Victoire Pisa turned the form book upside down to lead home a 1-2 for Japan in the $10 million Emirates Airline Dubai World Cup at Meydan on Saturday night.
Hazy weather had threatened to disrupt the proceedings resulting in the lights coming on much earlier in the evening but it was the Japanese duo who literally kicked up a storm in the 16th running of the world’s richest horse race.
The rank outsider, trained by Katsuhiko Sumii, was given a fantastic ride by Mirco Demuro and held on by a narrow margin from the front-running Transcend.
Demuro was overcome with emotion following his victory. “It’s unbelievable. It’s just unbelievable to win the Dubai World Cup for Japan,” he said.
Owner Yoshimi Ichikawa said: “It is a great souvenir to take back to Japan. I was very worried during the race as I didn’t know what would happen.
“I really appreciate the support we have had from all the people in Japan.”
Third home was Monterosso for Mahmoud Al Zarooni and Mickael Barzalona.
“He was a bit unlucky as he didn’t get the gaps, but he is a nice horse and it was a good run,” said Al Zarouni.
Aidan O’Brien’s Cape Blanco finished fourth after threating to derail the front-running Japanese duo.
Gio Ponti was fifth having loomed up menacingly in the home straight, with Gitano Hernando and Musir next home.
Favourite Twice Over could never get into a good position from his wide draw and failed to pick up in the run for the line.
Rewilding won the $5 million Dubai Sheema Classic sponsored by China Guangsha to continue a fantastic evening for the royal blue stables of Godolphin who won a treble after trainer Saeed bin Suroor saddled Skysurfers and Khawlah to victory in the Godolphin Mile and UAE Derby.
Frankie Dettori, riding his second winner of the evening after spurring Skysurfers earlier, played a waiting game for most of the race but he made a move around the outside of the field turning for home before setting a blistering home run to win the 12-furlong race in a track record time of 2:29.01.
Redwood was second for Barry Hills and jockey son Michael, whilst Calvados Blues, a stablemate of the winner, ran on well for third having been badly hampered on the home turn.
The race was a triumph for trainer Mahmoud Al Zarooni who saddled the first and third home, Afterwards a delighted Frankie Dettori said “It was just a fantastic feeling. He hit a flat spot at the top of the stretch, but once we worked through the gears he ran on well”.
Al Zarooni said: “He’s a very big horse and the race will have taken a lot out of him, you have to treat him very carefully - like a filly.
“He’s not a horse who can run every two or three weeks, and His Highness (Sheikh Mohammed) decided he should run fresh in the Sheema Classic and not run at the Carnival beforehand.”
Laaheb kept to his guns well to take fourth for rookie trainer Roger Varian, who has recently taken over from Michael Jarvis.
Presvis came with a storming run under Ryan Moore to win the $5 million Dubai Duty Free Stakes.
Trained by Luca Cumani, Moore steered the seven-year-old through the pack from off the pace to challenge River Jetez for the lead in the final furlong.
The favourite had to work hard but ultimately he came clear of Mike de Kock’s gallant mare who filled second spot.
Wigmore Hall, like the winner a British-trained challenger, stayed on for a never-nearer third, just ahead of Robert Collet’s Royal Bench.
An emotional Cumani said: “It was a great ride - Ryan always rides him like that, but he was really fantastic.
“He’s a seven-year-old and I owe this horse so much.”
Mike de Kock said of River Jetez: “She is an incredible filly, she is seven but you would think she was three in the way she acts.
“She is so tough and we might take her to Hong Kong as well.”
The hard luck story of the race was the Jamie Spencer-ridden Wigmore Hall, who met traffic problems before flying to take third.
His trainer Michael Bell said: “He got absolutely murdered at the top of the straight, he was terribly unlucky but that’s racing.
“He’s only four and we are going to have a serious amount of fun with this horse.”
Race 6: $5 million Dubai Duty Free Stakes sponsored by Dubai Duty Free – Thoroughbred 1800m (a9F) Group 1 (Turf)
1 Presvis (Great Britain) Ryan Moore Luca Cumani
2 River Jetez (SAF) Bernard Fayd’Herbe Mike De Kock
3 Wigmore Hall (Ireland) Jamie Spencer Michael Bell
4 Royal Bench (Ireland) Olivier Peslier Robert Collet
Time: 1:50.21 Distance: 0.75 lengths
Race 7: $5 million Dubai Sheema Classic sponsored by China Guangsha – Thoroughbreds 2410m (a12F) Group 1 (Turf)
1 Rewilding (Great Britain) Lanfranco Dettori Mahmoud Al Zarooni
2 Redwood (Great Britain) Michael Hills Barry Hills
3 Calvados Blues (France) Ahmed Ajtebi Mahmoud Al Zarooni
4 Laaheb Richard Hills Roger Varian
Time: 2:29.01 (track record) Distance: 3.25 lengths
Race 8: $10 million Dubai World Cup sponsored by Emirates Airline – Thoroughbreds 2000m (a10F) Group 1
1 Victoire Pisa (Japan) Mirco Demuro Katsujiko Sumii
2 Transcend (Japan) Shinji Fujita Takayuki Yasuda
3 Monterosso Mickael Barzalona Mahmoud Al Zarooni
4 Cape Blanco (Ireland) Jamie Spencer Aidan O’Brien
Time: 2:05.94 Distance: Half length