Christophe Lemaire Makes It A Japanese Hat-Trick

February 26, 2022

26 February 2022 – The Japanese takeover at King Abdulaziz Racecourse continued into race three on The Saudi Cup night as Stay Foolish (JPN) was absolutely dominant from the front on his way to winning the US $2,500,000 The Longines Red Sea Turf Handicap. 

Stay Foolish, a consistent seven-year-old, had been fifth in the Longines Hong Kong Vase last December, but the son of Stay Gold saved his career best for the biggest stage and did so in comfort in a time of 3:06.08. 

Jockey Christophe Lemaire made it an evening to remember as he brought up his hat-trick on the third Japanese-trained winner on The Saudi Cup card, this time for overjoyed trainer Yoshito Yahagi. 

Four and a quarter lengths back in second was the Johnny Murtagh-trained Sonnyboyliston (IRE), a horse given a ride that Murtagh himself would have been proud of as his stable jockey Ben Coen managed to get the Irish St Leger winner into a perfect position, tracking the leaders from gate 12.

Siskany (GB) was back in third for Charlie Appleby and Godolphin after travelling well into the straight, but this was another race which centred around a Japanese success story in Saudi Arabia


Christophe Lemaire, jockey, Stay Foolish, 1st: “Once again I took the lead and he was very comfortable in front. He used his stamina. What a performance! He was quickly away so we didn’t stop.

“I am really, really happy. He’s an easy horse, he likes to gallop. He doesn’t have a big turn of foot; that’s why I took the lead. The ground is good, inside the rail is good. When they are good they keep going.  

“We don’t have many long-distance races in Japan. 2000m, 2200m is a little bit short for him and today he dominated the race. Running free like this he was unbeatable. We’re happy to win these races, international races are very important. We want to provide a good image of horse racing in Japan. Once again they [the Japanese runners] have shown that they are true competitors and big challengers internationally.”

Yoshito Yahagi, trainer, Stay Foolish, 1st: “I have been a trainer for a long time and this is one of my happiest moments. 

“I thought before he could win, absolutely. I knew he was training well so we had some confidence before the race. He is a one-paced sort of horse so this distance of 3000m must help him.

“To lead was one of our tactics and I depend on Christophe [Lemaire] to decide what is best in the race; I trust him. It is a great day for Japanese racing, proving how strong it is. Looking forward, I hope we can go to Australia for the Melbourne Cup later in the year.”

Ben Coen, jockey, Sonnyboyliston, 2nd: “He ran well off top weight after not having a run in nearly five months. I’m very happy with him. He jumped and got a nice position, travelled around well and hit the line well, so I am looking forward to the rest of the year with him.”

James Doyle, jockey, Siskany, 3rd: “He ran good; I’m very happy. The ground was probably a touch quick for him and whether he quite gets the trip, I’m not too sure, but he travelled round super. Full credit to the winner, who quickened away well.”

Other jockey quotes:

Cristian Demuro, jockey, Glycon, 9th: “He loves heavy ground and we tried the fast ground, but it’s not for him. They went pretty fast the first time around and it was a little bit hard for him.”

Joey Sheridan, jockey, Princess Zoe, 10th: “I jumped well and travelled to a point, but the short side of two miles in this ground meant it probably just quickened a bit away from her.

“She didn’t disgrace herself and she pulled up fine which is the main thing. The Gold Cup [at Royal Ascot] trip on that ground is OK, but on the short side of two miles, she didn’t disgrace herself and I’m sure Tony [Mullins, trainer] will have her ready for the Gold Cup.”

Silvestre de Sousa, jockey, Fabilis, 12th: “He wasn’t good enough. He was always doing too much. He didn’t stay.”

Alexis Moreno, jockey, Derevo, 13th: “He was good in behind, so when I start to move the other one just ran away. The horse in front of me is very good.”

Andrea Atzeni, jockey, Nayef Road, 14th: “It just didn’t happen from the start. He got a bit upset in the stalls and he was on the backfoot straight away, and I was caught wide early and I didn’t want to be three wide all around so I pushed forward and sat second, but he never felt happy today. I think the start just didn’t do him any favours.”

The Saudi Cup Press Release

Photo: Stay Foolish (The Jockey Club of Saudi Arabia)

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