Japan: Chuwa Wizard gets on ‘Road to Riyadh’ with Champions Cup triumph

Horse Racing Chuwa Wizard
Road to Riyadh? Chuwa Wizard (Keito Tosaki) wins Champions Cup at Chukyo. Photo: Masakazu Takahashi

By Nicholas Godfrey

Chukyo: Champions Cup (former Japan Cup Dirt) ¥194,800,000 (£1.39m), G1 1m1f, dirt, 3yo+
Chuwa Wizard (Ryuji Okubo/Keita Tosaki)

Japan: Odds-on favourite Chrysoberyl came unstuck on the Chukyo dirt as Chuwa Wizard stormed home to a decisive victory in the 21st edition of the race better known in its former guies as the Japan Cup Dirt.

Sent off just bigger than a 12-1 shot, the winner – a five-year-old son of King Kamehameha – earns a place in the Saudi Cup via the ‘Road to Riyadh’ programme after a 2½-length triumph over veteran dirt star Gold Dream, who won the race in 2017 and was second in 2019.

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Chrysoberyl suffered his first defeat on home soil as he could finish only fourth as 2-5 favourite on his attempt to follow up last year’s success in Japan’s most prestigious dirt race.

Chuwa Wizard’s biggest previous win had come in last year’s JBC Classic – a race in which he was only third to Chrysoberyl in last month’s renewal.

After racing in mid-division, he challenged down the middle of the Chukyo stretch to hit the front about 100 yards out before pulling away for a comfortable success.

“The horse was in very good condition and felt really good,” said winning jockey Keita Tosaki, landing his eighth G1 on the JRA circuit. 

“With Chrysoberyl traveling in front, I was able to feel his response while marking the favourite. As it takes time for him to accelerate, I urged him to go early and the horse responded with great strength.”

Dubai World Cup betting (Ladbrokes): 4 Benbatl, 6 Tiz The Law, 7 Mucho Gusto, 8 Mishriff, Monomoy Girl, 12 Chrysoberyl, Matterhorn, 16 Capezzano, Swiss Skydiver, Tacitus, 20 Chuwa Wizard, Salute The Soldier, Tuz, 25 bar

• Visit the Japan Racing Association website

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