Road to Riyadh: Japan’s dirt stars eyeing Saudi Cup card after ‘Win and You’re In’ successes

Horse Racing Justin Capella Stakes
Justin (Ryusei Sakai) scores at Nakayama to earn a place in the $1.5m Riyadh Dirt Sprint. Photo: Weekly Gallop

Japan: After capturing two of the four G1 events in Hong Kong on Sunday, Japanese horses are setting their sights on further success at the Saudi Cup meeting in Riyadh on February 20.

Justin landed the G3 Capella Stakes at Nakayama on Sunday to earn a spot in the $1.5m Riyadh Dirt Sprint on the undercard to the world’s richest race, where compatriot Chuwa Wizard is already qualified after his recent victory in the Champions Cup (former Japan Cup Dirt).

Full Flat won the Saudi Derby on the inaugural Saudi Cup card in 2020, while both Deirdre and Matera Sky were second in other races.

Justin’s trained Yoshito Yahagi said Saudi Arabia is under strong consideration for the son or Orfevre. “I am very glad to win the race which is a ‘win and you’re in’ for The Riyadh Dirt Sprint,” said Yahagi.

“I will see how he comes out of the race if he is fine, I will talk to the owner about future plans. When I had a little chat with him soon after the race, we shared the feeling that The Riyadh Dirt Sprint is a suitable race.”

Tom Ryan, director of strategy and international racing at the Jockey Club of Saudi Arabia, said: “We are delighted that the connections of both Justin and Chuwa Wizard are strongly considering the Saudi Cup meeting after winning our first two qualifying races. We hope to welcome a number of Japanese horses in February.”

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