Japan holds on for narrow Meld Stakes verdict

Japan returns following his Meld Stakes win
18:39pm, Thu 15 Jul 2021
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Japan just clung on in a thrilling three-way finish to claim the Green Room Meld Stakes at Leopardstown.

Aidan O’Brien’s charge was dropping back to nine furlongs for his Group Three assignment – the shortest trip he had faced since his juvenile days.

However, the five-year-old rose to the task, racing handily for Ryan Moore as Snapraeterea set out to make all under Shane Crosse, before assuming control inside the final two furlongs.

Japan tried to stride on, but Maker Of Kings and Sinawann were both finishing with purpose from behind, forcing a photo.

The 15-8 favourite prevailed by a short head on the line, with Sinawann a further neck back in third.

“I was happy with him coming back in trip, I was probably in front too early really,” said Moore.

Japan (second right) just got the better of Crystal Ocean in the 2019 Juddmonte International (PA Archive)

“He was just waiting there and he found more when the second came to him.

“The ground is beautiful and he showed plenty of speed throughout. I just felt I was in front too early on him.”

Japan won both the Grand Prix de Paris and the Juddmonte International as a three-year-old and Paddy Power left him as a 20-1 shot to regain his title at York next month.

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