Japanese filly Almond Eye and Enable set for York clash
Japanese superstar will go up against dual Arc de Triomphe winner at the Juddmonte International
Japanese superstar Almond Eye, impressive winner of last Saturday’s $6m Dubai Turf, is on course for a clash with dual Arc de Triomphe winner Enable in the Juddmonte International in York in August.
Winner of the Fillies Triple Crown and Japan Cup in her home country, the filly had her biggest payday in Dubai with winning jockey Christophe Lemaire predicting more to come. “There are some big victories on the horizon for her.”
If Almond Eye does travel to York, which trainer Sakae Kunieda says is a distinct possibility, it will be a huge box-office event for the Yorkshire track, particularly if 2018’s Arc runnerup Sea of Class is also in the field.
“It would be a huge honour and delight to see Almond Eye on the Knavesmire. We’re very aware of the following racing has in Japan and the following that the filly has there,” said York CEO William Derby.
Enable’s trainer, John Gosden, has indicated that Enable will make her seasonal bow in the Coronation Cup at the Investec Derby meeting with a third Arc triumph the goal for his star filly.
Meanwhile, the scratching of hot favourite Hawwaam from Saturday’s SA Derby at Turffontein left the De Kock stable frustrated and punters out of pocket. The colt got loose in the parade ring, crashed through two sets of rails but happily escaped unscathed.
The De Kock team made the right call in scratching the odds-on favourite from the race. Mathew De Kock said: “We weren’t sure if he had hit his head or something and we couldn’t take a chance and run him.”
With Zilzaal promoted to tote favourite, thousands of jackpot and Pick 6 tickets went down the drain, which was a huge frustration for punters. Victory in the Derby went to Samurai Warrior ridden by Piere Strydom and trained by Weiho Marwing.
Jockey Randall Simons did bring some joy to the De Kock camp when winning the Horse Chestnut Stakes on Soqrat and he rides another Aussie import, Firdoas, in the seventh race at Turffontein on Tuesday.
A daughter of Bernardini, Firdoas hinted another success was close at hand when second behind Parental Control in a race on the Turffontein inside track 10 days ago.
The conditions of Tuesday’s race — an Assessment Plate over 1,450m — favour the De Kock inmate and the filly may have most to fear from Stuart Pettigrew’s runner, Rock A Roll Dancer.
The three year-old is enjoying a successful season with two wins and several places and the Seventh Rock filly goes well for her regular rider, Diego De Gouveia.
Pettigrew and De Gouveia also team up in the fourth race with Seattle Force and the gelding has an each-way shout if he stays the trip of 2,600m, which he is trying for the first time.
Trainer Sean Tarry will be delighted with Saturday’s SA Oaks win with bargain buy Return Flight and he saddles likely favourite Yamoto. The son of Dynasty has won over 2,400m so should have no trouble with today’s trip.
Josi De Nero, a stablemate of Seville Orange who ran third in Saturday's Oaks, looks a banker bet in the final race on the card. Gavin Lerena rides the filly for the second time and — drawn in pole position — can bring his mount home clear of Hareer and Super Fine.
1st Race: (12) Way Of The World (2) Annatjie (3) Black Tie (8) Martha
2nd Race: (5) Doublethink (10) Magic Vision (11) Silver Sea (4) Creation
3rd Race: (6) Feitas Flyer (1) Dry Your Eyes (2) Lasair (8) Zar
4th Race: (3) Seattle Force (1) Yamoto (2) War Legend (6) The Bosbok
5th Race: (5) Comaneci (4) Vistula (1) La Bella Mia (6) On The Double
6th Race: (2) Whitehaven (3) Varimax (1) Artemisia (5) Visuality
7th Race: (2) Firdoas (3) Rock A Roll Dancer (8) Xplosive Kiss (5) Witch Of The West
8th Race: (2) Josi De Nero (4) Hareer (5) Super Fine (1) Favourite Model