By Nicholas Godfrey
Japan: Suave Richard, the horse who gave Oisin Murphy one of the greatest successes of his career in the Japan Cup, has been retired owing to a leg issue.
The six-year-old, who was trained by Yasushi Shono, was being prepared for a visit to Meydan for the Dubai Sheema Classic but instead will now go to stud at the Shadai Stallion Station in Hokkaido.
Ridden by British champion jockey Murphy, the son of Heart’s Cry landed Japan’s greatest race by three-quarters of a length over Curren Bouquetd’or after a dramatic burst up the inner at Tokyo racecourse in November.
Suave Richard also won the G1 Osaka Hai at Hanshin in 2018, having finished runner-up to Rey De Oro in the Tokyo Yushun (Japanese Derby) during his Classic campaign the previous season.
Murphy, whose latest spell in Japan is set to end next week, currently leads the Japan Racing Association jockeys’ title race with 20 winners already in 2020.
After winning the Japan Cup, the 24-year-old said: “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.”
Even without Suave Richard, Japan is still set to field a formidable contingent for the Sheema Classic, with Currenbouquetd’or joined by brilliant Hong Kong Vase winner Glory Vase and star Oaks-winning filly Loves Only You. Kiseki and Deirdre are also possible runners.