Australian jockey Craig Williams had to settle for a close second when Buena Vista won the Grade 1 $6.5m 2011 Japan Cup (2400m) in Tokyo today.
Williams gave his mount Tosen Jordan a superb ride from barrier 16 and had the race won everywhere bar the final 50m when it was taken by the darling of the Japanese turf.
It was Buena Vista’s sixth Grade 1 win in a race that proved to be a triumph for the Japanese with the first five placegetters all locally trained.
Williams had Tosen Jordan second on the fence after 400m without having used much petrol from the wide gate.
His Yasutoshi Ikee-trained mount settled nicely and followed the US galloper Mission Approved for much of the race.
That horse set a good speed in front and held a couple of lengths break on Tosen Jordan with Trailblazer a couple more lengths away third for the majority of the running.
Buena Vista, who had drawn barrier 2, settled sixth on the fence with Jaguar Mail immediately behind.
Race favourite Danedream settled midfield with cover and travelled well.
The first serious race move came from Win Variation who joined Mission Approved in front and made sure the quick pace would continue from the 800m.
Williams pulled Tosen Jordan out at the top of the straight with Buena Vista’s jockey Yasnuori Iwata following Williams through.
To the inner of Buena Vista was Jaguar Mail who was momentarily blocked in the straight but couldn’t sprint when clear.
That was left to the five-year-old mare Buena Vista who popped her head in front 50m from the line.
Tosen Jordan fought back to go down by a head with Jaguar Mail two lengths away.
Trailblazer, a stablemate to Tosen Jordan, fought on well for fourth though never threatened.
The German mare Danedream was given too big a task at the top of the straight.
She was third last entering the straight and wide and finished sixth just behind Win Variation.
The winner is trained by Hiroyoshi Matsuda.