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Tuesday, October 3, 2023

Ushba Tesoro wins 2023 Dubai World Cup for Japan

Ushba Tesoro takes top prize at $12m Dubai World Cup at Meydan Racecourse in UAE

Ushba Tesoro produced a remarkable run, coming from the back of the field under Yuga Kawada, to take the Dubai World Cup for Japan.

When they turned for home, James Doyle aboard the Simon and Ed Crisford-trained Algiers looked the likely winner and went a length clear with a furlong and a half to run.

But the imposing Ushba Tesoro (9-1), who had won five of his six starts since being switched to the dirt, ignored the kick-back as he circled the field and with a blistering turn of foot and ran down Doyle’s mount to win by two and three quarter lengths.

After recording Japan’s second success in the race, following Victoire Pisa in 2011, winning trainer Noboru Takagi said: “I thought he would be in with a chance at the 100-metre mark. Yuga is one of the best riders in Japan, so it was a no-brainer to go with him today. It is an amazing feeling to have won a race like this. We will talk to the owners and decide on his future going forward.”

Last year’s winner Country Grammer never looked like giving Frankie Dettori another famous victory in his last season, on what was the final Dubai ride of his career. “I think it was just a bridge too far,” said Dettori. “He had a hard race in Saudi and left it there. When I pulled him out there wasn’t the usual spark, but what a horse he’s been to me. At least I got one on the night and can go and have a nice cold beer now.”

Dettori and Lord North had earlier completed a Dubai Turf hat-trick when holding off the late challenge of Danon Beluga in another pulsating renewal of the Grade One contest. The Gosden horse reunited with his regular partner and the Italian was always in the ideal stalking position.

For Dettori, it was a moment to savour. “It’s my farewell season and to win this on a horse that has done three years in a row is fantastic,” he said. “He can get sick easily and he’s a seven-year-old gelding, but I was that confident I lost my whip 300 [yards] out! I’m super chuffed.”

Japan, which was represented by 27 horses in the nine-race card, secured three wins.

Apart from Ushba Tesoro, Equinox, the Japanese Horse of the Year, won the $6 million Dubai Sheema Classic with a blinding run, and Derma Sotogake secured the UAE Derby.

The complexion of the showpiece race changed completely as the field turned into the home stretch.

Algiers, trained by Simon Crisford, was in the lead and looked good for another Dubai World Cup win for the trainer, who tasted plenty of success with Godolphin as their racing manager.

Last year’s 2022 Dubai World Cup winner, Country Grammer, finished seventh.

Winning trainer Noboru Takagi said the World Cup win was “by far the greatest honor of my career.”

Takagi gave no indication of plans for Ushba Tesoro. The only remaining Grade 1 dirt race in Japan is the Champions Cup Dec. 3 at Chukyo Racecourse.

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