By Jon Lees
Japan: Oisin Murphy has been handed the chance to fulfil Japan’s long quest for the Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe with the ride on the country’s main hope Chrono Genesis.
The news was announced by owners Sunday Racing as they confirmed the five-year-old mare would take her chance at ParisLongchamp on October 3 and head to France in September. She will not run before the Arc.
Murphy expressed his gratitude in a tweet, writing his message in Japanese, saying: “I am very much looking forward to being able to challenge for the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe with Chrono Genesis. I will do my best for Japan! I also sincerely hope that Yuichi Kitamura will return.”
Chrono Genesis, trained by Takashi Saito, was beaten a neck by Mishriff in the Dubai Sheema Classic in March and on her return to Japan the fan favourite, known as ‘the grand prix queen’, clinched her second win in the Takarazuka Kinen, taking her G1 score to four.
Winning jockey Christophe Lemaire gave the Arc mission his seal of approval when he said: “She runs really well on the soft so I think she will perform well in France.”
Murphy, Britain’s champion jockey, has already had a close-up view of Chrono Genesis as he partnered the third horse, Loves Only You, in the Sheema Classic. Chrono Genesis’s jockey at Meydan, Yuichi Kitamura, has since been sidelined by injury.
Before the pandemic Murphy had spent part of two winters riding on the Japan Racing Association circuit, enjoying tremendous success. He has ridden 68 winners on previous spells with a short-term licence, which include victory on Suave Richard in the 2019 Japan Cup, Japan’s most prestigious race.
In Europe he steered Deirdre to victory in the 2019 Nassau Stakes, the first first G1 by a Japanese-trained horse in Britain for 19 years.
After a series of frustrating near-misses in the Arc, the race known as the ‘Gaisenmon-sho’ has become something of a holy grail to the Japanese racing community. Four times Japanese horses have finished second – El Condor Pasa (1999), Nakayama Festa (2010) and Orfevre (2012, 2013).
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