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High-class Japan drops to shortest distance since juvenile season in Meld Stakes

Japan (left): bids for his second win of the season when dropping to Group 3 company at Leopardstown
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6.00 Leopardstown
Green Room Meld Stakes (Group 3) | 1m1f | 3yo+ | RTV

The presence of 2019 Juddmonte International hero Japan, dropping to his shortest distance since winning the Beresford Stakes as a two-year-old, adds plenty of intrigue to this Group 3 event.

His season started with a win over 1m5½f – the longest trip he's ever tried – in winning the Ormonde Stakes and now he returns to Group 3 level again, having finished third to Pyledriver in the Coronation Cup and sixth to Wonderful Tonight in the Hardwicke Stakes.

Japan (white cap): finished third behind Ghaiyyath and Enable in last year's Coral-Eclipse over 1m2f

There have been a trio of encouraging boosts to the form of his latest effort at Royal Ascot just shy of four weeks ago, with stablemate Broome (runner-up in the Hardwicke) landing the Group 1 Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud on his next start.

Since then, Hukum (third) plundered the Group 3 John Smith's Silver Cup and Sir Ron Priestley (seventh) took the Group 2 Princess Of Wales's Stakes.

It will be an interesting experiment for Japan, who does not have to give away a penalty for his pair of top-level wins as a three-year-old – only for his Group 3 win at Chester in May.

Sinawann can be a leading contender if producing his very best form and probably wants a stronger pace than he encountered last time at the Curragh when fourth as 11-4 favourite in Listed company.

Sinawann: has form figures of 2123 at Leopardstown

It is possible that Leo De Fury, a son of Australia, could improve from four to five and he makes his seasonal bow after being gelded since his last start when trailing a stellar Irish Champion Stakes field.

He defied a 251-day absence to win readily on his first start of 2020 and is of obvious interest if he is fit enough for this.

Joseph O'Brien saddles a pair of talented three-year-olds in Snapraeterea and Visualisation, with the former running particularly well to finish fourth in the Hampton Court Stakes at Royal Ascot considering he failed to settle throughout.

What they say

Aidan O'Brien, trainer of Japan
We thought this race could suit him before we start building up for the autumn. We're probably going to space out his races a bit. He's coming down in trip but has obviously won a Juddmonte International in the past [over an extended mile and a quarter].

Jessica Harrington, trainer of Leo De Fury
It's nice to get him started again after a bit of a slow beginning to the year. He's been gelded over the winter and is in good order. We know he enjoys quick ground.

Mick Halford, trainer of Sinawann
He was drawn wide last time and the pace of the race didn't really suit him. He's been in terrific form since and fast ground will be ideal for him. He always runs well around Leopardstown so we're hoping for a big run.

Joseph O'Brien, trainer of Snapraeterea and Visualisation
Both horses ran well at Royal Ascot and this looks a nice race for them. Snapraeterea probably wouldn't mind a drop of rain. I don't think the ground should be a problem for Visualisation, having won on the all-weather early in the year.

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We thought this race could suit him before we start building up for the autumn. We're probably going to space out his races a bit
E.W. Terms