Promising Japanese 3-year-old filly Serein has made the ambitious move from her home base to Dubai's Meydan Racecourse and is zeroing in on the Group 3 $250,000 UAE Oaks next Thursday, Feb. 20. A daughter of champion Uncle Mo and G1 winner Tiz Miz Sue, the Mikio Matsunaga-trained Kentucky-bred exits a gritty victory in the Kuratake Sho on Jan. 25 at Nakayama, one race after her only poor showing from four starts, a 12th in the Cattleya Sho in the mud. The dark bay filly arrived locally on Sunday, Feb. 9, and stretched her legs over the local surface just after clearing quarantine on Tuesday morning.
A $500,000 Keeneland September 2018 purchase by Maeda's North Hills, she will be ridden by Yutake Take next week, who also piloted the same connections' Lani to victory in the 2016 UAE Derby (G2) just prior to him competing in all three legs of the American Triple Crown, including a third in the Belmont Stakes (G1).
“She was an expensive purchase, but the owner is now starting to buy good, quality fillies for his stallions in Hokkaido. It's important to do that and get good pedigrees. That team brought Lani four years ago and he won the Derby here. It's always been a plan to buy another good dirt horse and possibly come here again. We only have good memories here. It was like a dream journey to bring a 3-year-old colt here to win the (UAE) Derby and then go straight to the U.S. to run in the Kentucky Derby. With this filly, we are trying to do the same thing.
“Japan has been successful for more than 10 years shipping across the world, though last year was (especially) successful,” Tanaka concluded. “Before that, we weren't that successful, but sometimes things go good and sometimes not so good. Hopefully, this year, we have another good year.”
The UAE Oaks provides 85 qualification points for the $1.25 million Kentucky Oaks (G1) on May 1. Rayya, winner of the 1900m test in 2018, went on to finish second in the UAE Derby before being unplaced in the Kentucky Oaks.
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