Japan edges out stablemate Mount Everest to give O'Brien his 18th Beresford
A huge weekend for Aidan O'Brien and Team Ballydoyle continued at Naas on Sunday, with the highlight of a four-timer coming in the Group 2 Beresford Stakes when Japan gave the trainer an incredible 18th success in the race.
Japan, who was sent off at 11-2 under Seamie Heffernan, got up to short-head stablemate and 11-8 favourite Mount Everest to give O'Brien an eighth consecutive victory in the race, after which both colts were cut to 25-1 (from 50) for the Investec Derby.
The O'Brien four-timer, with Ryan Moore riding three of the winners, followed the trainer's Group-race treble at Newmarket on Saturday, when he landed two Group 1s, the Middle Park with Ten Sovereigns and the Cheveley Park with Fairyland, as well as the Group 2 Royal Lodge with Mohawk.
Japan, a brother to 2013 Oaks runner-up Secret Gesture, has much to live up to as O'Brien's previous two Beresford winners were subsequent Classic victors Capri in 2016 and Saxon Warrior a year ago, while the recent roll of honour also includes St Nicholas Abbey – another trained by O'Brien – and Sea The Stars.
Japan could follow the same path as Saxon Warrior, with the Vertem Futurity Trophy – previously the Racing Post Trophy – at Doncaster on October 27 mooted as a potential target.
O'Brien said: "We thought he'd come forward from his Listowel win. He followed the pace and found plenty when he had to.
"He's a big, hardy colt who should progress again. The Vertem Futurity is a race he could go for. The runner-up Mount Everest is a similar type and both will be middle-distance horses next year."
The bet365 Fillies' Mile is the likely target for Hermosa, who followed up her Moyglare third with a two-and-a-half-length win in the Group 3 Weld Park Stakes.
"She's a lovely laid-back filly who is coming forward with every run," said O'Brien. "She's crying out to go further and the Fillies' Mile looks the obvious race."
Magna Grecia got the day off to a successful start for O'Brien and Moore when justifying favouritism in the 7f maiden for unraced juveniles.
The son of Invincible Spirit won by three and a half lengths and O'Brien said: "He's a big powerful colt and you couldn't really have asked him to do any more first time out. He was green but when he got straightened out he found plenty."
Also on the scoreboard for Ballydoyle was Cypress Creek, who took the Group 3 Loughbrown Stakes by two and three-quarter lengths.
O'Brien said: "He's the work companion for Kew Gardens and gets two miles really well. He should stay further next year."
St Leger winner Kew Gardens, Hunting Horn and Capri will be left in the Qatar Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe on Monday, as could Magical, although she could go for the Prix de l'Opera instead.
"It's looking as if Kew Gardens will run in the Arc once we are happy with him during the week," said O'Brien. "And we might run another couple.
"Magic Wand will probably go for the Prix de l'Opera, while we're looking at running Pink Dogwood in the Marcel Boussac and Broome in the Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere."
While unable to provide O'Brien with a third top-flight success on Saturday, Mendelssohn's third place in the Jockey Club Gold Cup at Belmont also pleased the trainer, with the Breeders' Cup Classic at Churchill Downs on November 3 still very much the plan.
"We were delighted with him," said O'Brien. "We thought he had progressed from his run at Saratoga and we think he'll progress again. There was plenty of pace on, there are no slow races over there, in that part of the world they don't do slow."
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