Arc on the Agenda as Japan Wins in France

The Aidan O’Brien trained Japan won for the second time in his last two starts on Sunday in France and put down his claim for a run in the Arc at Longchamp. This was the second time we have seen him in the winners enclosure in just a few weeks after his Royal Ascot romp in the middle of June.

This horse was always well thought of and after an impressive start to life as a two year old, he was either first or second favourite for the English Derby throughout the winter. However, question marks were raised when he finally reappeared in the Dante Stakes at York. He struggled on that occasion, and was quickly sent towards the bottom of the Derby market. He ran with great credit at Epsom though to finish 3rd and looked a completely different animal. That must have delighted the O’Brien camp, and looking back there is a chance that he could have just needed the run at York.

Since then, he’s been kept busy and we have seen him twice, in two races that he won. He first romped home at Royal Ascot in a Group Two, and that really put him back in the limelight. Not only did he do it really well, but he did it on one of the biggest stages too, so everyone could see him.

He then went to France this weekend for a run in the Group One Grand Prix de Paris. This saw him win once again, and while the winning margin was only half a length, and nowhere near as impressive as Royal Ascot, he still got the job done with a little bit to spare on the day.

After the race, Aidan O’Brien was quick to mention the Arc as a long term target for him and said that the horse would now be given a break to prepare for that. He would then return for either another trip to France for Arc trials day, or for a run in his home country of Ireland to get ready for one of the biggest races of the season.

After his trip to York, serious questions were raised about Japan this season but now we have seen him run another three times, we are beginning to see the real Japan and he looks like being a lively contender for the Arc at Longchamp.