She's Japan's new star and she's being touted as perhaps the best female Thoroughbred in the world. The Irish-bred Fine Motion (Danehill -- Cocotte, by Troy) wowed packed stands again, extending her number of winning runs to a perfect six with a victory Nov. 10 in the country's top distaff, the 2,200-meter Queen Elizabeth II Cup (Jpn-I) at Kyoto.
France's Olivier Peslier rode Diamond Biko (Sunday Silence -- Stella Madrid, by Alydar), to a driving second-place finish, 2 1/2 lengths behind the winner.
Fine Motion's accomplishment represented a Japan first, the first time an unbeaten colt or filly has gone up against older company to win a group I race.
The Queen Elizabeth's field of 13 got off to a crawl, with early laps topping 13 seconds. Yutaka Take had his hands full holding Fine Motion to third position behind front runners Yu Carat and Towa Treasure. Diamond Biko closely shadowed the race favorite on the outside. Rounding the final turn Take finally gave Fine Motion her head and, shooting forward with awe-inspiring speed, she left the competition to vie for second place.
Fourth pick Lady Pastel (Tony Bin -- Pink Turtle, by Blushing Groom) finished in third place, a length and half behind Diamond Biko, with Towa Treasure and Yu Carat crossing the line in fourth and fifth place, respectively.
Fine Motion was up against older females for the first time and Take admitted he'd anticipated the going would be tougher than her previous race, the Shukasho (Jpn., I). "I was a bit worried and I took special care out there today," Take said. Paired with many of Japan's best horses since his debut 15 years ago, the 33-year-old Take was lavish in his praise of the 3-year-old filly. "She's really something. Her speed today was incredible," he said. "For me to be blessed with a horse like this is true joy."
Fine Motion, half-sister to the English champion Pilsudski, is owned by Tatsuo Fushikida, trained by the Ritto-based Yuji Ito, and was bred by Barronstown Stud and Orpendale in Ireland. The ¥100 million winner's share of the Queen Elizabeth pushed Fine Motion's earnings to just over ¥277 million. Fine Motion clocked 2:13.2 over firm turf, two seconds shy of the race record. She covered the final 600 meters in a mere :33.6 seconds.