Japanese Champ Out

Another blow to big day

Champion Japanese mare Almond Eye will not take her place in the Gr1 Hong Kong Cup one of four events that comprise next Sunday’s Gr1 Hong Kong International Races at Sha Tin.

According to scmp.com, Sakae Kunieda, who trains the 4YO daughter of Lord Kanaloa, advised the Hong Kong Jockey Club that an elevated temperature by the multiple Gr1 winner lay behind the decision not to fly her to the Territory.

In a tweet he also apologised to the legion of the Japanese Horse of the Year’s fans who were looking forward to watching her compete at the major race meeting.

Masashi Yonemoto, the CEO of Silk Racing, whose hundreds of members own Almond Eye, explained, “While she has been treated (in quarantine), the decision has been taken that in the best interest of her health and well-being that she is unable to travel today and therefore will miss her intended race in Hong Kong.” Almond Eye had foregone her chance to run in the Japan Cup, and as a result will now be retired.

This is a further blow to the big Hong Kong meeting after Aidan O’Brien’s champion mare Magical was withdrawn from the  HK$28 million Gr1 Longines Hong Kong Cup.

Magical was retired in late October after suffering an elevated temperature, days before the Breeders’ Cup meeting at Santa Anita.

Her stablemate Circus Maximus was also withdrawn from the HK$25m Gr1 Longines Hong Kong Mile (1600m).

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