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Japan will be well represented in this year's Dubai World Cup (G1), as the famous mare Buena Vista will be joined by Victoire Pisa.
One of the few who has managed to beat Buena Vista, this colt is coming off a smooth win at home, where he registered his seventh success in the Nakayama Kinen (G2). He is already pretty good, this son of Neo Universe, and he may well be on the upgrade still.
He is also a pretty experienced traveller, having raced twice in top company in France last year, where he managed fourth to Behkabad in the Prix Niel (G2) before finishing seventh in the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe (G1). Such trips can take a lot out of a racehorse but Victoire Pisa showed no ill-effects when returning to Japan. In fact, he produced what was probably his best performance to date with a fine third in the Japan Cup (G1) at Tokyo racecourse in November, beaten only by Buena Vista and Rose Kingdom (who was awarded the race after a stewards' enquiry). Victoire Pisa was ridden prominently over the 2400 metres and he took the lead 200 metres from the winning post. Battling on really well, he had to see Buena Vista go past quite effortlessly, but he lost second by just a head to Rose Kingdom. Buena Vista passed the post 1 ¾ lengths ahead and she certainly seemed to be the best thoroughbred in Japan.
That did not deter Victiore Pisa's connection from having a crack at the last championship event of the season in Japan, the Arima Kinen (G1) at Nakayama in December. Buena Vista was once more in opposition and, given her excellent run in the Japan Cup, she was a strong favourite. The step up in distance, to 2500 metres, was expected to favour the filly. After all, Victoire Pisa is a colt who had landed the Japanese 2,000 Guineas (G1) over 2000 metres in the spring, and perhaps he did not quite stay the trip in the Japan Cup? Sound reasoning but, whether the distance or the timing were crucial factors or not, Victoire Pisa hit back in the Arima Kinen. After a tremendous battle he beat Buena Vista, but only just, as the photo finish revealed that he was a nose in front of her where it mattered the most. Buena Vista may not have been at her absolute best on this day but take nothing away from Victiore Pisa. He won the race in the style of an improving horse.
That was also how he opened his 2011 campaign, once more entering the winners' circle following a progressive performance. He returned to racing action in the Nakayama Kinen (G2) on February 27. This outing represented a drop in class, though it also meant a drop in distance. The Nakayama Kinen is contested over 1800 metres (9 furlongs) and is thus quite different to the Arima Kinen. Victoire Pisa's class and versatility shone through – he won again, this time quite comfortably, beating the six-year-old Captain Thule by 2 ½ lengths. Captain Thule is a previous winner of the Japanese 2,000 Guineas (G1). Despite tackling a shorter distance, Victiore Pisa's rider Mirco Demuro held him up at the back of the field early on, explaining after the event that the colt “was a bit excited”. Demuro conluded that “he is a very good horse, and a good one to take to Dubai”. That may turn out to be a bit of an understatement. In an open looking edition, Victoire Pisa does not have to improve that much to have a winning chance. And improve is all he's been doing over the past few months.
He is a son of Neo Universe, a highly successful Japanese stallion, out of the British mare Whitewater Affair, who was strong on stamina in her racing days. She won the Prix de Pomone (G2), a fillies and mares event over 2700 metres at Deauville when trained by Sir Michael Stoute in England, and was also successful against males in the John Porter Stakes (G2) at Newbury. She comes from a very good family. So does Neo Universe, who is a son of champion Sunday Silence and comes from the same family as 2002 Dubai World Cup winner Street Cry. Neo Universe won the Japanese Derby (G1) and he finished fourth in the Japan Cup (G1) back in 2003 – incidentally also partnered by the Italian born jockey Mirco Demuro. Tha Shadai Farm based stallion enjoyed an excellent season in 2009, when two of his sons tasted classic success; Unrivaled capturing the Japanese 2,000 Guineas (G1) and Logi Universe the Japanse Derby (G1).
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Last update: 2011-03-03 07:30:25 (First published: 2011-02-28 07:35:54 )
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