x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 29 July 2017

Japanese hopes riding on Rulership in Sheema Classic

Katsuhiko Sumii may have his sights set on the Dubai World Cup with Victoire Pisa, but to discount the trainer's chances in the Sheema Classic tonight would be remiss.

DUBAI // Katsuhiko Sumii may have his sights set on the Dubai World Cup with Victoire Pisa, but to discount the trainer's chances in the Sheema Classic tonight would be remiss.

He saddles Rulership in the middle-distance turf feature and has been in a confident mood since he touched down in the UAE from Japan.

Rulership shares the same owners (Sunday Racing) as Buena Vista, the filly entered in the Dubai World Cup, and has been working with his more illustrious stable mate this week.

Sumii is hoping some of that star power rubs off on the four-year-old who was re-routed to tonight's US$5 million (Dh18.4m) contest after he won the Nikkei Shinshun Hai in Kyoto in January. That day he left Rose Kingdom trailing in his wake, a colt which previously had split Buena Vista and Victoire Pisa in the Group 1 Japan Cup.

"Sunday Racing own Rose Kingdom as well," Sumii said. "We were hoping to send her to Dubai, but after she lost to Rulership we decided to send him alongside Victoire Pisa. He has trained well this week and I am confident."

Japan have four wins from 48 runners on Dubai World Cup night, and although Sumii, 46, has saddled six, he has yet to win.

Vodka, who raced in Dubai four times, was the latest to try under his banner and it seems that Team Sumii are counting on experience to try to eke out a better result. Vodka's stable lad has been assigned to Rulership so his knowledge of how to train at Meydan can be fully utilised.

Also in the Sheema Classic field is Dangerous Midge, trained by Brian Meehan, who guided David Junior to victory in the Dubai Duty Free in 2006. Dangerous Midge is a lightly raced five-year-old who took the Breeders' Cup turf in November.

sports@thenational.ae