02/25/2011 1:34PM

Victoire Pisa prepping for Dubai World Cup in Nakayama Kinen


Victoire Pisa, winner of the Arima Kinen, will use Sunday’s $1.5 million Nakayama Kinen to prepare for his March 26 date in the $10 million Dubai World Cup. The 1 1/8-mile, Grade 2 turf contest at Nakayama Racecourse just east of Tokyo has attracted 12 contestants.

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

Victoire Pisa, winner of the 1 1/4-mile Japanese 2000 Guineas last April, is a son of Neo Universe trained by Katsuhiko Sumii. He held on by a desperate nose from Japanese Horse of the Year Buena Vista to win the 1 9/16-mile Arima Kinen last out on Dec. 26. Previously he had been third in the 1 1/2-mile Japan Cup, in which Buena Vista was controversially disqualified in favor of Rose Kingdom. Mirco Demuro, who rode Victoire Pisa in the Arima Kinen, will be at the controls once again.

Defending champ Tosen Crown is 0 for 2 since then and has not run since May 10. Captain Thule, winner of the Japanese 2000 Guineas in 2008, showed signs of life in winning a 1 1/4-mile Grade 3 at Hanshin in September but was only 13th last time out in the Grade 1 Autumn Tenno Sho. Two-time listed race winner Maruka Bolt would have to improve to have a chance, while the lightly raced, Grade 3-placed Mikki Dream has been absent for 11 months.

Buena Vista herself skips the Nakayama Kinen and will go straight to the Dubai World Cup off her Arima Kinen second on Dec. 26.

◗ The 2009 German 2000 Guineas winner, Irian, vastly improved since being gelded last year, is the choice in the $1 million, Group 1 Hong Kong Gold Cup at 1 1/4 miles at Sha Tin on Sunday. Second to Snow Fairy in the 1 1/4-mile Hong Kong Cup, he was most recently third in the Stewards Cup over an inadequate mile. Viva Pataca, winner of this race in 2008 and 2009, is trying to break a four-race losing streak.