Tag Archive for: Ushba Tesoro

Monday Musings: Old Stagers

Another big international meeting, the fourth of its stature since October, Dubai World Cup night following the Saudi Cup last month, the Breeders’ Cup in early November and the Arc meeting in late summer has been and gone; naturally, with a sideways acknowledgement to Champions Day back home in Ascot soon after the Arc, writes Tony Stafford.

Three conclusions occurred to me after Saturday’s latest extravaganza at Meydan. First, that the world’s biggest races nowadays seem ever more susceptible to older horses. Second, the Japanese can win the world’s most valuable and coveted international events more readily nowadays than anyone else, be they on dirt or turf.

And then thirdly, a question. What has happened to all those multiple-coloured caps of strongly fancied members of the home team that used to mop up at their leisure each last Saturday in March as we looked on, marvelling, from back home?

From the moment Coolmore- and Japanese-shared seven-year-old entire Broome swooped late under Ryan Moore to deny Siskany in the two-mile Dubai Gold Cup, the second race on Saturday’s card, Charlie Appleby and William Buick were reduced to an unaccustomed minor role, which was even more surprising given the astonishing success they had all over Europe in the previous 12 months at the highest level.

True, they did go close once more, when Nation’s Pride looked a possible winner before finishing a creditable, close third behind Frankie Dettori and last year’s runner-up Lord North in the Dubai Turf. This was one race with multiple representation for the boys in blue, with Appleby’s second string in 9th and Saeed bin Suroor’s one runner in 13th place behind the Gosdens’ globe-trotting gelding who is also seven.

A feature of World Cup night since its inception in 1996 has been the ability to attract top horses from around the world. With almost half the races confined to dirt, the poor record of European horses in those races was to be expected, whereas the Americans licked their lips and, from the outset, filled their boots. For the record, Michael Stoute with Singspiel in the second-ever running 26 years ago, remains the only UK-trained winner of the Dubai World Cup itself.

Such was, and still is, the draw of massive money that Cigar, undisputed world champion at six years of age when he turned up, led credence to the event and, over the years, some of the greatest US stars were tempted with Curlin, Animal Kingdom and in 2017 Arrogate, all, plucking the prize.

In all, 11 American horses have won the race, an equal figure with the home team, whose first nine wins (eight for Godolphin, one for Sheikh Hamdan) were all supplied by Saeed bin Suroor. The disgraced Mahmood al Zarooni (replaced by Appleby to such brilliant effect over the past decade) and Kiaran McLoughlin, by Doug Watson, an American who has been based in Dubai for 30 years, had one each.

There was much celebrating when Doug’s 6yo gelding Danyah, a 33/1 shot trained for Shadwell Farm, won the Al Quoz Sprint on Turf. Another winter Dubai hardy annual in the Hamdan colours, Dane O’Neill took the riding plaudits.

The last US winner of the World Cup was Country Grammar, as a 5yo last year, when he was a fourth success in the race for Bob Baffert. Since that big money win, Country Grammer was emphatically put in his place by the one horse of the last couple of years whose presence would have been greatly welcomed, but Flightline is already going through his paternal duties at stud in the US.

Flightline beat Country Grammer on his final unbeaten career start in last year’s Pacific Classic at Del Mar by 19.5 lengths, never mind that otherwise the Baffert horse hadn’t been out of the first two for a couple of years.

Second in the Saudi Cup last year before stepping up to win the big one at Meydan, he followed a similar route this time around. He again ran a good second in Riyadh but on Saturday, carrying Frankie Dettori’s hopes of a fifth win in the race as a 52-year-old in his final year as an international rider, he bombed and finished only seventh.

The winner in what developed into an interesting contest, if one lacking glamour and a serious home challenge, was the Japanese Ushba Tesoro. This 6yo entire from Japan was the country’s second winner of the race, by a widening margin from the Crisfords’ (father and son) year-younger Algiers. The previous Japanese-trained winner, in 2011, was Victoire Pisa.

Algiers is a rarity for a horse trained in the UK, being a dirt specialist, and he warmed up for Saturday with two wide-margin victories on the surface. James Doyle had the ride and for once wasn’t upstaged by his friend and colleague Buick, as this race carried £2 million for the runner- up – the winner got £5.8 million!

Ryan Moore was another UK jockey earning his corn, and there is no question that over the past year the former champion has got his best form back. He timed the challenge on Broome around the outside to a nicety on turf and then switched to an equally masterful display on Sibelius, trained by Florida-based Jeremiah O’Dwyer. Jerry has added two syllables and a new career thousands of miles away, since being banned from riding for 18 months in the UK 12 years ago.

Jerry was a likeable Irish journeyman, based in Newmarket, but his involvement with Sabre Light, late in 2008, cost him his riding career. A horse that was switched from Alan Bailey to Jeff Pearce earlier that year became Jerry’s regular mount, and one on which he won several times initially.

The case, I seem to recall, involved a couple of runs a little later and revolved around the horse not winning when certain individuals thought he should (or was it the other way round? – it was the other way around – Ed.) and then needing to put it right next time, whichever way round that was.

It took ages for the authorities to bring the case. Apart from Pearce, who also lost his trainer’s licence – wife Lydia and later son Simon taking over – another former handler, who had won a Classic some years before but by then had handed in his licence, was also rumoured at the time to have known what had been (or not) happening.

Now all these years later, there’s Jerry, proving that everyone deserves a second chance and the fact he trains Sibelius for Japanese connections suggests he might well progress further in his new career.

If there was an equine star on the Meydan card, it had to be Equinox, winner of the Golden Shaheen over 1m4f on the turf. Even money to win for the fourth time in only six starts (plus two close 2nds), he now has £8million in earnings after dominating this from start to finish.

This was another nice payday for Ryan, aboard Westover, the £1 million runner-up, albeit closer at three-odd lengths than the ability gulf between the horses truly represents. Still, it was a good run for trainer Ralph Beckett’s 2022 Irish Derby winner and nice for Ryan not to have a rear view of him this time.

One unsung hero in the World Cup, formerly owned and bred by Alan Spence and the Hargreaves’ and a regular winner for Clive Cox, was 8yo Salute The Soldier. He was only eighth in the big race but won a Group 1 (his second over there) the previous time and has earned more than £1m for Bahrein-based Fawzi Nass.

Alan Spence had something closer to home to celebrate on Friday when his veteran hurdler On The Blind Side won for the Nicky Henderson stable at 50/1. “Were you on, Alan?” I asked. “Not a penny”, he replied, “but am I Happy? Delighted!”

Just so, Anthony Honeyball, whose debutant Crest Of Glory, a 4yo gelding, won the £60k to the winner Goffs UK Spring Sale Bumper. He strode 15 lengths clear of 18 opponents which included a stable companion by the same sire, owned by a Geegeez syndicate. “He had an awful run!” said the Editor. “We’ll bring him back next season all being well, when we have high hopes of him.”

Oh, the name? It’s Dartmoor Pirate. By the same sire, Black Sam Bellamy as the winner, he was seventh despite the difficult run and is rated pretty useful - which the winner must also be!

- TS

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Ushba Tesoro rules the world for Japan

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

The early pace in the 10-furlong showpiece, worth $12million, was strong and it set up for closers.

Bendoog looked comfortable under Christophe Soumillon with Saudi Cup winner Panthalassa, who had been drawn wide, in company early on.

Yet 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, ran down Doyle’s mount to win going away 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.

“After his last race the Dubai World Cup was always in our sights.”

Kawada, having his first ride aboard the six-year-old son of Orfevre, said: “I am so very happy.

“It is an honour to be here. He won and I am so happy. I am so proud of him.

“He’d trained very well and it was a matter of how he adapted.

“I’m very proud of my horse and myself for winning the greatest race in the world.”

An owner representative for Ryotokuji Kenji Holdings said: “This was a complete team effort and the victory is for the effort of every individual in this team.

“This was the first win abroad for our syndicate and now we’ve opened our doors to the global stage we will look again.

The owners expressed an interest in going for the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe if we won this today.”

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.”

Of Algiers, Ed Crisford said: “He ran with great credit. James gave him a beautiful ride. He jumped well and turning in I thought we had it in the bag, but the last furlong he was just treading water a bit.

“Probably he just got outstayed with the tempo of the race, but huge credit to the horse and my team at home and we should be proud. He ran his race there if not better.”

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