CHAMPION jockey Oisin Murphy added another notable victory to his CV as he claimed the Japan Cup aboard Suave Richard.
The 24-year-old became the youngest ever ride to win Japanese racing’s most illustrious prize just a month after becoming champion jockey in Britain for the first time.
Suave Richard was sitting in third at the top of the straight in the 12-furlong contest in Tokyo, but switched to the rail by Murphy, the son of Deep Impact found an extra burst to grab the lead.
Murphy’s mount went on to win this celebrated Group One race by three-quarters of a length. “It’s a dream come true to have won this race,” he said. “The Japan Cup is one of the most famous races around the world and it’s very hard to win.
“Suave Richard has got a lot of quality, he’s a very good mover with a lot of pace - if you’ve seen his gallops he does incredible times.
“On this (yielding) ground, horses get very tired and so I just wanted him to keep on going and after a big race it’s very hard to immediately understand how important it is, but sure the Japan Cup for me is one of the best races in the world and I won’t sleep for a week.
“The quality in Japan is really high and the world stage will be hearing a lot more about Japanese horses. I would love to win many more Group Ones in Japan, but it’s very hard to win. I rode in the Epsom Derby when I was 18, but I didn’t win my first Group One until I think I was 21 or 22.”
This is Murphy’s second winter stint in Japan and further confirmation of his rise through the British – and international – racing ranks.
His contacts forged in Japan last winter paved the way for his Group One win this summer at Goodwood on Deirdre, another star of Japanese racing.
Meanwhile Colin Tizzard’s new steeplechasing star Lostintranslation will line up in Kempton’s King George Chase on Boxing Day following his win in Haydock’s Betfair Chase.
The horse – the new Cheltenham Gold Cup ante-post ride – was given a masterful hold-up ride by Robbie Power to deny Bristol De Mai who had won the last two renewals.
The King George will also feature the Paul Nicholls-trained Cyrname after Harry Cobden’s mount ended the 18-race unbeaten run of Altior – it remains to be seen whether Nicky Henderson’s Queen Mother Champion Chase hero will head to Kempton after staminia limitations were exposed.
High Eldwick trainer Sue Smith was delighted with the run of Midnight Shadow in Haydock’s Graduation Chase – the novice was a close second to Warren Greatrex’s Keeper Hill. A luckless run for her stable ended when Informateur and Silva Eclipse both won at Uttoxeter.