sport

Buick wary of Japanese challenge

John Gosden decided Saturday's Dubai Duty Free offered The Fugue her best chance of glory but William Buick knows it will be no easy ride.

Instead of the Dubai World Cup itself, Andrew Lloyd-Webber's decorated five-year-old drops back to a mile and a furlong as she tackles crack Japanese raider Just A Way.

"The boss, John Gosden, and his team have produced her ready for battle and when I cantered her on Thursday morning she was giving out all the right signs," said Buick.

"As you'd expect for such a valuable prize, the race that's been selected for her, the Dubai Duty Free, is extremely hard to call but we've got a lot going for us.

"I know some might question the ground but she handled some give underfoot well enough when she won the Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown last season and by Saturday it should have dried out a fair bit.

"The nine-furlong trip is only a furlong short of the distance over which she won the Irish Champion and she's proven she can sit on a good pace over that trip and then quicken off it."

Looking at his opposition, Buick told his At The Races blog: "We've got a handy draw in four which should let me have options in a top-class field.

"I have massive respect for the Japanese runner, Just A Way, who is one off the fence and is a battle-hardened runner who comes into this with a good winning performance under his belt at Nakayama at the start of this month. He looks the one we've all got to beat."

Just A Way thrashed the subsequent Japan Cup winner Gentildonna last October and jockey Yuichi Fukunaga said: "His condition is very good and has handled everything including the long journey. I hope he will be able to show his race against the other top-class horses in the field."

Dank collected an Eclipse Award after her exploits in America, when she took both the Beverly D and the Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf.

Trainer Sir Michael Stoute said with a note of caution: "Dank travelled here well but she's probably not at her peak, because it's early in the season for her, but it's a very important race and I'm expecting a good solid performance from her."

Frankie Dettori rides Zabeel Mile scorer Mshawish for Mikel Delzangles, who said: "He won well here and has really acclimatised. He is in good form and if he reproduces that last run we would be very happy."

Trade Storm, fourth last year, has been competitive at the Carnival so far and trainer David Simcock said: "He got a little blinded last time following a horse that came across him.

"He did nothing wrong on his two Dubai World Cup Carnival starts and just needs a bit of luck on Saturday. Hopefully the better horses he meets will go a good pace and take him into the race. That would suit him."