Kawada to take on Istanbul Jockeys Challenge
JRA jockey Yuga Kawada has been invited to participate in the annual International Jockeys Challenge at Veliefendi Racecourse in Istanbul on July 11. Kawada will be joining the challenge as one of 10 jockeys, including five from Turkey and five top-level riders from other countries. Names of the final participants have yet to be released.
The challenge, in its fourth year, will consist of four races, two over turf and two on the Polytrack artificial surface. Two of the races, ranging in distance from 1,400 meters to 1,900 meters, will be for 3-year-olds, the other two for horses 4 and above. The weights for all runners will be 58 kg. The races comprising the challenge all carry top prizes of 28,000 Turkish Lira (12,135 euros), 11,200 TL (4,852 euros)for second place, 5,600 TL (2,426 euros)for third and 2,800 TL (1,213 euros)for fourth place. Jockeys will compete as individuals, but also as teams, with five jockeys chosen for each of two teams -- the home team of Turkish-based riders and the other team, which includes Kawada, made up of the jockeys from outside Turkey.
Kawada, a 26-year-old native of Saga Prefecture is a Ritto-based freelance rider. Hailing from a long line of jockeys and trainers, he acquired his riding license in 2004 and has, riding exclusively on the flat, steadily increased his number of wins for the year, from a mere 16 the first year to 109 last year. Last year saw him finish the year in the No. 3 spot for all JRA jockeys, behind leader Yuichi Fukunaga with 133 wins and runnerup Yasunari Iwata with 131. This year, Kawada has already notched 54 wins and is in the No. 6 spot, with Yuichi Fukunaga out in front again as the leading jockey for wins, with 69 firsts thus far. Kawada won his first Grade 1 race in 2008 when he captured the Satsuki Sho(Japanese 2000 Guineas) aboard Captain Thule. In 2010 he won the Kikuka Sho (JapaneseSt. Leger)with Big Week and this year took the Yushun Himba (JapaneseOaks) aboard Gentildonna. He also picked up the G3 Antares Stakes this past April partnered with Gold Blitz.
Points in the Jockeys Challenge will be allocated according to finishing order in the races, with 15 points for first place, 10 for second place, seven points for third, five for fourth, and three points for fifth place. No points will be awarded for finishing positions past fifth place. If a horse is scratched in any race, the jockey set to ride will receive two points.
Prizes for the top three jockeys will be 4,000 euros for the winner, 2,000 euros for the runnerup and 1,000 euros for the jockey who finishes third overall. There will also be a 4,000 euro award for the winning team, with each member receiving 800 euros. All participants also receive a special appearance fee of 4,000 euros as well as 10 percent of the prize money for each placing in the races.
Last year, the local team emerged victors, with the Turkish team scoring its first victory since the challenge was inaugurated. Turkey dominated the event with 115 points over the European-based team of riders' 69 points. That team included Eddie Pedroza, Johnny Murtagh, Colm O'Donoghue and Olivier Peslier. The individual title also went to a Turkish rider, the young Akin Sozen, who finished a mere two points ahead of countryman Ahmet Celik.
The Jockeys Challenge is hosted by the Jockey Club of Turkey, which organizes racing and breeding in Turkey with eight racecourses and seven stud farms. The Turkish racing calendar consists of 550 race days and enjoys a total annual turnover of some 1 billion euros.
Veliefendi Racecourse (Veliefendi Hipodromu in Turkish) is located in Istanbul’s Zeytinburnu district in the European side of the city on the shore of the Marmara Sea. It is the oldest and biggest racecourse in Turkey and was constructed in 1912. Races are run to the right over the turf track 2,020 meters in length and a 1,870-meter Polytrack course. There is also a sand training course 1,720 meters long.
Istanbul will also be hosting the 34th Asian Racing Conference this year July 16-20.
* Please visit the following websites for more information.
Jockey Club of Turkey
34th Asian Racing Conference ISTANBUL 2012:http://www.arcistanbul2012.com/
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