Equinox cruises home under Christophe Lemaire in the Dubai Sheema Classic (Picture: Chase Liebenberg)
The Dubai World Cup meeting saw the Japanese riding high again and probably the most significant performance was the scintillating victory of Equinox in the Group 1 Dubai Sheema Classic over 1800m.
Japan won the main race, the US$12 million Dubai World Cup, through the Noburu Tagaki-trained six-year-old entire Ushba Tesoro (Orfevre), who produced a strong late run under Yuga Kawada to win by a comfortable 2,75 lengths. Ushba Tesoro had trailed the field 15 lengths off the pace in the early stages before Kawada made his move out wide with 600 metres to race. He caught the locally owned (Hamdan Sultan Ali Alsabousi) Simon and Ed Crisford-trained Algiers, who travelled with conspicuous ease entering the straight and still looked the winner a furlong-and-a-half out.
Winning trainer Takagi said the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, still the one race Japan has yet to conquer and the one it covets most, will come under consideration later in the year, all going well.
However, it was Equinox who had tongues really wagging.
The great Deep Impact’s full brother Black Tide has not had the same influence he himself had, but significantly Equinox is by Black Tide’s best son Kitasan Black.
Deep Impact’s passing in 2018 at the age of 17 was a major blow to Japan’s thoroughbred industry because he was one of the world’s most dominant stallions and was Japan’s champion sire for nine consecutive years from 2012 to 2020.
Kitasan Black won seven Grade 1 races in Japan and was twice their Horse Of The Year.
He is highest earning horse in Japanese history.
Equinox is from Kitasan Black’s first crop and was his first black type winner.
He won two Grade 1s as a three-year-old in Japan.
An interesting asset in Kitasan Black’s pedigree is his third dam Tizly, who is by Lyphard.
Not only was Deep Impact’s dam Wind In Her Hair by Lyphard stallion Alzao, but Tizly is also dam of Cees Tizzy, who was sire of Tiznow, the twice Group 1 Breeders Cup Classic winner and American Hose Of The Year Tiznow.
Interestingly, Equinox is out of Chateau Blanche, who is by King Halo.
While Deep Impact was from the Hail To Reason sire line of the immortal Sunday Silence and his dam is from the sire line of Lyphard, King Halo is from the Lyphard sire line via the brilliant Arc winner Dancing Brave and his dam is from the Hail To Reason sire line via Sunday Silence’s sire Halo.
Equinox this has Deep Impact’s Hail To Reason and Lyphard cross on both his male and female side.
He looks to be an important stud prospect for Japan.
He put in probably the best turf performance this year in the Sheema Classic.
Trained by Tetsuya Kimura and ridden by Christophe Lemaire, he went straight to the front and was able to dictate at a good gallop.
He is a horse of tremendous substance, he oozes class, and it was a sight to see him quickening away from the field at the top of the straight and then powering home to a 3,5 length victory in course record time.
The John and Thady Gosden-trained seven-year-old Dubawi gelding Lord North made history by winning the Group 1 Dubai Turf over 1800m for the third time in succession under Frankie Dettori (he dead-heated in the race last year).
The Grade 1 Dubai Golden Shaheen over 1200m on the dirt went to a USA horse again, the Jeremiah O’Dwyer-trained five-year-old gelding Sibelius (Not This Time), who was ridden by Ryan Moore.
The Group 1 Al Quoz Sprint over 1200m on turf went to the locally-trained Irish-bred six-year-old Invincible Spirit gelding Danyah. He is trained by Musabbeh Al Mheiri, is owned by Shadwell and was ridden by Dane O’Neill.
Japan also won the Group 2 UAE Derby over 1900m on dirt with the Hidetaka Otonashi-trained Derma Sotogake (Mind Your Biscuits), who gave Christophe Lemaire the first leg of a double.
Ryan Moore also rode a double, winning the Group 2 Dubai Gold Cup over 3200m on turf on the Aidan O’Brien-trained Broome (Australia).
The Group 2 Godolphin Mile on dirt was won by the Doug Watson-trained USA-bred five-year-old entire Isolate (Mark Valeski) ridden by Tyler Gaffalione.