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ASCOT, BERKSHIRE, ENGLAND – Trainer Aidan O’Brien continued his Royal Ascot meet success when, on Day 4, his pupil Japan made an eye-popping move in the stretch to impressively clinch the title in the King Edward VII Stakes (G2).
Sent from the gates as the 4/5 stateside favorite under Ryan Moore, Japan watched from the rear as stablemate Jack Yeats led for much of the early going. As the field made the final turn, Japane was forced to run four-wide, and when he straightened for home, he was down the middle of the lane.
Finding his best strides as his foes began to weaken, Japan strode away with an impressive lead late before crossing the wire with an easy 4 1/2-length advantage in a final time of 2:29.29 for the 1 1/2-mile event.
“This is a high-class colt and he put the race to bed very easily there,” Moore said. “We went a pretty good pace. I was happy where I was rounding the home turn, as I was on the best horse.”
Bangkok briefly held the lead at the top of the stretch but proved no match for the winner and had to settle for second by a neck over Eagles By Day. The rest of the field crossed thusly: Private Secretary, Pablo Escobarr, Pondus, Humanitarian, and Jack Yeats.
Japan’s win, his first of the year, followed up a narrow third by just a 1/2-length in the Investec Derby (G1) and improved his career record to 6-3-0-1. The 3-year-old son of Galileo was purchased for $1.8 million as a yearling by the Coolmore trio of Mrs. John Magnier, Derrick Smith, and Michael Tabor.
“The Derby was a very good race, I don’t think anyone realised what a good race it was,” O’Brien said. “We can see what happened to Circus Maximus (the Derby’s sixth-place finisher) earlier in the week. They were all there together – it was a very high-class race. This is a very smart horse and he is coming forward lovely all the time, who knows but we couldn’t be happier.”
Japan returned $3.80 to win and $2.02 to place, Bangkok brought back $6 to place, and Eagles By Day paid $12.80 to place.
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