Japan could prove pick of Aidan O’Brien’s bunch in Paris
Trainer could finish weekend with two more Group One winning three-year-olds
Aidan O’Brien is hoping Japan can claim glory at Longchamp. Photo: Laszlo Geczo/Inpho
Aidan O’Brien could finish this weekend having supplied the Coolmore juggernaut with two more Group One winning three-year-olds.
On Sunday evening Japan is odds-on to successfully storm Longchamp’s ‘Bastille Day’ highlight, the Juddmonte Grand Prix de Paris.
Before that Ten Sovereigns will bid to redeem his tarnished reputation by giving his trainer a record-equalling fifth success in Saturday’s Darley July Cup at Newmarket.
If failing to stay the Guineas mile in May wasn’t a surprise then Ten Sovereigns’ failure to do better than fourth in last month’s Commonwealth Cup was.
It means he has almost two and a half lengths to make up on Advertise who is favourite to fill a rare top-flight blank for the in-form Frankie Dettori.
Since the July Cup is also the first major clash of the sprinting generations it means hardy older horses such as Dream Of Dreams, the Wokingham winner Cape Byron and Limato also come into the equation.
However, O’Brien, who also runs the fillies Fairyland and So Perfect, is prepared to make allowances for Ten Sovereigns’ Royal Ascot effort.
“He was a little bit rusty, coming back sprinting. He travelled though and kept going very well. We thought he’d come forward for the run,” he said.
Already in 2019 O’Brien has secured all-important Group One glory for four potential Coolmore stallion prospects.
The Derby winner Anthony Van Dyck, Guineas hero Magna Grecia, Circus Maximus, who landed the St James’s Palace, and shock Irish Derby winner Sovereign are already proven at the top level.
The widespread suspicion though is that Japan could ultimately emerge as best of Ballydoyle’s 2019 classic crop.
If it was a rush to get him to Epsom, then a subsequent sauntering King Edward win at Royal Ascot indicated a horse that’s rapidly progressing.
Japan takes on seven opponents, including his stable companion Western Australia, in a mile and a half contest his trainer has already won three times, including last year with Kew Gardens.
Andre Fabre’s record of 13 winners in the race emulates O’Brien’s Irish Derby dominance and the Frenchman saddles three including Roman Candle who ran fifth in last month’s Prix du Jockey Club.
Sunday’s highlight is due off at 6.45 Irish-time.
O’Brien will also be in Group action at Newmarket on Saturday with Year Of The Tiger lining up in the Superlative Stakes.
That race is due off just after the Group Three Silver Cup Stakes at York which sees popular veteran Sea The Lion take his chance for Monasterevin based trainer Jarlath Fahey. His biggest cross-channel success to date was Jennies Jewel landing the 2016 Ascot Stakes.
Ireland’s sole pattern event on a busy weekend is Sunday’s Group Three Brownstown Stakes which has a trio of Ballydoyle three year old fillies lining up.
It is Michael Halford’s Surrounding who is top-rated though and there are three cross-channel raiders making up the older horse half of the race.
David O’Meara’s Perfection is an interesting contender having just been touched off at the same grade in Lingfield in May.
She was a Listed winner on firm ground for John Gosden last year and her last run in the Wokingham suggests a return to seven furlongs will suit.
Saturday’s Limerick card features a Galway Plate Trial with last year’s winner Supreme Vinnie topping the weights. On his third run back after a layoff the course winner Hash Brown may be a leading contender.