Japan’s grip on the best international races tightened further as Crown Pride ground out a classy victory in the $1,000,000 UAE Derby (GROUP 2), Sponsored By Mubadala, in the hands of Damian Lane for trainer Koichi Shintani and owner Teruya Yoshida.
On a day when being close to the pace was important, it was local hope Summer Is Tomorrow who made the running and was travelling smoothly as the field entered the homestretch.
Out a little wider, however, loomed Crown Pride and the pair singled out for a duel.
At the furlong marker, Summer Is Tomorrow appeared to have the measure of his Japanese rival, but his stride shortened and the Crown Pride’s reserves of stamina told inside the final 100 metres for a victory by two and three-quarter lengths.
Island Falcon finished third for Godolphin just over a length further back.
With four thoroughbred races run, this was a third success for Japan after Bathrat Leon and Stay Foolish had scored earlier. A similar score to that run up at the Saudi Cup meeting a month prior when the Japanese won four races seemed a distinct possibility.
Winning jockey Damian Lane said: “He stepped out okay but didn’t travel too well thereafter and it just took a little bit to get him in a rhythm and get him going.
I got crowded a little early but as I say he was able to stride through and take up position and it was plain sailing from there really.
I was confident a long way out and although he made hard work of it in the straight, ultimately he was the toughest out there. He’s a strong, tough horse and saw the distance out well.”
He added: “Whenever you jump aboard (a Japanese-trained horse) you can be confident they’re going to be strong and they’re going to run well and it’s just a privilege to be a part of it.”