By Ghulam Haider
Japanese jockey Yuga Kawada, riding Ushba Tesoro, claimed a resounding victory in the 27th Dubai World Cup with a $12 million winning prize at Meydan, stealing the limelight from retiring jockey Frankie Dettori. With a flawless and no-nonsense ride, Kawada rode Ushba Tesoro to cross the finish line two and three-quarter lengths ahead of Algiers, who led the race approaching the final moments. Emblem Road finished third, with T O Keynes coming in fourth. The victory continued Japan’s domination of the big race meeting at Meydan.
“I’m very proud of my horse and myself for winning the greatest race in the world,” Kawada said.
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.”
Bendoog looked comfortable under Christophe Soumillon with Saudi Cup winner Panthalassa, who had been drawn wide, in company early on in the 10-furlong (2,000-meter) showpiece.
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 1 1/2 furlongs left.
But the 6-year-old Ushba Tesoro, who had won five of his six starts since being switched to the dirt, ran down Doyle’s mount to win going away by 2 3/4 lengths. It was Japan’s second success in the race, following Victoire Pisa in 2011. “I thought he would be in with a chance at the 100-meter mark,” winning trainer Noboru Takagi said.
DETTORI HAT TRICK
Lord North and Frankie Dettori completed a hat trick in the Dubai Turf race when holding off the late challenge of Danon Beluga in another pulsating renewal of the Grade One contest.
The John and Thady Gosden-trained 7-year-old had dead-heated with Panthalassa in this nine-furlong contest last year, having first won it in 2021.
“It’s my farewell season and to win this on a horse that has done three years in a row is fantastic,” Dettori said.
Trainer Noboru Takagi expressed his gratitude and said that the victory was the greatest honor of his career. The second-place finisher Algiers was ridden by James Doyle, who missed out on a dream first Dubai World Cup victory. Despite the disappointment, Doyle was delighted with Algiers’ performance, saying that the horse traveled around like a superstar.
Dettori, who had ridden Lord North to victory in the Dubai Turf earlier that day, failed to reproduce the magic that saw him win the great race 12 months ago. Starting from the outside gate, the favorite had a slow start and was unable to get into the race properly.
Meanwhile, Equinox justified his status as the best turf horse in the world, smashing the Meydan mile-and-a-half track record in landing the $6m Longines Dubai Sheema Classic. Christophe Lemaire’s mount did it the hard way, his white face leading all the way and stretching to a scintillating three-and-a-half-length victory for the Tetsuya Kimura-trained colt, a son of Japanese sire Kitasan Black.
Lemaire’s charge cruised on the front end, tracked by the John and Thady Gosden-trained Mostahdaf under Jim Crowley. Lemaire always had any move covered, though, and he kicked clear with two furlongs to run and, eased down, lowered the track record by over a second.
The Dubai World Cup has seen many great winners in the past, including Cigar, Dubai Millennium, Silver Charm, Arrogate, and Thunder Snow. However, Ushba Tesoro’s victory stands out as a remarkable achievement.