Dubai World Cup 2023: Japanese Challenger Ushba Tesoro Wins Blockbuster $12 Million At Meydan

Many expected the retiring Frankie Dettori to be the highlight of the evening, but Japanese champion jockey Yuga Kawada stole the show by riding Ushba Tesoro to victory in the 27th running of the $12 million Dubai World Cup (G1).

It was a performance that the legendary Italian himself would surely have been very proud of as it continued Japan’s domination of the big race meeting at Meydan.

James Doyle must have had fleeting thoughts of finally winning the Dubai championship as Algeria led heading into the final, but as soon as he switched gears on the wide outside of the 15-person field, it was clear that Ushba Tesoro would deprive him of that honour.

Ushba Tesoro and Kawada reined in Algiers to cross the finish line two and three-quarters lengths clear, with 2021 Saudi Cup victor Emblem Road a short head back in third as the Meydan crowd went wild and roared to their hearts’ content.

T O Keynes ensured that it will be a memorable World Cup for the horse-loving Japanese fans when running on for the fourth position.

Country Grammer and Dettori would finish in seventh place after failing to reproduce the magic that saw him win the great race 12 months ago.

Ushba Tesoro was only the second Japanese-trained horse to win the Dubai World Cup following Victoire Pisa in 2011 and the 37-year-old Kawada said he was proud to have delivered on the biggest stage.

“He jumped quite well but the majority of the other Japanese runners ran toward the middle of the pack,” said Kawada who sealed his first Japanese title in 2022 having finished second to Christophe Lemaire from 2019 to 2021.

“I just tried to focus on maintaining the horse’s rhythm and just to keep his rhythm from the middle of the pack.

“It was his first time running overseas and there were queries on whether he’d travel well because it was his first time on the surface.

“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,” added Kawada.

“It’s a great feeling. Everything went as planned,” said trainer Noboru Takagi.

“Actually when he first got here he was actually quite nervous, 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.”

Despite narrowly missing out on winning a dream first Dubai World Cup bid-race Godolphin pilot Doyle was his charismatic self and said: “Delighted with the way he (Algiers) has run. It was a first opportunity to run at this top level and he has acquitted himself magnificently.

“He travelled around like a superstar and it has been a lot from the top bend to the winning line, but his stamina just kind of drained at the end.”

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