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Almond Eye maintains unbeaten record at Meydan

Sat 30th Mar 2019, 16:41

Almond Eye pictured on her way to victory in the Japan Cup
Hong Kong Jockey Club

Japanese superstar filly Almond Eye maintained her unbeaten record with a facile success in the Dubai Turf at Meydan.

Sakae Kunieda's four-year-old was unbeaten in five previous starts in her homeland, including top-level triumphs in the Japanese 1000 Guineas and Japanese Oaks before beating the boys in November's Japan Cup.

Making her first appearance on foreign soil, Almond Eye was the 6/5 favourite under regular partner and leading French jockey Christophe Lemaire and she lived up to the billing with a dominant display.

Lemaire buried his mount in midfield for much of the nine-furlong contest before switching her wide rounding the home turn.

While her rivals began to toil, Almond Eye was still full of running at the top of the straight under her ultra-confident rider and once given her head, she quickly sealed to deal to score with plenty in hand.

Lemaire said: "She broke well, took a good position and was very relaxed.

"She was running on her own and it was her first run of the year and I’m aware that there is a long season ahead.

"I always had those in front of me covered and I knew we were going to win from quite a long way out."

Connections of Almond Eye have already nominated the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe at ParisLongchamp as a likely long-term target, with a potential outing at York in August also mooted.

Vivlos finished strongly to grab the runner-up spot, with David O’Meara’s Lord Glitters faring best of the British contingent in third.

O’Meara said: "The plan was to hold him up and get him to settle and Danny (Tudhope) gave him a great ride.

"Vivlos is a previous winner of this race (in 2017) and the winner is obviously outstanding, so it’s a very high level of form that we’ve shown to get as close to those horses as we did.

"He got he trip very well and I will now look at the Lockinge at Newbury. He’ll have an entry in the Arlington Million and also the Juddmonte International (at York)."

The big disappointment of the race was Saeed bin Suroor's Dream Castle, who was rated the biggest threat to Almond Eye beforehand having completed a Meydan hat-trick in the Jebel Hatta three weeks ago - but he trailed home last of the 13 runners.

The John Gosden-trained Without Parole ran well for a long way before fading into fifth place, with Simon Crisford’s front-runner Century Dream (seventh), Charlie Appleby’s Wootton (ninth), and Aidan O’Brien’s Irish raider I Can Fly (11th) all further back.