Japan Headlines Day Two Cast

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Japan | Scoop Dyga

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With Ballydoyle off the mark at the 2020 Royal Ascot meeting, Japan (GB) (Galileo {Ire}) bids to continue the momentum on Wednesday in a fascinating renewal of the G1 Prince of Wales's S. Impressive in the G2 King Edward VII S. over 12 furlongs at this meeting 12 months ago, having been third in the G1 Epsom Derby following an interrupted preparation, the bay enjoyed a fruitful campaign thereafter when taking the G1 Grand Prix de Paris in July and York's G1 Juddmonte International in August. Fourth in a vintage edition of the G1 Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe back over the Grand Prix de Paris course and distance in October, he is Coolmore's most important runner of the week even if he comes with the “ready to start” proviso.

“We would have liked to have got a run into him before, but he's in good form,” Aidan O'Brien commented. “He's a horse we are looking forward to this year and we think he'll run a nice race and improve and come on for it. A mile and a quarter was no problem to him on a flat track at York and we think he's very comfortable at the trip. He's a very relaxed horse and a good traveller who can be a bit lazy when he gets there. He's very genuine with a lovely mind.”

While Japan and most of the rest of the world were in lockdown, Addeybb (Ire) (Pivotal {GB}) was living it up in Australia winning the G1 Ranvet S. at Rosehill on Mar. 21 and the G1 Queen Elizabeth S. at Randwick on Apr. 11. Both successes came on his favoured easy ground, which he looks likely to get again here and his match-fitness gives him a major edge over the favourite. It may also be that the 6-year-old has progressed again since last year, when he was the impressive winner of a very strong renewal of the Listed Wolferton S. at this meeting and second to Magical (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}) in the G1 Champion S. over this distance. “We were pleased to see the rain falling on Monday evening and the more that falls between now and Wednesday afternoon the better for him,” trainer William Haggas said. “He's ready to go. He's had a good year already and he came back from Australia very fit. This is probably a bit of a step up from the Australian races, but he's no slouch and a pretty smart horse on his day.”

Another who has had the benefit of a spring campaign is Godolphin's Barney Roy (GB) (Excelebration {Ire}), who took Meydan's Jan. 30 G2 Al Rashidiya and Mar. 7 G1 Jebel Hatta in the manner of a campaigner getting near his 3-year-old peak. Successful in the 2017 G1 St James's Palace S. when under the care of Richard Hannon, he was eighth in the G1 Queen Anne S. last year but Charlie Appleby has had an abundance of time to re-focus the 6-year-old. “I feel confident he is back to his best and, as a past winner at the Royal meeting, he has a lot of class,” his trainer said. “He steps back up to a mile and a quarter after two wins in Dubai during the winter, when he really strengthened as an individual. I think he will run a cracking race. This is well within his compass.”

Also featuring is Khalid Abdullah's G2 Prix Eugene Adam and G2 Prix Guillaume d'Ornano winner and 'TDN Rising Star' Headman (GB) (Kingman {GB}), who gets his keenly-anticipated 4-year-old season underway, and two John Gosden-trained outsiders in Sheikh Zayed bin Mohammed Racing's progressive June 7 G3 Brigadier Gerard S. winner Lord North (Ire) (Dubawi {Ire}) and Emirates Park Pty Ltd's G2 Prix de Malleret scorer and G1 Nassau S. runner-up Mehdaayih (GB) (Frankel {GB}).

Teddy Grimthorpe said of Headman, “Roger has always thought highly of him. He's a nice, scopey horse now. He's done very well through the winter. He's a got a bit of class, slightly like his father, Kingman–he has that good turn of foot to go and win. He obviously needs to step up and win at Group 1 standard this year. He's given us the right signs he'll be better as an older horse, but he has to put it on the line.”

John Gosden said of his pair, “Lord North is a grand horse and he's taking his chance. It's a good edition of the race. He did nothing but improve last year. We could have run him in the Listed race [the Wolferton] with his penalty, but that seemed a little bit cowardly–we thought it's a small-enough field, it's a lovely race to run in. We'd be thrilled to get a piece of it.

“Mehdaayih is a very talented filly. We deliberated and waited. I didn't want to run her before this. She's not a huge, strong filly, she's very athletic and I think she'll go there well fresh.”

In the G3 Hampton Court S., Ballydoyle's Russian Emperor (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}) is turned out just eight days after his second in Leopardstown's G3 Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial and he encounters The Queen's seven-length Kempton maiden winner First Receiver (GB) (New Approach {Ire}) and Sheikh Mohammed Obaid Al Maktoum's G1 2000 Guineas fifth Juan Elcano (GB) (Frankel {GB}). Also engaged is George Strawbridge's June 3 G3 Sandown Classic Trial winner Berlin Tango (GB) (Dansili {GB}), whose form was boosted when the runner-up Pyledriver (GB) (Harbour Watch {Ire}) took Tuesday's G2 King Edward VII S., and last year's G3 Horris Hill S. scorer Kenzai Warrior (Karakontie {Jpn}). He almost lost his rider at the start of the G1 2000 Guineas at Newmarket when ninth on June 6 and trainer Roger Teal is looking for better fortune. “He's been absolutely fine since the Guineas–he came out of it as fresh as paint,” he commented. “It obviously didn't go to plan on the day. He just got himself a bit over-excited, I think he was a bit shocked when the stalls opened and he's fly-leapt and stumbled and that was that. He came back not very proud of himself, but hopefully he can redeem himself on Wednesday. He seems in very good form and I think the step up in trip will suit him–he's more of a galloper than a speedster.”

The meeting's first 2-year-old race is the Listed Windsor Castle S., in which Aidan O'Brien saddles the June 10 Navan maiden first and third Chief Little Hawk and Hyde Park Barracks both by Coolmore's first-season sire Air Force Blue. Other freshmen sires with runners are Winstar's Speightster, whose son Sheriff Bianco races for Qatar Racing and Wesley Ward, Tally Ho Stud's Mehmas (Ire), who has four representatives, and the Cheveley Park Stud resident Twilight Son (GB). Ward also has Ken and Sarah Ramsey's Apr. 30 Gulfstream Park scorer Sunshine City (Creative Cause) with Frankie up, while Archie Watson puts forward Mohammed Rashid's Mighty Gurkha (Ire) (Sepoy {Aus}). Off the mark by 7 1/2 lengths on Lingfield's Polytrack June 5, he could provide Hollie Doyle with a first Royal winner and place her in an exclusive club of successful female jockeys alongside Gay Kelleway and Hayley Turner.

Other notable runners on a day featuring four handicaps are the John Gosden-trained Royal Hunt Cup contenders Lord Tennyson (GB) (Poet's Voice {GB}), who was second in the Listed Paradise S. on his second career start at Newmarket June 5, and Alrajaa (GB) (Dubawi {Ire}). The latter represents Shadwell who had such a bright start to the meeting on Tuesday, and the exciting 4-year-old is looking to restart where he left off with four wins in the autumn. There is even a Silver Royal Hunt Cup as a consolation race for those who missed the ballot in the main event, the 3-year-old King George V S. which often provides clues to the middle-distance Classics, and the new Copper Horse H. for the older stayers.

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