Capella Stakes winner Justin guaranteed
spot in Riyadh Dirt Sprint

Yahagi-trained four year old lands second
Japanese Saudi Cup Qualifying Race

Justin, ridden by Ryusei Sakai and trained by Yoshito Yahagi, won a place in the $1.5m Riyadh Dirt Sprint starting line-up at the Saudi Cup 2021 when he claimed the G3 Capella Stakes in Japan over the weekend. Credit: (C) Weekly Gallop

Watch the 2020 Saudi Cup

Justin landed the Grade 3 Capella Stakes at Nakayama Racecourse on Sunday, guaranteeing him a spot in the $1.5 million Riyadh Dirt Sprint at The Saudi Cup meeting on 20 February 2021.

It was an eighth win from 20 career starts for the son of Orfevre and after the race his trainer Yoshito Yahagi confirmed that connections would strongly consider heading out to Riyadh in February.

“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 for Justin.

The Capella Stakes is the second qualifying race to be staged in Japan over the past week with last Sunday’s Champions Cup winner, Chuwa Wizard earning a place in the $20 million Saudi Cup.

The Japanese did well at the inaugural Saudi Cup meeting earlier this year with Full Flat beating the progressive Mishriff to land The Saudi Derby, while the globetrotting Deirdre and Matera Sky claimed the runners-up spot in The Middle Distance Turf Cup and Riyadh Dirt Sprint respectively.

The final two qualifying races for February’s meeting are next month at Gulfstream Park where the Pegasus World Cup guarantees a spot in The Saudi Cup and the Pegasus World Cup Turf provides a ticket for the $1 million Middle Distance Turf Cup.

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 are committed to building relationships with key races and events around the world and following a successful meeting for the Japanese this year, we hope to welcome a number of Japanese horses in February. The Pegasus World Cup and Pegasus World Cup Turf are our remaining two qualifiers and we are excited to see those races at Gulfstream Park in January.”

Source: Ben Cleminson / Sarah Tregoning

About The Saudi Cup

Organised by the Jockey Club of Saudi Arabia and run at the King Abdulaziz Racetrack in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, The Saudi Cup is a two-day festival of international racing headlined by the USD$20m Saudi Cup – the world’s most valuable race.

Established in 2020 with the second renewal set to be run on Saturday February 20, 2021, The Saudi Cup day card carries a total prize purse of $30.5m and features dirt and turf races for the highest calibre of racehorses in the world.

A full card of racing on the preceding Friday includes an International Jockeys Challenge which sees seven female and seven male jockeys compete as individuals as well as the $500,000 Saudi International Handicap for horses trained in IFHA-registered Part II and III racing countries.

The Saudi Cup is charged with raising awareness of horse racing in the country, encouraging participation among men and women. It also aims to promote Saudi Arabia at international level, acting as a marker for the Kingdom’s transformational journey, encouraging tourism and investment.

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