sport

Japanese star has Irish option

Japanese sensation Just A Way has been given an entry in the QIPCO Irish Champions Stakes.

The race is the showpiece of the inaugural Irish Champions Weekend at the Curragh and Leopardstown on September 13 and 14, and if either he or compatriot Denim And Ruby took part, they would be the first ever runner in Ireland to represent the Asian nation.

Just A Way is currently the top-rated racehorse in the world after his demolition job in the Dubai Duty Free, while Denim And Ruby was beaten a whisker by Gentildonna in the Japan Cup.

In total, 22 individual Group One winners feature among the 61 entries, which include Cirrus Des Aigles, African Story, Magician, Al Kazeem, Ruler Of The World, The Fugue, Sky Lantern, Chicquita, Australia and Toast Of New York.

Pat Keogh, Leopardstown's CEO said: "We are absolutely delighted with the initial entry for the QIPCO Irish Champion Stakes, featuring the Japanese-trained highest-rated horse in the world Just A Way.

"The increased prize-money for the race of €1 million, made possible by QIPCO's generous sponsorship and HRI's financial support for the meeting, has enabled us to attract an international entry of outstanding quality, which has exceeded even our loftiest ambitions.

"We hope that this will encourage many international visitors and domestic racegoers to book early for what will truly be a memorable day's racing at Leopardstown, on Saturday, September 13, as part of Irish Champions Weekend."