Japan: Almond Eye ready to defend crown in Dubai Turf

Horse Racing Almond Eye
Almond Eye (Christophe Lemaire): imperious in last year’s Dubai Turf at Meydan.
Photo: Dubai Racing Club/Neville Hopwood

By Dubai Racing Club

Japan: Six-time G1 winner Almond Eye is on her way back to Meydan as the superstar mare looks to kick off her season with a defence of her crown in the Dubai Turf on the World Cup card on March 28.

Silk Racing’s five-year-old has pleased trainer Sakae Kunieda at home as she is prepared for the 1,800-metre (1m1f) affair, in which she defeated eight G1 winners in 2019.

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A winner of the 2018 Japanese Filly Triple Crown and Japan Cup in 2018, she will be looking to bounce back from the first poor effort of her career when ninth in the 2,500-metre Arima Kinen on December 22. However, that race was only a contingency after a training interruption precluded her from the Hong Kong Cup two weeks prior.

Kunieda also plans to bring 2019 Japan Cup runner-up Curren Bouquetd’or to Dubai for the Sheema Classic which, like the Dubai Turf, carries $6 million prize-money.

A daughter of Deep Impact and Chilean champion Solaria, Curren Bouquetd’or has yet to score at the top level, but has three times been second in G1 company, including in the Yushun Himba (Japanese Oaks). 

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On her most recent outing, she was second in soft ground in the G2 Kyoto Kinen on February 16.

“Both fillies are planning on coming,” Kunieda said. “Almond Eye was tired after her Arima run, but she has rebounded well and will be coming back to Miho (Training Centre) this week. We never really thought of the Sheema Classic (with her), as the Turf suits her so well. We will prep her the same as we did last year.

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“Curren Bouquetd’or came out of her race last week well,” he continued. “The winner just loved the ground, though our filly can run on any ground. She is best on counter-clockwise courses like Tokyo and Dubai, so I’m not worried about her ability to run well in Dubai. She came out of her race in good order and she will train together with Almond Eye once she gets to the training centre.”

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