Dubai: Vivlos awarded Japan a second successive $6 million Dubai Turf (Group 1) trophy after mowing down favourite Zarak in another huge upset as the mighty Europeans were left licking their wounds.
Joao Moreira delivered a masterclass aboard the son of Deep Impact, rallying his horse from the back of the 13-horse field to prise out a half-length victory over French challenger Heshem, the mount of Gregory Benoit.
Godolphin’s Ribchester, who is trained by Richard Fahey in North Yorkshire, briefly led before he was swallowed up close to the post.
Vivlos won her first Grade 1 title when taking the Shuka-sho, the final leg of the Japanese fillies’ triple crown earlier this year.
Moreira demonstrated why he is regarded as the best rider in Hong Kong when he rode eight winners on a single card earlier this year, with a picture-perfect ride aboard the progressive filly.
This was Japan’s back-to-back wins in the Turf, arguably one of the most competitive races on the Dubai World Cup card, following the Ryan Moore ridden Real Steel twelve months ago.
Favourite Zarak, an impressive winner of the Dubai Millennium Stakes (Group 2) last month at Meydan, was fourth as the much-fancied Mutakayyef, a dual winner in the UK last season for trainer William Haggas and Decorated Knight, who landed the Jebel Hatta (Group 1) on his earlier start, finished out of the money.
“To just be part of this is exciting is an experience in itself, but to ride a winner is special,” said Moreira.
“I have to thank my agent who got me this ride. The horse had good form, she showed today she is capable against any horse in the world.”
Defending Zarak’s performance, Christophe Soumillon said: “He was a little bit hemmed him as he was making his run and was unable to show the turn of foot that I know he possesses.”
Angus Gold, racing manager for Mutakayyef’s owner Shaikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai and Minister of Finance said: “On that ground a lot of the fizz was taken out of our horse, he got a good jump and was in a good position but he’s much better on a quicker surface.”
Opal Tiara, representing Mick Channon, the former England football star turned racehorse trainer, was unable to replicate the winning performance she displayed in the Balanchine earlier in the season, and trailed in last.
“The ground was too soft for her. She travelled well in the early stages but was beaten a long way out,” said her rider Oisin Murphy.