Almond Eye Claims Eighth Group 1 Win in Tenno Sho

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Almond Eye | JRA

Almond Eye (Jpn) (Lord Kanaloa {Jpn}) ephasised her status as one of the greats of the Japanese turf with a half-length score in the G1 Tenno Sho (Autumn) at Tokyo on Sunday. The first back-to-back winner since Symboli Kris S (Kris S.) in 2002/03, the bay mare is the sixth horse to salute in seven Japanese Group 1s and the first Japanese horse to win eight Group 1 races worldwide on turf. Two-time G1 Tenno Sho (Spring) victor Fierement (Jpn) (Deep Impact {Jpn}) was second, with the G1 Takarazuka Kinen winner Chrono Genesis (Jpn) (Bago {Fr}) third by a neck.

Caught two deep in fourth into the opening bend, Almond Eye relaxed as Danon Premium (Jpn) (Deep Impact {Jpn}) galloped on an five-length lead. The field reached the final 800 metres with the 2-5 favourite maintaining her position in between horses and when they reached the head of the straight, jockey Christophe Lemaire cut her loose. Out in the four path, Almond Eye set sail for the longtime leader, passing Daiwa Cagney (Jpn) (King Kamehameha {Jpn}) and Kiseki (Jpn) (Rulership {Jpn}) just inside the quarter pole. Chrono Genesis and Fierement were also making similarly rapid progress farther out on the course, but Almond Eye, who passed Danon Premium inside the final 50 yards, held on for the victory. Fierement fought past Chrono Genesis late on for place honours. The pacesetter was another two lengths back in fourth.

“Today, the mare was relaxed before the start and we were able to break well,” said Lemaire, who was noticeably emotional-a rare occurrence for him-post race. “She showed a great turn of foot in the straight but ran out of steam a bit climbing the hill. The others were gaining on us but she didn't give up. I have to admit, to win the eighth Group 1 title was a big pressure, but she didn't let us down—her performance was awesome. Her future lay in the hands of the owner and trainer but I would very much like to ride her again.”

The Japanese Filly Triple Crown winner of 2018 claimed Japanese Horse of the Year honours after winning the G1 Japan Cup later that year. She also scored in the G1 Dubai Turf at Meydan in March of 2019 and returned to her homeland to take third in the G1 Yasuda Kinen that June. A winner of last year's G1 Tenno Sho (Autumn), Almond Eye ran an uncharacteristic ninth in her 4-year-old swansong, the G1 Arima Kinen in December. Kept in training this term, she saluted in the May 17 G1 Victoria Mile, but was runner-up in the June 7 Yasuda Kinen in Tokyo, her last start prior to defending her title on Sunday.

Pedigree Notes

Almond Eye is one of four Group 1 winners and 23 black-type winners for her sire Lord Kanaloa (Jpn). The seventh of 10 foals out of her dam, and one of eight winners from eight runners, the 5-year-old is followed by the winning duo of Listed Anemone S. third Unakite (Jpn) (Johannesburg), a 4-year-old filly, and 3-year-old colt Satono Esperanza (Jpn) (Rulership {Jpn}), Fusaichi Pandora (Jpn)'s  latest foal is an unnamed juvenile by Rulership (Jpn).

The extended family under blue hen third dam Sex Appeal (Buckpasser) is riddled with Group 1 winners like champions and successful sires El Gran Senor (Northern Dancer) and Try My Best (Northern Dancer), GI Breeders' Cup Mile victor Domedriver (Ire) (Indian Ridge {Ire}), G1 Nunthorpe S. winner Bahamian Pirate (Housebuster) and GI United National S. hero Chinchon (Ire) (Marju {Ire}). Italian highweight and sire Blue Air Force (Ire) (Sri Pekan) is also present, as is Brazilian champion and Group 1 winner Estrela Monarchos (Monarchos).

Sunday, Tokyo, Japan

TENNO SHO (AUTUMN)-G1, ¥289,600,000 (US$2,762,578/£2,134,219/€2,365,843), Tokyo, 11-1, 3yo/up, 2000mT, 1:57.80, fm.
1–ALMOND EYE (JPN), 123, m, 5, Lord Kanaloa (Jpn)
                1st Dam: Fusaichi Pandora (Jpn) (MSW & G1SP-Jpn,
                                $3,264,457), by Sunday Silence
                2nd Dam: Lotta Lace, by Nureyev
                3rd Dam: Sex Appeal, by Buckpasser
O-Silk Racing; B-Northern Farm (Jpn); T-Sakae Kunieda;
J-Christophe Lemaire. ¥152,520,000. Lifetime Record:
HotY-Jpn, Ch. 3yo Filly-Jpn, Hwt. Older Horse-UAE, G1SW-UAE,
14-10-2-1. Werk Nick Rating: A+++. *Triple Plus*. Click for the
   eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree.
2–Fierement (Jpn), 128, h, 5, Deep Impact (Jpn)–Lune d'Or (Fr),
by Green Tune. O-Sunday Racing; B-Northern Farm (Jpn);
¥60,720,000.
3–Chrono Genesis (Jpn), 123, f, 4, Bago (Fr)–Chronologist(Jpn),
by Kurofune. O-Sunday Racing; B-Northern Farm (Jpn);
¥38,360,000.
Margins: HF, NK, 2. Odds: 0.40, 16.40, 3.40.
Also Ran: Danon Premium (Jpn), Kiseki (Jpn), Daiwa Cagney (Jpn), Jinambo (Jpn), Cadenas (Jpn), Scarlet Color (Jpn), Win Bright (Jpn), Blast Onepiece (Jpn), Danon Kingly (Jpn).
Click for the JRA chart & video or the free Equineline.com catalogue-style pedigree

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