Almond Eye boosts huge reputation with easy victory in Dubai Turf
In the blink of an eye Almond Eye brought a nation's dream a step closer to becoming a reality.
It was difficult for Almond Eye to exceed expectations such was the extraordinary fanfare which accompanied the filly on her first start outside of Japan, but somehow she did, enhancing that huge reputation with a devastating victory in the Dubai Turf.
The winning margin of one and a quarter lengths in no way gives an accurate representation of the superiority of Almond Eye, who swept to the front in effortless fashion, taking the breath of those in the packed grandstand and prompting her fans back home to start making enquiries about Parisian hotels in October.
All roads lead to Longchamp for Almond Eye, where she will be tasked with finally delivering success for Japan in a race in which they have gone close on a number of occasions, suffered agonising near-misses and generally had their dreams shattered.
Almond Eye, winner of the fillies' Triple Crown, had smashed the track record in the Japan Cup on her most recent outing but that was achieved over a mile and a half. Here she dropped three furlongs in trip but still carried that explosive burst of pace which sets her aside from her contemporaries and has her edging closer to a place in history.
Rider Christophe Lemaire said: "She was very impressive. The way she accelerated was unbelievable.
"The distance was a bit short for her but she is so good that I had no fear about that. When you have the right 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.”
Trainer Sakae Kunieda had said it would be a dream come true to win an international race with Almond Eye and is now excited about the prospect of tackling the Arc.
He said: "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. Almond Eye can continue my dreams, so next we’ll go to Europe, our dream is to take her to the Arc."
David O'Meara was thrilled with the performance of third-placed Lord Glitters, who was just edged out by Vivlos for second and finished clear of the remainder.
The Yorkshire-based trainer said: "We're delighted with that. Almond Eye and Vivlos, who has won and been placed in this race, brought a strong level of form and we've beaten the rest very well.
"I thought Danny [Tudhope] gave the horse a lovely ride and we had every chance, but we were just beaten by two better horses on the day.
"We might run in the Lockinge next. I'd like to enter him in the Juddmonte this year, he got today's trip very well."
Almond Eye became the fourth Japanese winner of the race in the last six years after Just A Way (2014), Real Steel (2016) and Vivlos (2017).
Coral slashed her to 5-1 (from 10-1) for the Arc, for which Enable, chasing a historic third victory in the race, heads the betting at 4-1.
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