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2022 JRA Leading Jockey, Yuga 'King' Kawada, will be competing in the LONGINES International Jockeys’ Championship (IJC) on Wednesday, 6 December, at Happy Valley.
In 2019, Kawada was invited to the IJC by qualifying as the winner of the World All- Star Jockeys at Sapporo, Japan. He finished second in the first IJC race earning six points; however, they were the only points he secured in his first IJC event.
Kawada claimed the JRA leading jockey title for the first time in 2022 with three Group 1 successes. 2023 is proving to be a stellar year for the fan favourite, he has won five G1 races this season so far, including the Japanese Triple Tiara with Liberty Island and the Dubai World Cup on Ushba Tesoro. 'King' Kawada is participating in the IJC as the current reigning JRA Champion Jockey.
"Of course, I will do my best to represent Japan in the IJC. At the same time, as always, it is important for me to complete the event without any accidents or injuries."
Each competitors' mounts are decided by a random draw by the IJC which took place last Monday. Unfortunately, Kawada will be riding relatively low-rated horses in the fields on Wednesday.
"Happy Valley is a highly challenging course, and the barrier draw is crucial. In essence, there is a strong bias for inside stalls on such a tight track. I do realise, it will be a tough event for me as I've been drawn very wide."
Kawada will also ride in three of the LONGINES Hong Kong International Races G1 races on Sunday (10 December) at Sha Tin: Prognosis in the Cup, Serifos in the Mile, and Jasper Krone in the Sprint.
"Personally, I believe it is ideal for a Japanese jockey to ride familiar Japanese horses when competing abroad in international races. It is fantastic for me to have the opportunity to ride three Japanese horses in the Hong Kong International Races. I consider it my honour and responsibility to achieve the best possible results and represent Japan to the best of my ability in overseas Group 1 races."