Dubai World Cup 2022: Shahryar makes it a night to remember for Japan

Godolphin’s Yibir, saddled by Charlie Appleby and the mount of William Buick, concedes to Japanese supremacy


James Jose

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Published: Sat 26 Mar 2022, 10:31 PM

The land of the rising sun radiated brightly on a scintillating Dubai night. They may not have won the $12 (44.08) million centrepiece but Japan stamped their authority in the 26th renewal of the Dubai World Cup, racking up wins in five of the nine races on the card at Meydan on Saturday.

After clinching back-to-back races — the Godolphin Mile and the Dubai Gold Cup — Japanese connections had more reasons to rejoice and showed that they are a force to reckon with while landing the UAE Derby and the Dubai Turf. And they capped it off by triumphing in the Dubai Sheema Classic after Shahryar ran home a winner in the 12-furlong affair.

Godolphin’s Yibir, saddled by Charlie Appleby and the mount of William Buick, was one of the top favourites, but Shahryar, trained by Hideaki Fujiwara and ridden by Cristian Demuro, edged him by a neck in the turf contest.

Yibir was sandwiched by Japanese runners with the Tetsuya Kimura-trained Authority, coming in third, half length behind.

“This horse was a winner of the Tokyo Yushun, the Japanese Derby, and that is as good a race as we have in Japan. I was confident that he wasn't going to lose,” said trainer Fujiwara.

“It's very normal for him to get on his toes before he races so I wasn't too concerned, and I had full faith in Cristian to handle the horse and take care of him during the race.

“It would be a dream for me to take this horse to the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe. It is the race we want to win, and it would mean so much to be able to take him there. That is our ambition and our aim. “It has been a great night for Japan and a great night for our stable with a first and a third. I am so proud of our horses,” he added.

It was a fourth victory for Japan in this race with Stay Gold winning it for the first time in 2001. Heart’s Cry, ridden by Christophe Lemaire, then went on to land victory in 2006, followed by Gentildona, the mount of Ryan Moore, in 2014.

Jockey Demuro said: “Before the race I knew I wanted to be behind Authority as I knew he would lead. We were able to get a nice position just behind him on the rail and when I pulled my horse out in the straight, I knew he was going to win.


“For a moment he was a little lost in front, but we felt Yibir coming, and I always believed we were going to get there. It is amazing to win a race like this. Amazing also to win on a Japanese horse. They are showing they are the best in the world.”

Pyledriver, who was one of the favourites for the contest, went on to finish fourth.

“He’s run a great race, travelled powerfully but probably didn’t get all the luck in running, but I can’t complain,” said trainer William Muir.

“I’m delighted for the horse and the owners and I’m looking forward to the season ahead back home,” he added.

Jockey Frankie Dettori, who would go on to clinch the biggest prize on the night, said about Pyledriver: “It was a super run, and he didn’t get the splits at the crucial moments, but I’m very happy with him.”

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