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JRA G1 double highlights Lemon Pop’s champion credentials


Lemon Pop continued his sensational year as he completed a notable G1 double in Japan with a gate-to-wire victory in the Champions Cup at Chukyo on Sunday.

Successful in the February Stakes earlier in the year, Lemon Pop becomes the fourth horse to win both G1 dirt races on the JRA in the same season following Wing Arrow, Transcend and Gold Dream.

Having also won the local G1 Mile Championship Nambu Hai by a distance, the five-year-old looks a leading contender for the Best Dirt Horse award at the 2023 JRA Awards, which are announced next month.

Lemon Pop boasts a career record of 10 victories and three seconds from 14 starts, with his only disappointing run coming in this year’s Dubai Golden Shaheen. A return to Meydan for next year’s Dubai World Cup Night could be on the cards, with the G1 Saudi Cup also on his radar.

Silver Knott acquitted himself well in the United States on Saturday with a battling third in Del Mar’s G1 Hollywood Derby. The three-year-old has built up a solid body of form during his extended stay in North America this season with G2 placings at Belmont Park, Colonial Downs and Santa Anita.

Hong Kong hosts its flagship international meeting at Sha Tin this Sunday and Tribalist will be aiming for a breakthrough G1 success in the Hong Kong Mile. Exciting two-year-old Catfight, who took a Nakayama Stakes race by five lengths in September, is set to run in the G1 Hanshin Juvenile Fillies in Japan on the same day.