Change of Japan Cup ride for Williams

The power of Japan's leading owner Katsumi Yoshida should never be under-estimated.

Craig Williams certainly respects it, as he showed on Monday when all it took was a call from Yoshida's racing management for the champion Melbourne jockey to dump classy UK stayer Red Cadeaux as his mount in the Japan Cup in Tokyo on Sunday week.

Craig Williams, picture

Yoshida wanted Williams on his Japan Cup runner Rulership as a replacement for the injured Ioritz Mendizabel, and when one of the world's wealthiest owners wants something he normally gets it.

Just hours after Williams had made a trip to Werribee to ride Red Cadeaux in a track gallop he was on the phone to English trainer Ed Dunlop seeking a release from his Japan Cup engagement for that horse to ride Rulership .

Dunlop accepted the situation as he is aware Williams has built a relationship with Yoshida on his previous extended riding stints in Japan and granted him the release, albeit with a warning to watch out for Red
Cadeaux when they meet in Tokyo.

Red Cadeaux, famously beaten a lip by Dunaden in last year's Melbourne Cup, was a luckless eighth in the race last Tuesday when ridden by Michael Rodd.

However his form falls short of the standard set this year by Rulership, who is one of the best G1 performers in Japan.

He displayed his prodigious talent on the international stage when an easy winner of the G1 QE II Cup in Hong Kong in April and gave Williams a taste of his ability when the Australian jockey rode him into second place behind Japan's Horse of the Year Orfevre in the G1 Takaruzuka Kinen at Hanshin in Japan in June.

At his latest start Rulership showed he may well be the horse to beat in the $5 million Japan Cup (2400m) when he finished powerfully for third in last month's G1 Tenno Sho (2011m) in Tokyo.

Williams clearly has huge respect for Yoshida and there is no telling what may eventuate for the jockey if he can win the Japan Cup for the famous owner and breeder.

“I’m very lucky that Katsumi Yoshida asked me to ride the horse,” Williams said.

“It’s a great opportunity. His run in the Tenno Sho was huge."

Williams has taken up riding stints in Japan during the Australian summer for the last two years and is likely to accept another contract this season.