Dubai World Cup day races - Buena Vista to run in the Dubai Sheema Classic
Trackwork at Meydan Racecourse
Buena Vista, yet another standout in the recent flurry of outstanding fillies in Japan, dominated the 3-year-old scene in 2009 in Japan along with Red Desire. Her hair-raising win of the Yushun Himba (Japanese Oaks), in which she came from far behind to catch and pass Red Desire by a nose had hearts in the mouths of many to be sure.
Disappointed when plans to race Buena Vista in the Prix de I’Arc de Triomphe fell through, fans are surely watching her overseas debut in Dubai with heightened anticipation. The No. 10 spot in the Dubai Sheema Classic, a Group 1 over turf at 12 furlongs (2,410 meters), suits her racing style well.
The Dubai Sheema Classic, along with the Dubai Duty Free, are the only two Group 1 races on the March 27 Dubai World Cup race card that are run over turf. The US$5-million Dubai Sheema Classic was begun in 1998 and promoted to Group 1 status in 2002.
Hopes are high that Buena Vista can become the third Japan-based runner to take home the Dubai Sheema Classic winner’s share. Stay Gold became the first Japanese-based horse to win in United Arab Emirates when he beat Fantastic Light in 2001 at the age of 7. Heart's Cry became the second winner from Japan, when Christophe Lemaire rode him to victory in the 2006 version. (Utopia wins the 2006 Godolphine Mile. Admire Moon wins the 2007 Dubai Duty Free.)
Buena Vista, a gutsy 4-year-old daughter of Special Week out of the Caerleon mare Biwa Heidi, has attracted considerable attention with her flashy, come-from-behind wins not only at home but abroad as well. She has never failed to make the money in all of her 11 starts to date and has gone to the gate as race favorite every time. She is expected to go off as fourth choice in wagering overseas for the Dubai Sheema Classic, with Godolphin’s Cavalryman, England’s Spanish Moon and fellow English runner Youmzain heavily favored for the top three slots.
Dettori is paired with Cavalryman, who finished third in last year's Prix de I’Arc de Triomphe at Longchamp while he was still trained by Andre Fabre. He debuted for his new owner earlier this month in the Al Maktoum Challenge III and finished seventh. The race was won by Japan's Red Desire.
Mick Channon brings Youmzain to the Dubai Sheema Classic for the fourth time and will be looking to turn the tables on their previous third, fifth and fourth-place performances over the last three run. Kieren Fallon is up and expressing confidence the 7-year-old still has what it takes to bring home the money. With 6 wins in 27 starts, 7 seconds and 7 third-place finishes in his career, Youmzain has earned close to $6 million. His next win would be his first since the Group 1 Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud in France in June 2008.
Spanish Moon, trained by Sir Michael Stoute, placed second last year in the Dubai Sheema Classic, narrowly missing out on the win to Eastern Anthem, who is also back this year. Spanish Moon's last time out was the Hong Kong Vase, which he lost in a photo finish to the French filly Daryakana.
In somewhat of a surprise move, French rider Olivier Peslier has won the ride on Buena Vista. Her first nine races saw her paired with Katsumi Ando, who was given the bump after losing three races in a row. Norihiro Yokoyama got the next two rides, including her last outing, a winning run in the Grade 2 Kyoto Kinen Feb. 20 over 2,200 meters at Kyoto Racecourse.
Buena Vista on Wednesday warmed up with a lap at the gallop over the all-weather, then took on 6 furlongs, picking up the pace in the backstretch, and responding well for a sharp 11.7-second furlong finish. Her total time over the 6 furlongs was 75.3 seconds, with the final 600 meters run in 35.6 seconds.
Trainer Hiroyoshi Matsuda said the hard work was good for her, especially since she had been off her feed a bit during quarantine at Ritto due to construction work noise in the area.
Buena Vista's workout on Wednesday has also grabbed the attention of the foreign press. An article in the local press the same day referred to Buena Vista as a "he." Whether it was a simple mistake or her work had been impressive enough to cause some reporters to mix their genders remains undetermined.
Buena Vista also worked lightly on Thursday, galloping around the all-weather track for one lap under her assistant trainer. Trainer Matsuda said there was no change to be concerned about and that she was eating well. He said he planned to take the filly onto the turf Friday for a bit of a stretch.
Buena Vista was bred at Northern Farm in Hokkaido (breeder: Northern Racing) and is owned by Sunday Racing Co., Ltd. She currently boasts 6 wins, 2 seconds and three thirds from 11 starts, with earnings topping ¥564 million to date. Four of her early wins were over 1,600 meters, but she was later asked to go further and found she could beat the field at 2,400 and 2,200 meters as well. Her two seconds were at 2,000 meters and 2,500 meters, her third at 1,800, 2,000 and 2,200 meters. No matter the distance, however, she inevitably comes from the rear with a tremendous kick that rockets her down the stretch and, when luck is with her, over the finish line to the winner’s circle.
The seventh race of eight on the Dubai World Cup card, the Dubai Sheema Classic post time is set for 8:35 p.m. Saturday, March 27 local time, or 1:35 a.m. in the early morning of Sunday, March 28 Japan time.
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