In the lengthy parade before the race a number of the horses were sweating up but there was one horse who was a bit of a cheeky chappy and looked like he thought the whole parade was a bit of play. He wore the number 5 saddle cloth and his name is Indy Champ. By contrast favourite Almond Eye was relaxed and composed, going through the motions.
It is now history that Almond Eye did not get a good start as there was a bit of skirmish involving the horses with the outside draws.
Indy Champ on the other hand got into a good position on the rails, behind the leader Aerolithe, and was able to bowl along comfortably.
Almond Eye was encountering traffic and having to get round horses and by the time the field came round the home turn she was a long way back. However she did find her way through and ran the fastest last 300m but it was not enough to get her any nearer than third. She will undoubtedly do better over a longer trip.
Indy Champ had enjoyed a smooth passage and his jockey had a lot of horse as they came up the hill and went after Aerolithe with the gutsy grey mare hanging on to her spot on the rails but Indy Champ had the momentum and got the win in race record time.
Indy Champ is by Stay Gold out of Will Power (King Kamehameha) and was foaled in February 2015. He’s never finished worse than fourth but this was his first G1. However at the end of 2019 he was on a rating of 108 and Almond Eye was on 124.
Guanciale was a surprise coming fourth at a price of 103.00 but he got a great start and was able to stay in the front of the field. Sungrazer was fifth.
Danon Premium had been fancied by many. He was one of those sweating up badly in the parade and was pulled up after crossing the line as his jockey thought there was something wrong. Fortunately he was able to walk into the horse ambulance and was later given the all-clear by the vets. Damian Lane had the ride on Stelvio but he was not in the top five, although Damian won a G3 in Hanshin on Saturday and an earlier race on Sunday at Fuchu.
Almond Eye has been invited to run in the Cox Plate in Melbourne in late October. Will she try this or stay home and prepare to defend her Japan Cup title?