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Victoire Pisa

Victoire Pisa: poignant World Cup victory came two weeks after tsunami

  PICTURE:Masakazu Takahashi  

Dubai World Cup winner Victoire Pisa retired

Japan: Dubai World Cup winner Victoire Pisa, the first Japanese horse to win the world's richest race, will not defend his title and has been retired to Shadai Farm.

A winner of eight of his 15 starts, the four-year-old gained lasting fame when leading home compatriot Transcend for an emotional one-two in the world's richest race at Meydan in March - only two weeks after the East Japan earthquake and tsunami that so devastated the country.

Trainer Katsuhiko Sumii had already masterminded anambitious three-year-old campaign in 2010 for the son of Neo Universe, who won the Satsuki Sho (2,000 Guineas) before finishing third in the Tokyo Yushun (Derby).

After finishing seventh in Workforce's Arc, he went back home to come third in the Japan Cup before holding off subsequent horse of the year Buena Vista in the Arima Kinen, Japan's end-of-season championship.

However, his finest hour came in March when he provoked tears of joy and sadness in the winner's enclosure at Meydan after a brilliant tactical ride from jockey Mirco Demuro.

A subsequent pair of leg injuries interrupted the remainder of his season and a second trip to France proved fruitless when he picked up a knock on arrival.

He was not the same horse in the Japan Cup and Arima Kinen and is now being lined up as a successor to his sire Neo Universe.

"I feel I should apologise to him because I couldn't get him back to his best but at least I am happy that I can send him to the stud without any further accidents," said Sumii.

"He was the leader of my stable after Vodka's retirement and I wish him all the best in his future as a stallion - he is a world-class Grade 1 title holder."

A retirement ceremony will be held for Victoire Pisa on January 15.

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