Kawada relishing riding against “hero” Dettori

Thursday 02 February 2023

Thursday 2nd February 2023 – Newly-crowned JRA Champion Jockey Yuga Kawada is the latest rider to be confirmed for the International Jockeys Challenge at King Abdulaziz Racecourse in Riyadh on 24 February, the opening day of The Saudi Cup meeting.

Kawada, 37, who sealed his first Japanese championship in 2022 having finished second to Christophe Lemaire in 2019, 2020 and 2021, will compete against the likes of Frankie Dettori, Joao Moreira and last year’s winner Caitlin Jones.

Kawada said: "It is a rare opportunity to meet with my friends from all over the world and I am very much looking forward to riding together with them. I understand this could be the final opportunity to ride against Frankie Dettori and Joao Moreira, who are two jockeys that I respect greatly.

“My hero is Frankie Dettori. There was TV program called “World Horse Racing” which my father loved. He used to always record it and we would watch it together. I remember Frankie and Lammtarra in 1995 – that gave me lasting impression. Since then, Frankie has been my hero.

"This will be first my visit to Saudi Arabia. In fact, I was invited to IJC in Saudi Arabia last year, however, as I would have had to spend a quarantine period on return to Japan last year, due to COVID-19, I decided not to travel to Saudi unfortunately. I would like to thank the Jockey Club of Saudi Arabia for inviting me again, and look forward to riding in Riyadh for the first time on February 24th.”

Multiple champion Murzabayev also added

Three-time German Champion Jockey Bauyrzhan Murzabayev, who is currently enjoying a spell riding in Japan, has also been confirmed for the IJC.

Like Kawada, the 30-year-old Kazakhstani jockey will be making his first venture to Saudi Arabia for the four-race event.

Each of the four IJC races carry a prize fund for $400,000, with a further $100,000 reward for winning the challenge itself.

The 14 jockeys are made up of seven international female riders, seven male riders; five international and two local. The jockeys will receive 15% of the prize money won in each of the four races.

Confirmed riders:


Caitlan Jones (AUS)
Chantal Sutherland (USA)
Delphine Santiago (FR)
Victoria Alonso (ESP)


João Moreira (BRZ)
Bauyrzhan Murzabayev (KAZ/GER)
Frankie Dettori (ITY/GB)
Yuga Kawada (JPN)


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