KINGSTON, Jamaica - The superstar turf horse Almond Eye, off as a 4-5 pari- mutuel favourite, handled 12 rivals with easy to win Saturday's Group 1, US$6 million Dubai Turf, topping fellow Japanese invader Vivlos by a length and a half.
Almond Eye, the daughter of Lord Kanaloa, made her 4-year-old debut Saturday, finished the nine-furlong run at Meydan in 1:46.79. She became the fifth Japanese horse to win the Dubai World Turf.
“It was a really great race," said trainer Sakae Kunieda. "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."
Jockey Christophe Lemaire led Almond Eye from mid-pack in a congested field, straightening up down the stretch and taking the outside to clear the Japanese-bred Vivlos for the cruising victory.
“She was very impressive. The way she accelerated is unbelievable," said Lemaire of the winning ride. "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.
"The distance was a little bit short for her today, but she is so good that I had no fear about that."
Afterward, connections mentioned France's Arc de Triopmhe as a goal, meaning a potential matchup with European champion Enable looms.
"Almond Eye can continue my dreams, so next we’ll go to Europe, our dream is to take her to the Arc," concluded Kunieda.