Almond Eye signed off her career in the best possible fashion by winning her second Japan Cup in devastating style.
In becoming just the second dual winner of the race, Almond Eye cemented her place as one of Japan’s racing greats having also won at the Dubai Carnival in 2019.
The five-year-old was winning her final race, notching a ninth Group One into the bargain and retires as the highest earning Japanese horse in history.
It was a bizarre spectacle in some ways as Kiseki attempted to blow the field apart and turning into the straight held a huge advantage.
His stride soon began to shorten, though, as Almond Eye, the Japanese Triple Crown winner Contrail and multiple Group One scorer Daring Tact began to close in.
It was Christophe Lemaire on Sakae Kunieda’s mare that got the fractions spot on, however, as she registered a length and a quarter success from Contrail.
Only the brilliant Gentildonna had previously won the Japan Cup twice.
“Since this was her final start, it was very special for me and I’m thrilled we were able to win,” said Lemaire.
“After winning the Victoria Mile in the spring, we had three weeks to get her prepared for the Yasuda Kinen in which she was second. She had an extra week this time and was tuned up beautifully.
“She was relaxed in the gate, broke smoothly and was able to sit in a good position. The turf condition near the rails was much better than last week so I don’t think the inner draw was a problem.
“The pace was just right for her and she responded well in the stretch. The others closing in on us didn’t worry me at all.
“Almond Eye is a perfect mare and doesn’t have any weak points. Her career as a race horse ended today but I look forward to riding her children.”