Three Flat Horses To Follow From Ireland This Summer


On the basis of three runs, the Aidan O'Brien-trained Japan could be a leading player in the Epsom Derby come June for team Ballydoyle.

After a lacklustre seventh on debut which did not really offer too much, this three-year-old has won twice stylishly since in the colours of Derrick Smith.

He found another gear at Listowel in September to get back up under Donnacha O’Brien over seven, suggesting a staying trip could be down the line.

Three weeks later he scored in a first-time Group Two at Naas over a mile, beating a much more experienced horse in Mount Everest.

Looks interesting, and could be the yard’s number one Classic contender over the mile-and-a-half division, by which he would look to follow in the hoof-prints of his father Galileo; who of course won the British showpiece back in 2001.

Japan certainly is a name to remember this season.


Continuing on the topic of countries, Aidan O'Brien also has the exciting Norway to look forward to this campaign.

Similarly in the first colours of Derrick Smith, Norway did take his time to win his maiden at Naas at the third time of asking, having disappointed both at the Curragh - third to stablemate Sydney Opera House, and fifth on debut to Jessica Harrington's Klute.

After his victory in County Kildare, Norway took his campaign to Britain, and demonstrated to all his staying prowess in the Listed Zetland Stakes at Newmarket.

Held up in the last pair, he steamed home down the Rowley Mile under Seamie Heffernan and has already been well touted for the St Leger later on this season.

Below par on final start as a juvenile, but not many Galileo offspring have multiple runs as a two-year-old, so would have relished the winter break.


Sticking with the O'Brien's, Iridessa applies her trade for Aiden's son Joseph, and took the Group One bet365 Fillies Mile at Newmarket last term under Wayne Lordon.

In a division, where there is no current standout filly heading to the 1,000 Guineas, Iridessa will be sniffing for further success on the Rowley Mile in three weeks time, after a relatively successful start to her career.

An easy winner on debut at Killarney last July, she was beaten by a good winner in Skitter Scatter - the current 1,000 Guineas fav on her first start in group company by about four lengths, which was still very much a learning curve.

She brushed away the cobwebs with her return in the Guineas Trial at Leopardstown last weekend, where she faded late on, but will have fitness on our side next time out.

Definitely one to follow, and a mile looks best suited to her for now.