02/28/2011 12:49PM

Victoire Pisa nails Nakayama Kinen


Victoire Pisa’s Dubai World Cup audition went according to plan on Sunday, as he romped to a 2 1/2-length victory in the Grade 2, $1.5 million Nakayama Kinen at Nakayama Racecourse.

Settled toward the rear of the 12-runner field by his Italian rider, Mirco Demuro, the 2-5 Victoire Pisa unleashed his attack at the quarter pole just before entering the stretch and galloped clear of the pacesetting runner-up, Captain Thule, who held on for second by a nose from Reach the Crown. The winning time for the 1 1/8 miles on a firm turf course was a very good 1:46.00, or 1.1 seconds off the track record.

DUBAI RACING CARNIVAL: Past performances, race analysis, and results

“I was not sure how much I should have trained him considering the long flight to Dubai,” said trainer Katsuhiko Sumii. “Now I am relieved. I wanted him to have experience of a faster pace at first. I hope he can rest enough during the quarantine.” Victoire Pisa will depart for Dubai on March 9.

In making his first start since defeating Japanese Horse of the Year Buena Vista by a nose in Nakayama’s 1 9/16-mile Arima Kinen on Dec. 26, Victoire Pisa, a 4-year-old son of Neo Universe, provided evidence that he may well have improved since his 3-year-old campaign, during which he won the 1 1/4-mile Japanese 2000 Guineas, finished seventh in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, and third in the Japan Cup. In the Dubai World Cup on March 26 he will face, among others, countrymates Buena Vista and Transcend, the winner of the Japan Cup Dirt and the recent one-mile February Stakes who has accepted an invitation to the World Cup and will run in that race instead of the Grade 2 Godolphin Mile. The Dubai World Cup will be the first start on a synthetic surface for Victoire Pisa, Buena Vista, and Transcend. Japan will also be represented on World Cup Night by Rulership in the 1 1/2-mile Dubai Sheema Classic.