2019 Derby bronze medalist Japan remains as big as 33/1 to reclaim his Juddmonte International Stakes crown at York next month despite his Leopardstown heroics on Thursday evening.
Aidan O’Brien’s charge just held on in the Green Room Meld Stakes by a short head to land the Group 3 under Ryan Moore and pick up a seventh career win in the process for Ballydoyle, his second of the season on top.
But he falls a fair way down the pecking order in the Group 1 on the Knavesmire that he landed two seasons ago when denying Crystal Ocean, appearing a huge double-figure price to recapture his former glory.
He gave O’Brien his first win in the race since 2014 when scooping the price as a three-year-old, but bookmakers are confident the stable now have far more attractive options to saddle in Yorkshire this time around.
Moore told the Racing Post after proceedings in Foxrock yesterday: “That was a nice performance. I got to the front a little sooner than ideal and he was waiting a little bit when he got there.
“But when the other horses got to him he found plenty. He showed plenty of speed the whole way round and did it well in the end.”