After his struggles in top-class company last season, Japan claimed his first success since August 2019 as he edged out Trueshan to win by three-quarters of a length in the Group 3 Ormonde Stakes at Chester.
Aidan O’Brien’s horse did receive 5lbs from Alan King’s promising sort but the dual Group 1 winner showed his ability, producing only what was needed to claim success in the 1m5½f contest.
The five-year-old tracked the leading pair of Trueshan and Sonnyboyliston on the home turn, splitting the two and pushing into the lead with the latter fading away just before the final furlong.
Alan King’s runner threw down his challenge in the final stages, but the class of his rival was too much to handle and O’Brien’s servant claimed a welcomed success.
El Drama earned himself some black type, as the colt showed further progress when landing the Listed Dee Stakes for Roger Varian.
The three-year-old flew wide on the exit of the home turn, but it made little difference to the result.
Varian’s colt powered down the middle of the track, fending off the challenging Maximal on the rail to claim victory by a length.
Johnny Murtagh’s Earlswood claimed third late on, with market favourite Yibir finishing fourth for Charlie Appleby.
Jabbarockie continued his perfect start to the season with his second victory in as many starts, winning the 5f handicap for Eric Alston.
The eight-year-old dictated the race, making all to claim a ninth career success.
Tim Easterby’s Count D’orsay made up late ground to snatch second, while stablemate and course favourite Copper Knight claimed third.
Tom Dascombe recorded a 1-2 in the Class 2 maiden stakes with Mercurial just getting the better of stablemate Russellinthebushes by a head, while Master Zoffany claimed only his second career victory in the 7½f handicap for Richard Fahey.