The Godolphin horses will deservedly milk the bulk of the limelight from Dubai World Cup night, but it was Japanese-filly Almond Eye who shone brightest under the lights at Meydan.
The flying filly was racing for the first time since shattering the track record in November’s Japan Cup, and duly picked up where she left off on her first start outside of her home nation.
The four-year-old was produced with a well-timed run by jockey Christophe Lemaire to secure the 1800m Dubai Turf – her seventh successive win – with compatriot Vivlos a length and a quarter back in second and Deirdre finishing fourth.
“It was a really great race. She broke well, settled well, got a good position and accelerated well to win well. It was the result I thought we could get and I’m happy she proved us right. I was nervous, I’ve lost my voice,” said trainer Sakae Kunieda.
The ultimate target for the Lord Kanaloa filly is to become the first Japanese winner of the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, and from what she has shown to date, she has all the qualities to achieve this historic feat.
Kunieda added: “Almond Eye can continue my dreams, so next we’ll go to Europe, our dream is to take her to the Arc.”
Lemaire was equally impressed with the manner of her victory and believes there are big things on the horizon for a horse who still looked head and shoulders above the competition despite not getting out of second gear.
“She was very impressive. The way she accelerated is unbelievable. Today was her first start of the year, and quite early on she was actually in front of the rest of the field. I think she relaxed a little bit and she had a bit of a margin on them,” he said.
“When you have the right horse and you have confidence in your horse, you can go out confident no matter what happens – and she’s the right horse. Hopefully, there are some big victories on the horizon for her.”
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