Grandstands at Naas racecourse

Everest Conquered As Japan Hits The Heights

1 year ago

Aidan O’Brien duly landed Naas’ Group 2 Beresford Stakes for the 18th time on Sunday afternoon, but not with the horse many punters had supported as stable-third string Japan (11/2), ridden by Seamie Heffernan, got up on the line to beat hot favourite Mount Everest (11/8f) in a thrilling finish.

Followers of Betting.Net’s highly successful Race Of The Day tipping feature will have been quids in, as not only was the winner recommended at 7/1, but the 1-2 was also correctly highlighted in a high quality mile race that often provides significant pointers toward the juvenile colts’ pecking order going into the winter break.

Ryan Moore was aboard Mount Everest who came to Naas on the back of an impressive win in a Curragh maiden, but although the son of Galileo led 2 out and seemed to have all bases covered, he hadn’t reckoned on the determination of Heffernan’s mount Japan, who when switched off the rails came with a swooping late run that carried him into the lead in the very last strides, prevailing by a short-head with Michael O’Callaghan’s Power Of Now (7/1) running creditably to be three lengths back in third.  

“He was very green the first day and won nicely the next day [in heavy ground at Listowel],” O’Brien told reporters as Japan provided him with a fourth winner on the Naas card, and a remarkable eighth successive win in the Beresford Stakes. “We thought he would come forward again from this and he probably will. You couldn’t be happier. He followed the pace when the other two were going along.

“He’s a big, hardy horse, so he could be the type of horse for what was the Racing Post [now the Vertem Futurity Trophy at Doncaster] on October 28. He travelled well and did everything right so you’d have to be delighted with him really.”

Japan is now a top priced 25/1 shot with Betfair for the 2019 Investec Derby, while Mount Everest has eased out to 40/1 with Paddy Power for the same race despite his wafer-thin defeat.

Paul Alster

Written by Paul Alster

Paul Alster has been part of the British and international racing media for more than three decades working as a race commentator, TV/radio presenter, journalist, betting correspondent, SP returner, and form analyst. He’s always sought out overpriced runners in handicap races, a quest that excites him as much now as it did at the start of his career.