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Victoire Pisa (6) wins the Dubai World Cup from Transcend Meydan 26.03.2011

Relive all the World Cup night highlights from Meydan

Japanese 1-2 as Victoire Pisa lifts World Cup

Report: UAE, Saturday

Meydan: Dubai World Cup (Group 1) 1m2f, AW, 4yo+

THE world's richest race resulted in a triumph for Japan when Victoire Pisa (Katsuhiko Sumii/Mirco Demuro) beat Transcend to record an amazing one-two for the beleaguered nation in the Dubai World Cup.

Royal Ascot winner Monterosso took third ahead of Cape Blanco ina bunch finish to the $10 million contest, where hot favourite Twice Over proved a major disappointment, finishing only ninth for Henry Cecil.

Victoire Pisa's victory provided a major fillip to the Japanese racing community, still struggling to come to terms with this month's earthquake tragedy.

"This day is for Japan," said Manami Ichikawa, daughter of winning owner Yoshimi Ishikawa.

"It's a dream - it's the number one thing and it's unbelievable. We appreciate all the support we've received for everyone in Japan."

Katsuhiko Sumii

Winning trainer: Katsuhiko Sumii

  PICTURE: Masakazu Takahashi  

Trainer Katsuhiko Sumii added: "To win the richest race in the world when Japan is going through a tough time is fantastic. I felt the whole country was backing me."

For the second year running, the World Cup was run at a muddling gallop, set by Japan Cup Dirt winner Transcend, which meant that nothing could get into contention from well off the pace once they turned into the straight.

Victoire Pisa's rider Mirco Demuro, the former Italian champion, deserves enormous credit for being alive to the situation.

Demuro reported that Victoire Pisa, a 12-1 chance with British bookmakers, had banged his head in the stalls which meant he was forced to sit at the rear for the first half-mile.

However, the jockey recognised the potential difficulty of attempting to come from well back in a race destined to end in a sprint and rushed the multiple Grade 1 winner around the outside of the entire field.

This bold manoeuvre proved the race-winning move, and Victoire Pisa was upsides Transcend as they turned for home, and though his compatriot kept on gamely, he was always holding too many guns.

"My horse usually has a good start, but this time he hit his head in the stall and we had a bad start," said Demuro.

"But maybe we were lucky because there was a slow pace on the backstretch, so I could find a good position close to the leader.

"It was a really tight finish. We always believe in him. He's won his last race very easy giving two kilos away. He's a very nice horse - we were hoping to do well,but to win is amazing."

He scored by half a length from his 40-1 compatriot, with Monterosso, also 40-1, a neck behind him and a neck in front of Ballydoyle contender Cape Blanco, beaten about a length altogether.

The Irish Derby winner, carrying the pink-and-green colours of new principal owner Fitri Hay for the first time, was always prominent just off the pace under Jamie Spencer,

Aidan O'Brien after the Juddmonte - York 17.08.10

Delighted: trainer Aidan O'Brien

  PICTURE: Edward Whitaker  

"He ran a stormer and I'm delighted," said Aidan O'Brien. "Hopefully he'll stay with us and run in the big races this season."

Spencer added: "I was on the right side of a slow pace. I could have done with holding up a little bit longer but hereally stuck his neck out at the finish. He really tried. Bear in mind, it was his first run of the year and there will be more to come from him for sure.

On the other hand, the likes of US star Gio Ponti, Twice Over and Buena Vista could not land a blow after racing well off the sedate gallop.

Gio Ponti closed doggedly to take fifth. "It's very unfair they're going extremely, extremely slow and I feel my horse was taken out of his game," said jockey Ramon Dominguez.

"Turning for home his kick, of course, isn't going to be as effective. Everybody was kind of sprinting home."

Gitano Hernando took sixth under Johnny Murtagh, but Japanese horse of the year Buena Vista sat last until making ground rounding the home turn, after which she was switched outside horses, by which time her goose was well and truly cooked.

She was never nearer than her finishing position of eighth. "The race played out terribly," said Ryan Moore.

Also seemingly undone by circumstance was Twice Over, who did  not fare much better than in the 2010 running, also dominated by horses racing close to the pace. Then he was tenth; this time, as 2-1 favourite, he did one better - a tepid ninth.

"It was a messy race and he never got into it at any stage," reported jockey Tom Queally.

Henry Cecil - Newmarket 16.10.10

Disappointed: trainer Henry Cecil

  PICTURE: Edward Whitaker  

Henry Cecil also pointed to the lack of pace as Twice Over's undoing. "They went very slowly and he couldn't get anywhere," he said. "It's disappointing, but that's the way it goes.

"They slowed it up and shuffled him out at the back and he wants to come off a nice strong pace. He was very well today and I don't like making excuses, but the race went all wrong."

Victoire Pisa is a four-year-old son of dual Japanese Classic winner Neo Universe, who took the Japanese Guineas and Derby in 2003.

Having won last year's Satsuki Sho (2,000 Guineas), he was third in the Tokyo Yushun (Derby) before coming seventh behind Workforce on a trip to Europe for the Arc.

He subsequently touched off World Cup rival Buena Vista in Japan's end-of-season championship, the Arima Kinen at Nakayama in December.

 
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