Royal Ascot on June 19.

*The mare's career highlight came when landing the G1 Shuka Sho over 10 furlongs at Kyoto in October, 2017. She has also won two G3s and a G2 in Japan.

*Has competed outside of Japan on five occasions, with the pick of those efforts coming when third to Benbatl in the 2018 G1 Dubai Turf (1m 1f) at Meydan, UAE, and a fast-finishing second when beaten a length by Glorious Forever in the G1 Longines Hong Kong Cup (1m 2f) at Sha Tin, Hong Kong, in December.

*Fourth behind compatriot Almond Eye in this year's G1 Dubai Turf in March.

Race record: Starts: 24; Wins: 7; 2nd: 4; 3rd: 3; Win & Place Prize Money: £3,197,737


Toji Morita

Born: December 23, 1932. Ownership history: The business owner has been registered as a racehorse owner for over 40 years since 1978 by the JRA (Japan Racing Association). He also has horses in the other jurisdiction in Japan, the NAR (National Association of Racing). The victory of Deirdre in the G1 Shuka Sho in 2017 has been the highlight of his ownership. He currently has nine JRA horses including Deirdre and they are all trained by Mitsuru Hashida.


Mitsuru Hashida (Japan)

Born: September 15, 1952. Background: Son of a former jockey and trainer. Had a short career as an apprentice rider before setting his sights on becoming a trainer. Granted his first training licence on March 1, 1983, having spent five years as an assistant trainer. Enjoyed first G1 success in 1990 courtesy of Passing Shot in the Mile Championship. Other top level performers include 1999 G1 Japanese Derby victor Admire Vega and dual G1 heroine Admire Groove, the dam of dual Classic winner Duramente. Hashida's best season numerically came in 1995 when he sent out 34 winners. He registered his 700th JRA winner at Hakodate Racecourse on June 23 this year. Deirdre was his first British runner when sixth behind Crystal Ocean at Royal Ascot.


Oisin Murphy

Born:  September 6, 1995 Background: Nephew of former jump jockey Jim Culloty, who won three Cheltenham Gold Cups on Best Mate and trained the 2014 winner Lord Windermere. Murphy began riding at the age of four and competed in pony races and show jumping. Joined Culloty's Cork yard at the age of 13 before teaming up with trainer Tommy Stack two years later. Started riding out for Ireland's champion Flat trainer Aidan O'Brien at 16 and then moved to England as an apprentice for Andrew Balding in October, 2012. First win came aboard Imperial Glance at Salisbury on June 16, 2013. Capped 2013 with a memorable four-timer on Ayr Gold Cup day, including landing the feature race on Highland Colori. Had a three-month spell with leading Australian trainer Danny O'Brien in 2013/2014 and gained 13 successes. Crowned champion British apprentice in 2014 after riding 91 winners. Appointed second jockey behind Andrea Atzeni to Qatar Racing Ltd ahead of 2015 Flat season and became first jockey to the organisation when Atzeni returned to trainer Roger Varian in late 2015. Had his best season in 2018 when partnering 198 British winners, including Roaring Lion who gained four G1 victories. Is vying for Britain's Stobart Jockeys' Championship in 2019, currently lying second to Danny Tudhope. Big-Race Wins include: Coral-Eclipse (2018 Roaring Lion), Dubai Turf (2018 Benbatl), Ebor Handicap (2015 Litigant), E P Taylor Stakes (2017 Blond Me), Haydock Sprint Cup (2018 The Tin Man), Irish Champion Stakes (2018 Roaring Lion), Juddmonte International (2018 Roarding Lion), Prix de la Foret (2017 Acclaim),Queen Elizabeth II Stakes (2018 Roaring Lion), Sussex Stakes (2018 Lightning Spear), Falmouth Stakes (2019 Veracious).

Goodwood record: Murphy has ridden 25 winners at Goodwood, including 3 at the Qatar Goodwood Festival. First winner at the track was Annie's Fortune on August 2, 2012.

Major wins at Qatar Goodwood Festival:

Qatar Sussex Stakes (2018 Lightning Spear)