Suave Richard Captures Second G1 Title with Japan Cup Victory

Suave Richard wins this year’s Japan Cup at Tokyo.

SUAVE RICHARD winning the Japan Cup in Tokyo, Japan.
SUAVE RICHARD winning the Japan Cup in Tokyo, Japan. Picture: Japan Racing Association

Third favorite Suave Richard claimed this year's Japan Cup while capturing his much awaited second G1 title since his Osaka Hai victory last year and has now collected five grade-race titles. After the Osaka Hai, he marked four third-place finishes—the Yasuda Kinen (1,600m) and the Japan Cup last year, along with the Dubai Sheema Classic (2,410m) and the Takarazuka Kinen (2,200m) earlier this season. The five-year-old bounced back remarkably today from his recent Tenno Sho (Autumn) (G1, 2,000m) start in which he was seventh. For trainer Yasushi Shono, this is his second JRA-G1 title following the Osaka Hai victory with Suave Richard and jockey Oisin Murphy, who is riding under a short-term license, has now landed his first G1 and second graded victory following the G3 Negishi Stakes he claimed in January this year.

The 15-horse field broke in front of the stands on the soggy track with Daiwa CagneyDanburite and Win Tenderness disputing for the lead. Apart from four horses trailing far behind, the leading group was tightly bunched up cruising down the backstretch with Suave Richard relaxed in seventh to eighth, four to five lengths from the pace on the rails. As the field fanned out at the top of the stretch, Suave Richard kicked into gear surging through an opening near the rails, inherited the lead from the tiring frontrunner before the furlong marker and dueled briefly with the strong challenge of Curren Bouquetd'or. However, the chestnut easily pulled away, showing a stronger drive to the wire to notch a 3/4-length win.

Breaking from the inner-most stall, fifth favorite Curren Bouquetd'or saved ground in third to fourth, entered the straight in second and fought the eventual winner at the furlong marker but failed to further threaten while putting in a good runner-up effort.

Sent off second favorite, 2018 Tokyo Yushun (Japanese Derby) victor Wagnerian travelled in sixth behind Curren Bouquetd'or along the backstretch, dropped back to eighth when the others started making their bids rounding the last turn, but finding a clear path in the middle of the straight, unleashed a furious charge, tagging the pace-setter 100 meters out for a 2-1/4 length third.

Race favorite and 2017 Japan Cup runner-up Rey de Oro, saved ground in eighth or ninth behind the eventual winner and ran willingly but was through by the furlong pole, fading to 11th—his first double-digit finish.

Other Horses :

4th:  (14)  Makahiki - trailed in rear, switched to the outside 300m out, showed belated charge, timed fastest over
                last 3 furlongs
5th:  (6)   You Can Smile - hugged rails in 12th, circled wide, accelerated with too much ground to make to
                threaten top finishers
6th:  (7)   Daiwa Cagney - set pace, showed tenacity after surrendering lead, outrun in last 100m
7th:  (13)  Etario - sat 3-wide in 4th, ran gamely until 200m pole, weakened thereafter
8th:  (4)   Muito Obrigado - settled behind eventual winner, found little room at early stretch, never fired
9th:  (11)  Cheval Grand - traveled 3-wide around 7th, showed little at stretch
10th: (9)   Look Twice - raced 3rd from rear, never a threat
12th: (3)   Win Tenderness - chased pace in third, gradually retreated before last turn
13th: (15) Jinambo - took wide trip in 9th, showed effort in early stretch, even paced thereafter
14th: (10) Danburite - broke well, pressed pace, maintained second in early stretch, faded
15th: (12) Taisei Trail- trailed second from rear, entered lane last, never a factor

Japan Racing Association