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KYOTO — On a scorching hot day, and in front of a crowd of 78,000 at Kyoto racecourse, jockey Yasunari Iwata drove home Admire Jupiter in the dying moments of the race to deny Meisho Samson back to back victories in the spring Tenno-sho (Emperor’s Cup). With owner Riichi Kondo entering four horses in the race, he was always going to have the best chance of lifting the ¥132 million winner’s prize.

A field of 14 lined up for one of Japan’s most valuable and historic races, and despite there being no runners from overseas, there were still enough pieces to the jigsaw to satisfy most racing fans. Some of the country’s most seasoned stayers came together again for a crack at the 137th Tenno-sho, run on ground that was good and riding fast.

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