Sport Horse Racing

Sunday 21 July 2019

O'Brien considers King George option for Japan

Trainer Aidan O'Brien. Photo: Cody Glenn/Sportsfile
Trainer Aidan O'Brien. Photo: Cody Glenn/Sportsfile

Graham Clark

Aidan O'Brien is debating whether to send Japan back to Ascot or bring him to France after the colt's stylish victory in the King Edward VII Stakes at the Royal meeting on Friday.

The well-regarded son of Galileo was widely expected to take Group Two honours in the 'Ascot Derby' following his fine third to stablemate Anthony Van Dyck in the Epsom Derby, but did so in particularly eye-catching fashion.

O'Brien said: "We probably have two choices with him. There is either the Grand Prix de Paris (at Longchamp on July 14) or come back (to Ascot) for the King George (July 27). I would say they would be the options, but we will see what the lads (Coolmore owners) want to do.

"He was winter favourite for the Derby and he was just about ready to start off in the trial (Dante Stakes at York), then he went to the Derby and on Friday and we couldn't have been happier with him."

O'Brien also had news on Arizona, which struck on the opening day of the meeting in the Coventry Stakes.

"We couldn't have been happier with him. He is still a baby and is still green," said the Ballydoyle supremo. "He really kept it together and kept coming. We have races like the Phoenix Stakes or the Prix Morny for him - I'd say he will get further as well."

Elsewhere, Godolphin are hoping last year's Derby winner Masar will bounce back after stumbling coming out of the stalls in the Hardwicke Stakes on Saturday.

Masar showed up well in the straight before understandably getting tired, as Nagano Gold - which had been hampered in the stalls incident - made late headway only to fail by half a length to catch the winner Defoe.

Roger Varian's grey was following up his win in the Coronation Cup at Epsom and seems to be finally fulfilling his potential.

"Hopefully we can bring him back in one piece for the King George," said Varian. "It is up to other people to have their opinion, but I have my opinion of the horse which is very high - and he is backing that up."

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