Victoire Pisa made racing history when it became the first Japanese-trained winner of the $10 million (Dh36.74 million) Dubai World Cup, as it led home a one-two finish for the disaster-ravaged country.
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Trained by Katsuhiko Sumii and ridden by Mirco Demuro, the four-year-old colt won by half a length from another Japanese raider, Transcend, in a thrilling finish.
Prior to the race the Japanese contingent had said that they hoped a victory in the world's richest race would lift the spirits of their people back home after the earthquake and tsunami hit Japan on March 11.
Sporting black armbands and badges proclaiming "HOPE" the group screamed their hearts out as the Japanese duo crossed the line.
Godolphin's Monterosso, trained by Mahmoud Al Zarouni, ran a huge race to finish third while Ireland's Cape Blanco was fourth.
It was one of those nights that you will remember for a long time, as Meydan Racecourse played host to the 16th Dubai World Cup meeting, an eight-race extravaganza offering a staggering $26 million in prize money. The event has become a highlight of the international racing calendar and a major social occasion in the UAE.
Yesterday was not a public holiday, as it is in Melbourne when the city stages the Melbourne Cup on the first Tuesday in November, but it seemed like almost everybody in the emirate had made their way to the racecourse.
Since Cigar won the inaugural race in 1996 the Dubai World Cup has captured the imagination of all, whether it is horsemen or just the casual visitor.
Earlier, His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, said Meydan is not just a racecourse but an entire city by itself.
Shaikh Mohammad's comments came while he attended the race meeting at the purpose-built Meydan racecourse. "Meydan is not a racecourse, it's a city," he said in reply to a query on the ambience in the futuristic venue, which is hosting its second Dubai World Cup race meeting.
The brainchild of Shaikh Mohammad, the Dubai World Cup is in its 16th year and remains a fitting tribute to his love of horses and of horseracing. Meydan racecourse, with a capacity of 60,000 spectators in a mile-long grandstand, hosted its second World Cup yesterday.
- Race 8. Dubai World Cup (Group 1), sponsored by Emirates Airline
- Purse: $10 million (horoughbreds 3yo+) 2000m (a10F) All-Weather:
- Also ran: Gio Ponti, Gitano Hernando, Musir, Buena Vista, Twice Over, Prince Bishop, Golden Sword, Richard's Kid, Fly Down, Poet's Voice.
- Distance: 0.5lenghts, 0.25, 0.25
- Winning time: 2.05.94s
- Winner owned by Yoshimi Ichikawa.
|Dubai World Cup Sponsored By Emirates Airline|
|1st||Victoire Pisa (JPN)||57||K Sumii||Mirco Demuro|
|2rd||Transcend (JPN)||57||T Yasuda||Shinji Fujita|
|3rd||Monterosso (GB)||57||M Al Zarooni||Mickael Barzalona|
|4th||Cape Blanco (IRE)||57||A O'Brien||Jamie Spencer|
|5th||Gio Ponti (USA)||57||C Clement||Ramon Dominguez|
|6th||Gitano Hernando (GB)||57||M Botti||John Murtagh|
|7th||Musir (AUS)||57||M de Kock||Christophe Soumillon|
|8th||Buena Vista (JPN)||55||H Matsuda||Ryan Moore|
|9th||Twice Over (GB)||57||H Cecil||Tom Queally|
|10th||Prince Bishop (IRE)||57||S bin Suroor||Ahmad Ajtebi|
|11th||Golden Sword (GB)||57||M de Kock||Kevin Shea|
|12th||Richard's Kid (USA)||57||S Seemar||Richard Mullen|
|13th||Fly Down (USA)||57||N Zito||Julien Leparoux|
|14th||Poet's Voice (GB)||57||S bin Suroor||Lanfranco Dettori|
— With inputs from Alaric Gomes, Senior Reporter and Ashley Hammond, Staff Reporter