Suave Richard takes Ja­pan Cup

CHAM­PION RIDE: UK CHAM­PION JOCKEY OISIN MUR­PHY ADDS TO HIS G1 VIC­TO­RIES

The Citizen (KZN) - - Racing Express - Tokyo

Big name Bri­tish jock­eys end down field.

UK Cham­pion Jockey Oisin Mur­phy yes­ter­day added the pres­ti­gious Ja­pan Cup to his col­lec­tion of Group 1 vic­to­ries this year after guid­ing Suave Richard to suc­cess in Tokyo by 0.75 lengths.

This Ya­sushi Shono-trained five-year-old landed his se­cond top-level vic­tory after win­ning the Osaka Hai at Han­shin in April 2018.

Im­me­di­ately fol­low­ing the race, Mur­phy said: “I can’t be­lieve it. This is only my se­cond year here and I haven’t had that many Group 1 rides in Ja­pan.

“I knew the horse had a great chance and ev­ery­thing went right in the run.

“I’m ab­so­lutely over the moon.” Suave Richard fin­ished the 2400m race at Tokyo Racecourse in 2 min­utes, 25.9 sec­onds to beat fifth-pick Cur­ren Bou­quetd'or.

“This is a dream come true. It’s a mas­sive race around the world, the Ja­pan Cup is one of the most im­por­tant races and it’s a huge achieve­ment,” said the 24-yearold Mur­phy.

Daiwa Cag­ney, the 14th favourite steered by Shu Ishibashi, led the way on an over­cast day in the Ja­panese cap­i­tal un­til Suave Richard came from the inside with 200m to go.

The five-year-old Suave Richard claimed 300 mil­lion yen (R40 mil­lion) in prize money.

“I could’ve pushed Cur­ren Bou­quetd’or out, but it was go­ing to open up be­cause the leader was tired,” Mur­phy said. “Ja­panese horses are be­com­ing the best in the world and this is the best race to show­case that.”

Se­cond-pick Wag­ne­r­ian fin­ished third, while Daiwa Cag­ney fell to sixth place. Top-favourite Rey de Oro fin­ished 11th in the 15-horse field.

The Ja­pan Cup was es­tab­lished in 1981 in a bid to cre­ate a race in which Ja­pan’s top-ranked horses com­pete against some of the world’s best. The race was reg­is­tered as an in­ter­na­tional Grade 1 event in 1992.

This year, how­ever, the race was con­tested among only do­mes­tic horses for the first time.

The event was also a me­mo­rial race for seven-time Grade 1 cham­pion Deep Im­pact, the 2006 Ja­pan Cup cham­pion who was eu­th­a­nized in July. Four of the horses com­pet­ing were sired by Deep Im­pact.

Last year, Al­mond Eye won the Ja­pan Cup for her fourth Grade 1 vic­tory. The horse skipped the race this year and is ex­pected to com­pete at De­cem­ber’s Hong Kong Cup.

Frankie Det­tori, Wil­liam Buick and Ryan Moore also had rides in the race, but they all fin­ished down the field. – Kyodo News

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