The Land of the Rising Sun stole the show for a second consecutive year on Saudi Cup night at King Abdulaziz Racecourse, where World Pool was in action for the very first time.
Having won four of the six Group races at the world’s most valuable night of racing in 2022, Japan trained a further three winners this year and, most importantly, finally got their hands on the $20m G1 Saudi Cup itself.
BATHRAT LEON got the ball rolling for the Japanese, jumping handily from the stalls and never being headed in the G3 1351 Turf Sprint, before striking grey SILVER SONIC hit the front in the home straight and powered home under Damian Lane in the G3 Red Sea Turf Handicap.
With six of the 13 runners in the world’s most valuable race, The Saudi Cup, and confidence high on the night, it was no huge surprise to see Japan train the winner. However, few thought 17.5 outsider PANTHALASSA would be the one to catch.
Yoshito Yahagi’s runner, having just his second career start on dirt, broke alertly from the gates and was given a well-judged front-running ride from 47-year-old jockey Yutaka Yoshida to take the feature prize.
The historic win was chosen as the World Pool Moment of the Day, with groom Yasuhiro Ikeda receiving a cheque for HK$40,000 and entering the chance to win a VIP trip to Hong Kong by being voted as the World Pool Moment of the Year.
“I’m so proud of Panthalassa, who I’ve looked after since 2020. I travelled with him to Hong Kong, where things didn’t work out, so to go overseas again and win the world’s most valuable race is a dream come true.”
“I was very nervous watching the race, as he always jumps out in front and you just have to keep willing him to stay there. Thankfully, he was fit, healthy and showed what a true warrior he is.”
“Thanks very much to the World Pool for their kind Moment of the Day prize, which is a big bonus for us grooms to receive. It’s hugely appreciated.”
Derek and Killian Hennessy, groom and work rider for Luxembourg, speak to Tom Stanley after picking up their World Pool Moment of the Day prize.