Fan pays staggering £57,000 for shoes from star horse honoured with special ceremony
Retired in November 2020, Almond Eye was the highest-earning Japanese racehorse. Winning ten out of her 13 races, she was the first horse to win nine turf Grade 1s
A fan has paid a staggering £57,000 for a set of shoes worn by a horse honoured with a special retirement ceremony.
The huge sum secured the souvenir from one of Almond Eye’s stunning displays against the best horses of her generation.
Retired in November 2020, she was the highest-earning Japanese racehorse and the first to win nine Group 1s on turf.
Part of the record haul was the 2019 Dubai Turf Sponsored By DP World at Meydan racecourse, a performance which the shoes are from.
By crossing the line in first place, the Sakae Kunieda-trained mare won connections £2,834,645.67.
And a racing enthusiast was keen to pay decent money for a one-off framed display of a memento from the success.
Offered by Northern Farm, the top bid was￥8,561,521 (£57,000) and will go towards helping retired thoroughbreds.
In 2020, Almond Eye was named Horse of the Year in the Japan Racing Association Awards for the second time.
She signed off her career in style by defeating colt and filly Triple Crown winners in the Japan Cup.
Front runner Kiseki, a 44-1 shot, led the field a merry dance before jockey Christophe Lemaire engaged Almond Eye’s top gear.
In front of a crowd of 4,604 people at Tokyo racecourse, the mare finished with a strong late run to take the spoils.
“Since this was her final start, it was very special for me, and I’m thrilled we were able to win,” Lemaire said afterwards.
“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.”
Several weeks after her final success, her supporters flocked to Nakayama Racecourse for a special retirement ceremony.
A total of 2,542 seats were taken up in the grandstand to watch Almond Eye parade wearing the blanket she received after the Japan Cup.
Her previous jockeys and trainers read out tributes before she was sent on her way to become a broodmare.
Trainer Kunieda said on Bloodhorse.com : “Of course I am (a) little bit sad after her retirement. My best memory is her first Japan Cup. She showed her stunning ability the first time and the racing time was so fast that I thought the clock had broken.
“She had an on and off switch, so she was very sweet when she relaxed in the stable, but at the racecourse, she changed to be powerful, and we had trouble every time with her energy before the race.
“Almond Eye, good work. Thank you for making such a great achievement and leaving a pleasant memory.
“After you will go back to the farm and have a child, I want to train him or her in my yard, so please give birth to good children.”