26 March 2022

Shahryar denies Yibir in Sheema Classic

26 March 2022

Shahryar added to Japan’s dominance on World Cup night at Meydan as he secured victory in the Dubai Sheema Classic.

Trainer Yoshito Yahagi had earlier won the Godolphin Mile with Bathrat Leon, the Dubai Gold Cup with Stay Foolish and saddled Panthalassa to dead heat with Lord North in the Dubai Turf.

And after Koichi Shintani’s Crown Pride’s triumph in the UAE Derby, the Hideaki Fujiwara-trained Shahryar proved too strong for a big European contingent in the penultimate race of the evening.

After tracking his pace-setting compatriot Authority into the home straight, Shahryar picked up well to grab the lead under Cristian Demuro and had just enough in reserve to hold on from Yibir.

Making his first appearance since winning the Breeders’ Cup Turf in November, Charlie Appleby’s charge flew home from last place in the hands of William Buick, but the line came a few strides too soon.

Demuro said: “The first time I went to Japan I was six years old, now I go every winter because I think the Japanese are the best in the world.

“It’s just amazing to win the Sheema Classic. I studied the race and knew Authority would go to the front. My hose was a bit lost in front and I could hear the other horse coming, but we held on.”

I think we’ll stick to our plan and head for the Man O' War

Winning trainer Fujiwara said: “We are proud of our Japanese Derby and Sheema winner.

“We will look at the Breeders’ Cup, Japan Cup and the Arc among other races. It will be great to compete overseas.”

Appleby said of Yibir: “He’s learning, so hopefully in time we can ride a bit more of a race on him.

“You saw the class of the horse in the way he finished. It was like a replay of the Breeders’ Cup where we needed an extra stride. I think we’ll stick to our plan and head for the Man O’ War (at Belmont).”

Supporters of Pyledriver may also be cursing their luck, with William Muir and Chris Grassick’s stable star failing to get a run at a crucial stage and he was ultimately not beaten far into fourth place.

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