Ushba Tesoro Completes Japanese Desert Double in Dubai World Cup

Ushba Tesoro | Dubai Racing Club


DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES — The pyrotechnics display following the conclusion of Saturday's Dubai World Cup program nearly matched those on the racetrack about 30 minutes earlier when Ushba Tesoro (Jpn) (Orfevre {Jpn}) raced past a weakening Algiers (Ire) (Shamardal) in the final furlong to give Japan a first victory in a dirt renewal of the G1 Dubai World Cup Sponsored by Emirates Airline.

Not only was it the third victory on the night for the nation who took home five trophies 12 months ago, but it also gave Japan a sweep of the world's two richest races, following on Panthalassa (Jpn) (Lord Kanaloa {Jpn})'s stunning all-the-way success in the G1 Saudi Cup in Riyadh four weeks ago. Emblem Road (Quality Road)), upset winner of the Saudi Cup in 2022 and sixth this time around, flashed home for third ahead of the winner's compatriots T O Keynes (Jpn) (Sinister Minister) and Crown Pride (Jpn) (Reach the Crown {Jpn}), last year's G2 UAE Derby winner, in fourth and fifth, respectively. Defending champion Country Grammer (Tonalist) never landed a serious blow from his high draw and finished midfield.

“Everything went as planned,” said winning trainer Noboru Takagi. “Actually, when he first got here he was actually quite nervous and a bit toey ,but that was expected and as the days went by, he gradually got used to his environment and ran a great race. This is by far the greatest honour of my career.”

In No R-'Ush'

Whereas Panthalassa did not fare well at Wednesday's barrier draw, Ushba Tesoro landed a far softer barrier in gate eight, but he was clearly last to leave the stalls and Yuga Kawada–who has developed a reputation as a big-race rider with international wins over the last couple of seasons at meetings like the Breeders' Cup and the Longines Hong Kong International Races–was content to trail as they raced under the wire with a circuit to travel.

With Panthalassa expected to burn whatever fuel was necessary to come across the field and be a forward factor, the World Cup pace was a nickel on the dollar to be well above par, and so it proved. Under a hustling ride from Yutaka Yoshida, the Saudi Cup winner was indeed up to force the early issue, but the rail-drawn Remorse (Ire) (Dubawi {Ire}) was ridden in a surprisingly positive manner by Tadhg O'Shea and consigned his Japanese rival to a two-wide run rounding the first turn. The imposing Bendoog (Gun Runner) took back a bit and raced in the company of G1 Al Maktoum Challenge R3 winner Salute the Soldier (Ger) (Sepoy {Aus}), while Algiers allowed the speed to clear and was able to slot neatly into about the three path after departing stall 13.

Drone camera footage captured 14 of the 15 runners as they turned down the back straight, and it wasn't until the six-furlong pole that the shadow of Ushba Tesoro began to creep into view, still unhurried, as Remorse continued to materially impact the race shape underneath Panthalassa, who began to toss out distress signals with just under 800 metres to race. Bendoog, very much a questionable stayer at the mile and a quarter, was the first to come after his stablemate Remorse, but Algiers had traveled sweetly through the race under letter-perfect handling from James Doyle and came to win the race three deep three furlongs from home as a cheer went up from those longing for a home-based World Cup winner.

Algiers took command a quarter mile from home and appeared well on his way to a famous victory, but Kawada had steered Ushba Tesoro out and around a scuffling Saudi Cup third Cafe Pharoah (American Pharoah) and into the clear at the 500 metres and was steaming home down the centre. After looking an inevitable winner not 15 seconds earlier, Algiers was soon running on empty, and Ushba Tesoro carried his momentum all the way to the wire for a win that was reasonably easy in the end.

“It was his first time running overseas and there were queries on whether he'd travel as well as the fact it was his first time on the surface,” said Kawada, lovingly referred to at home as the 'King'. “He was training quite well over here this week and I knew the horse was in good condition, so it was just a matter of the horse keeping his head in the race and he did that very well today.

“There were eight Japanese horses in the field and aside from myself the only other Japanese jockey on a Japanese horse was Yutaka Yoshida on Panthalassa. I was on the horse for the first time today, but it was a tremendous honour to ride him and there was a lot of pressure as the leading Japanese jockey heading into the race.

“Thanks to the effort of the horse, he fought on very well and I'm very proud of myself as the leading Japanese jockey by winning the leading race in the world today.”

Takagi indicated that Ushba Tesoro could be considered for the G1 Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe, but with a record of five-from-six on the dirt, it would be no surprise to see connections stay the current course.

Goodbye Turf, Hello Dirt

Ushba Tesoro made the first 22 starts of his career on the turf–no surprise there–but had only spotty success, with just three victories and five minor placings. He belied odds of 14-1 in winning a 2100-metre allowance in his dirt debut at Tokyo last April, and since returning from about five months on the shelf last September, had won his last four, including the G1 Tokyo Daishoten at Ohi Dec. 29 and a defeat of T O Keynes in the Listed Kawasaki Kinen over 10 1/2 testing furlongs Feb. 1. His success mirrors that of Jun Light Bolt (Jpn) (King Kamehameha {Jpn}), who struggled on turf before winning last year's G1 Champions Cup. Jun Light Bolt was among Saturday's eight Japanese runners, but finished tailed off.

Not To Be For Country G

Frankie Dettori managed to salute aboard the remarkable three-peater Lord North (Ire) (Dubawi {Ire}) in the G1 Dubai Turf, but there was no fairytale ending to his Meydan career, as defending World Cup champion Country Grammer was a listless seventh.

“He ran so big in Saudi Arabia and I was never going today,” the Italian said. “I pushed him but he felt lethargic. When they run so big, sometimes they take longer to recover than you think.”

Pedigree Notes:

On an afternoon where Equinox (Jpn) (Kitasan Black {Jpn}) stamped himself as one of the most worthy candidates for the race nearly every horse owner in Japan wants to win–the Arc–it seems only fitting that the winner of the world's second-richest horse race would be by the horse that broke the hearts of nearly every Japanese racing fan by snatching defeat from the jaws of victory on the Bois de Boulogne in 2012.

That Orfevre would go on to be a useful stallion is hardly surprising. What is more confounding is the fact that of his 25 black-type winners from six crops of racing age, nearly a third of them have earned their black-type victories on the dirt. Until Saturday, the 2021 GI Longines Breeders' Cup Distaff won by the Yoshito Yahagi-trained Marche Lorraine (Jpn) was the sire's most important dirt success, while Orfevre is also responsible for Group 3-winning sprinter Justin (Jpn), down the field in Saturday's G1 Dubai Golden Shaheen, and the recently retired Group 3-winning and Group 1-placed racemare Gilded Mirror (Jpn). He is also the sire of four winners at the listed stakes level. Ushba Tesoro is one of three Orfevre stakes winners out of mares by the late King Kamehameha (Jpn).

Ushba Tesoro's second dam Sixieme Sens was ridden by Freddy Head to victory in the 1995 Listed Prix Bagatelle for trainer David Smaga and Mme Marc de Chambure and went on to continue her career in the US under the tutelage of the late Bobby Frankel for whom she won the GIII Athenia S. in New York and the GII Dahlia H. in 1996 and the GII San Gorgonio H. the following season. Dr Masatake Iida purchased Sixieme Sens for $750,000 when offered in foal to Gone West at the 1997 Keeneland November Sale and exported her to Japan. Her second foal for Iida's Chiyoda Farm Shizunai became the stakes-winning Bold Brian (Jpn) (Brian's Time), while Millefeui Attach, a three-time winner of better than $450,000, was Sixieme Sens's eighth produce and one of her nine winners from 12 to the races.

Ushba Tesoro races for the Ryotokuji Kenji Holdings Co., which has also campaigned the likes of US-bred listed winner Aurora Tesoro (Malibu Moon) and the multiple stakes winner and Group 1-placed Rieno Tesoro (Speightstown) to name but a few. Ushba Tesoro cost the operation ¥25 million ($219,250) as a foal when consigned by Chiyoda Farm to the 2017 JRHA Select Sales.

Millefeui Attach is also the dam of a 2-year-old colt by Asia Express (Henny Hughes) and a yearling filly from the first crop of 2019 G1 Takamatsunomiya Kinen hero Mr Melody (Scat Daddy). The mare was most recently bred to Matera Sky (Speightstown), a Group 3-winning dirt sprinter at home and second in the 2019 G1 Dubai Golden Shaheen.

Saturday, Meydan, Dubai
DUBAI WORLD CUP SPONSORED BY EMIRATES AIRLINE-G1, $12,000,000, Meydan, 3-25, NH 4yo/up & SH 3yo/up, 10f, 2:03.25, ft.
1–USHBA TESORO (JPN), 126, h, 6, by Orfevre (Jpn)
                1st Dam: Millefeui Attach (Jpn),
                                  by King Kamehameha (Jpn)
                2nd Dam: Sixieme Sens, by Septieme Ciel
                3rd Dam: Samalex (GB), by Ela-Mana-Mou (Ire)
(¥25,000,000 Wlg '17 JRHJUL). O-Ryotokuji Kenji Holdings Co
Ltd; B-Chiyoda Farm Shizunai (Jpn); T-Noboru Takagi; J-Yuga
Kawada. $6,960,000. Lifetime Record: G1SW-Jpn, 29-9-1-5,
$9,286,384. Werk Nick Rating: A+++. *Triple Plus*. Click for
   the eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree. Click for the free catalogue-style pedigree.
2–Algiers (Ire), 126, g, 6, Shamardal–Antara (Ger), by Platini
(Ger). 1ST GROUP 1 BLACK TYPE. O-Hamdan Sultan Ali
Alsabousi; B-Godolphin (Ire); T-Simon & Ed Crisford.
3–Emblem Road, 126, h, 5, Quality Road–Venturini, by
Bernardini. ($230,000 Ylg '19 KEESEP; $80,000 2yo '20
OBSJUN). O-HRH Prince Saud bin Salman; B-Brushy Hill, LLC
(Ky); T-Ahmad Abdulwahid. $1,200,000.
Margins: 2 3/4, SHD, 3/4.
Also Ran: T O Keynes (Jpn), Crown Pride (Jpn), Bendoog, Country Grammar, Salute The Soldier (Ger), Remorse (Ire), Panthalassa (Jpn), Geoglyph (Jpn), Cafe Pharoah, Vela Azul (Jpn), Super Corinto (Arg), Jun Light Bolt (Jpn). VIDEO.


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