The two star three-year-olds, who won Japan’s respective triple crowns earlier this year – filled in the placings, with Contrail in second and Daring Tact in third, but they never threatened Almond Eye who relished the pressure up front.
With 400 metres to go, Kiseki boasted a 10-length lead on Glory Vase and Almond Eye, but Lemaire never panicked, and with 150 metres to go only one horse was winning.
About 4500 patrons were on course in Tokyo to send Almond Eye into retirement.
She bows out with an incredible resume from just 15 career starts – 11 wins, two seconds and a third including two Japan Cups, two Tenno Shos and a Dubai Turf, and her win could potentially push her higher into the top four in the world when the rankings are revisited next.
Meanwhile, at Warrnambool, it was Simon Wilde and Luke Williams who joined forces to steer Count Zero to victory in the $300,000 Jericho Cup.
The 4600-metre event proved a true staying test on the soft track, but Williams found the best ground and made his move before the turn to hit the front and race away from the Ciaron Maher and David Eustace-trained stablemates Dambulla and Wil John.
“It’s a real thrill. I’m pretty sure that is the biggest race I’ve ever won,” Williams said post-race, having ridden in races for about 30 years.
“Thank you Lord, thank you Simon for having the faith to put me on.
“I walked the track this morning and I knew there were a couple of spots where I could seriously make ground without doing anything. You had to get to them, of course, which I did up the hill the second time.
“Coming down to make the final turn they tried to drive me down to the inside but I thought ‘no, piss off!’. I stayed out there for a bit longer and got the job done.”
Wilde said it was a huge thrill to win the Jericho Cup in its third running, launched in 2018 in honour of the three-mile race run on sand during World War I by the Australian light war horse, won by Bill The Bastard.
“In this race’s short history it has been a bit of an aim of ours after we were fortunate to win the Grand Annual,” Wilde said.
“I love the concept. I think its a fantastic race. It’s got real meaning to it. It’s not a pop-up race or money grab like some of the other ones are. It’s got real depth and meaning and a real honour to win the race.”
Damien Ractliffe is the Chief Racing Reporter for The Age.