Dubai: The advent of a synthetic surface at the new Meydan Racecourse would pave the way for a major victory for Asia in the 16th running of the $10 million Dubai World Cup.
The Tapeta track, which was created by former jumps trainer Michael Dickinson to afford a level-playing field for both turf and dirt horses, lived up to its boast with the winner having being campaigned on turf and runner-up coming from a dirt background.
If the winner Victoire Pisa and the horse he beat, Transcend, brought the house down at Meydan as their Japanese connections shed tears of joy for their earthquake-ravaged country, it vindicated Dickinson’s claims that the synthetic track that he patented was the best thing to happen in a bid to uniform racing surfaces while keeping horse safety as a priority.
“Knowing there are horses and people affected by the tsunami or lost their lives, I knew there may be something I could do to give back with a win or by performing well in this race,” an emotional Sumii said after the race. “That is something I strongly feel.
“This victory won’t change people’s lives, but I do hope that in some way I will give back to the horse riding and horseracing community in Japan.”
Trained in Japan by Katsuhiko Sumii,Victoire Pisa, came to Dubai with a solid reputation having been crowned the champion three-year-old colt in Japan in 2010 after wins in the Satsuki Sho (2,000 Guineas) and the prestigious Arima Kinen (Nakayama Grand Prix).
Both these wins came on turf tracks. However, his connections were encouraged by the reputation of Meydan’s Tapeta surface and took the brave decision to run their stable star on a synthetic surface for the very first time. Their bravery was rewarded when Victoire Pisa ran a huge race in the hands of top Italian jockey Mirco Demuro, who at the time was regarded the world’s No.2 jockey behind England’s Ryan Moore.
Not many racing pundits gave ‘Victoire’ much of a chance of beating horses like Twice Over the 2-10 Eclipse Stakes (G1) and Champion Stakes (G1) winner in Britain.
However, the Japanese superstar proved his detractors wrong and demonstrated that his 20/1 odds were a bad idea as he romped home a ½ length winner over Transcend, who was a 10/1 shot.
Godolphin horses continued their consistent and competitive performances in the Dubai World Cup with Monterosso running a big race for French ace Mickael Barzalona to finish a close third.
The 2/1 favourite Twice Over could only finish ninth of the 14 runners.