Britain’s champion jockey Oisin Murphy has capped his year with victory in the Japan Cup aboard Suave Richard.
Murphy has enjoyed a landmark 12 months, 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 race.
Suave Richard was third at the top of the straight in the 12-furlong (2400m) contest, but switched to the rail by Murphy, he 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,” Murphy said.
“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.
“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 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.”
Murphy rode in Australia as an apprentice and has made several return visits to ride in major races.