Dubai World Cup: Japanese National Pride

Japan may still be reeling from the consequences of the epic natural disaster that hit that country, but the result of the Dubai World Cup (gr. I, video below), the world’s richest race, gave considerable cause for national pride. Not only did the Japanese-bred 4-year-old colt Victoire Pisa score a famous victory, but that triumph was achieved at the expense of his compatriot, the brave 5-year-old horse Transcend (by Wild Rush). Remarkably, this duo were the only horses to lead the event, Transcend setting out to make all, and Victoire Pisa taking control a furlong and a half out, after a move down the backstretch that saw him sweep into contention from the rear of the field.

Almost inevitably, Victoire Pisa is by a son of Sunday Silence, the U.S.-raced son of Halo who was unwanted as a stallion in his own country, despite establishing himself as a truly great racehorse, but who single-handedly lifted the standard of breeding in Japan. In this case the son in question is Neo Universe, winner of the Japanese 2,000 Guineas and Japanese Derby. Now shaping as the potential heir to his sire, Neo Universe comes from the same family as Street Cry (TrueNicks) and Shamardal (TrueNicks,SRO), as Neo Universe’s third dam, Boulevard, is also third dam of Street Cry, and fourth dam of Shamardal.

Victoire Pisa, who also won the Japanese 2,000 Guineas (gr. I) and Arima Kinen (gr. I), comes from his sire’s second crop. He is probably the best of Neo Universe’s runners, but the young stallion has already also sired Japanese Derby winner Logi Universe and Japanese 2,000 Guineas victor Unrivaled, both of whom were from his first crop.

The family of Victoire Pisa is one that has risen to prominence from relatively obscure beginnings, aided by some clever inbreeding and line breeding. Victoire Pisa’s sixth dam, Cherry Way, was a daughter of the well-bred Airway (by the great runner, Fairway, out of the English Oaks winner Udaipur), a horse who was pretty insignificant as a racehorse or sire, outside of the handful of stakes winners he sired in New Zealand. Cherry Way was a minor winner in Ireland, but produced one better than herself in the shape of Padus, who earned black type with a third in the Pretty Polly Stakes. Padus was a daughter of Anwar, a good English handicap horse (in the English sense of handicap, generally races for horses who just miss at stakes level), who was black type-placed before going on to a modest career as a sire. However, Anwar is particularly notable in the scheme of things here, as his sire, Umidwar (winner of the Champion Stakes), is a brother to Udaipur, which meant that Padus had the top-flight siblings Umidwar and Udaipur 2x3.

The inbreeding that produced Padus coincided with a serious upgrading in the fortunes of the family. Bred to the non-winning Bairam (a son of Nearco, and bred similarly to Nasrullah), Padus produced the Irish Oaks victress Pampalina (who had the brothers Pharos and Fairway 3x4), and in turn Pampalina became the dam of Pampapaul (by a grandson of Nasrullah, so combining the similarly-bred Nasrullah and Bairam), conqueror of the The Minstrel in the Irish 2,000 Guineas (gr. I). Padus is ancestress of numerous other good winners, but the branch of her family that leads to Victoire Pisa comes down through her Hard Sauce daughter, Short Commons (who had the brothers Pharos/Fairway 5x4x4), winner of the Free Handicap, and fourth in the Irish 1,000 Guineas.

Short Commons also became a good broodmare, her offspring including three-time group winner He Loves Me, group I-placed Wattlefield, and group-placed Common Land. Bred to Lorenzaccio, upset winner over a way-past-his-peak Nijinsky II in the Champion Stakes, but a very moderate sire, Common Land became dam of Short Commons. That mare never ran, but continued the good work of the female line as dam of Arctic Owl (Irish St. Leger (gr. I)) and Marooned (a Mill Reef son who was exported to Australia, where he won the Sydney Cup (gr. I) and became a more than respectable sire).

The mare we are concerned with here, however, is Short Commons’s Bustino daughter Much Too Risky. She won twice at two, but was far more important as a producer. Fourteen of her foals reached the track, with ten winning, including listed-winning and group-placed Seductress (by Know Fact); Little Rock (by Known Fact’s son Warning), winner of the Princess of Wales’s Stakes (gr. II); the dual group III winner and English Oaks (gr. I) third Short Skirt (by Warning’s son Diktat); and Victoire Pisa’s dam, Whitewater Affair.

Whitewater Affair, a daughter of Machiavellian, inherited little of her sire’s speed and precocity, but instead became a high-class stayer (Highweighted Older Mare in England and Ireland at 11-14 furlongs), winning the Prix de Pomone (gr. II) and John Porter Stakes (gr. III), and taking second in the Yorkshire Oaks (gr. I) and third in the Irish St. Leger (gr. I). Exported to Japan, Whitewater Affair has become a superstar broodmare, producing Victoire Pisa; his three-parts-brother Swift Current (by Sunday Silence), a Japanese grade III winner who also took second in the Autumn Tenno Sho (Emperor’s Cup); and Askusa Den’en (by Singspiel), winner of the Yasuda Kinnen (gr. I). All three of these horses are inbred to Machiavellian’s broodmare sire Halo (2x4 in the case of Swift Current, and 3x4 in Victoire Pisa). The Halo duplication is also found in Neo Universe’s Japanese Derby winner Logi Universe, whose second dam is by Machiavellian. As far as Victoire Pisa is concerned, the presence of Machiavellian means that Victoire Pisa is also something of a reverse to Street Cry and to his sister Helsinki (dam of Shamardal), as they are by Machiavellian out of Helen Street, a granddaughter of Boulevard (also third dam of Neo Universe, the sire of Victoire Pisa).

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