Champion jockey Oisin Murphy added another notable victory to his CV as he claimed the Japan Cup aboard Suave Richard.
Murphy has enjoyed a landmark year, being crowned top jockey for the first time, and he teamed up with the Yasushi Shono-trained five-year-old in the Tokyo Group One.
Suave Richard was sitting in third at the top of the straight in the 12-furlong contest, but switched to the rail by Murphy, the son of Deep Impact found an extra burst to grab the lead.
Murphy’s mount went on to win by three-quarters of a length with Curren Bouquetd’or second and Wagnerian third.
“I suppose it’s a dream come true to have won this race. I was happy with Suave Richard in his gallops and he felt brilliant,” said Murphy.
“The Japan Cup is one of the most famous races around the world and it’s very hard to win, so I wasn’t confident but very hopeful.
“Suave Richard has got a lot of quality, he’s a very good mover with a lot of pace – if you’ve seen his gallops he does incredible times.
“On this (yielding) ground, horses get very tired and so I just wanted him to keep on going and after a big race it’s very hard to immediately understand how important it is, but sure the Japan Cup for me is one of the best races in the world and I won’t sleep for a week.
“It’s a big relief (to have won my first major race in Japan), as I want to win Group Ones all over the world.
“The quality in Japan is really high and the world stage will be hearing a lot more about Japanese horses.
“I would love to win many more Group Ones in Japan, but it’s very hard to win. I rode in the Epsom Derby when I was 18, but I didn’t win my first Group One until I think I was 21 or 22.”
Frankie Dettori, William Buick and Ryan Moore also had rides in the race, but they all finished down the field.