Ushba Tesoro took off in a big stretch in the $12 million Dubai World Cup (G1) at Meydan Racecourse on March 25, blown away by his only remaining rival nearing the finish, to cap off another big international night for Japan with a 2 3/4 length victory length.
#14 USHBA TESORO Wins $12M Dubai World Championship (G1) for Japan! 🇯🇵 @icecoldexacta at the top of the week in Dubai giving the 13-1 winner as his top choice. Congratulations on all the connections! 🌍 🏆 🏇 pic.twitter.com/rHwAyhdaeo
— TVG (@TVG) March 25, 2023
The last-to-first winning effort was visually stunning.
Locally trained Algeria he seemed to have the race in the bag, holding a big lead after jumping to the front in the stretch. Then jockey Yuga Kawada began to work vigorously on Ushba Tessoro. The six-year-old, who was dead last on the move, countered with a devastating leg turn to pass them all. Algeria was second and Emblem Road winner of the 2022 Saudi Arabia Cup (G1), finished third.
last year’s winner, Country Grammer finished seventh.
“He jumped pretty well,” Kawada said of Ushba Tesor, through an interpreter. “I was able to concentrate on keeping the horse’s rhythm.
“It was his first time abroad, his first time on a different surface (from Japan). He traveled pretty well. It was just a matter of how much he could take in the race.
Today was my first time on the horse, but it was a huge honor to ride him and there was a lot of pressure as the leading Japanese jockey went into the race.”
Ushba Tesor and jockey Yuga Kawada enjoy a moment after winning the Dubai World Cup
Winning coach Noboru Takagi said winning the World Cup was “by far the greatest honor of my career”.
Takagi has not given any indication of plans for Utsuba Tesoro. The only remaining dirt race in Japan is the Champions Cup on December 3rd at Chkyo Racecourse.
“We will go back to Japan because it is a bit vulnerable in the hot weather and the heat,” the coach said. “We’ll see how he does over the summer and come up with a plan for him.”
Ushba Tesoro, runner-up at the 2013 Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe. Orfevre from King Kamehameha they care Millefeuillesfinished 2,000 meters (about 1 1/4 miles) on a fast track in 2:03.25.
He went to the post as a soft scorer in the international market despite scoring four straight wins at home in Japan, including the Tokyo Daishoten (G1) at Oi Racecourse.
Ushba Tesoro spent most of his early career on grass, with mildly respectable results. He flourished when trainer Noboru Takagi switched him to the dirt courts last April, where he now has five wins from six starts.
With dirt racing still an afterthought in Japan, the international stage was a logical place for the horse, bred at Chioda Shizunani’s farm. It wears the green and yellow colors of Ryotokuji Kenji Holdings Co Ltd.
“That’s how he ran in Saudi Arabia and I never went today,” said Dettori, riding in his last World Cup before retirement. “I pushed him, but he felt lethargic. When they’re that big, sometimes they take longer to recover than you think.”
For Algerian connections, the defeat came as a rude awakening. Bred by Godolphin but raced for Hamdan Sultan Ali Alsabousi, a 6-year-old Shamardal The gelding was an easy winner in his two local prep races during the Dubai World Cup Carnival season. With James Doyle he got behind the early pace and took the lead but had no answer to the surge of Ushba Tessoro.
“He got a good jump and when I turned around I thought we had him in the bag,” Algeria co-coach Ed Crisford said. “But in the last furlong he was just treading water a little bit. He probably just ran out of race pace.”
The Japanese connections sent 27 horses to compete in the World Cup program, eight of which entered the World Cup itself. Despite lifting the Cup, their overall performance in that race was not overwhelming.
The main disappointment was Panthalassa , winner of the $20 million Saudi Cup (G1) in his previous start. In that race, he was away to a clear lead and held it throughout, only holding off Country Grammer at the end. He drew the outside gate in Dubai, was forced to fight for the lead and had nothing left in the series, finishing 10th.
Other Japanese racers: TO Keynes was fourth, winner of the 2022 UAE Derby Crown Pride was the fifth and Geoglyph, Pharoah Cafeand blue candle they were 11th, 12th and 13th behind the judge.