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April 11, 2019 (Thu)

Dubai World Cup 2019

After a disappointing 2018 campaign in Dubai which yielded no wins for Team Japan, 2019 was a much-welcomed success story for the Japanese breds who traveled all the way to Dubai.

The biggest success of the night went to Almond Eye(JPN), who was held in reverence all week. Her connections were giving interviews to media outlets all over the world all week leading up to the big day. All the hype before her ultimate solid victory in the G1 Dubai Turf left Team Japan both excited and relieved to have lived up to it all.

Almond Eye(JPN) broke well and sat mid pack for the first half of the race before making her move in the stretch to win convincingly. It was the performance the world expected of her. Second by a length was Vivlos(JPN), who was second in 2018 and won the race in 2017. Her consistency can't be overlooked in her attempts abroad, she was also second in the G1 Hong Kong Mile back in December, 2018. While Almond Eye(JPN) will move on to take on the world in other arenas, Vivlos(JPN) will head back to Japan to head to the breeding shed. Deirdre(JPN) finished fourth.

In the G1 Dubai Sheema Classic, Japan also had three runners. 2017 Derby winner Rey de Oro(JPN) in a career first set the pace which didn't ultimately bode well for his final results where he finished 8th. He was over taken in the stretch by eventual winner Old Persian(GB) with two Japanese raider chasing him down the best they could. Cheval Grand(JPN) finished a length and a half behind in second with Suave Richard(JPN) finishing a half a length back in third. Both sons of Heart's Cry(JPN) put in a decent performance for their first foreign challenges.

Foreign import Matera Sky(USA), gave veteran trainer Hideyuki Mori quite a thrill by finishing a gutsy second in the G1 Dubai Golden Shaheen. The son of Speightstown(USA) sat off the pace during the first part of the race dueled eventual winner X Y Jet(USA) for most of the stretch before finishing only a length and a half behind him at the wire. The performance gave the trainer hope he could take his charge abroad to the United States to the Breeders Cup at the end of the year.

The rest of the day saw Derma Louve(JPN) finish a gutsy fourth in the G2 UAE Derby and an unfortunate scratch of K T Brave(JPN) in the Dubai World Cup due to being struck down by colic late Friday night. K T Brave(JPN) will make a full recovery but will have to ship back to Japan a little later than his stablemates.

The Japanese made their presence felt in 2019, which should end up being a big year for Japanese breds racing abroad. Almond Eye(JPN) will be leading that challenge as she looks to become Japan's first winner of the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe.

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