BIG Brown colt Apollo Sonic went within a whisker of sealing a cross pacific double in Japan following Bella Castani’s Stakes win at Belmont in the U.S.

Apollo Sonic is likely to contest the Japan Derby next month after finishing a nose second in the Aoba Sho Gr.2 (2400m) in Tokyo on Saturday.

Bred in Kentucky, Apollo Sonic has barely put a foot wrong in his short career and looms as a genuine Derby contender off the back of some portentous efforts in the lead-up.

“He is a quality colt who looks like he is racing towards his peak,” says Vinery’s Adam White.

“He was good early on coming through his grades but he had to prove himself against better horses (today) if he was going to be a genuine Derby horse and he did that.”

Apollo Sonic’s effort was only part of the story for Big Brown who enjoyed a superlative weekend with a new winner the tally – his 26th – and more importantly, a new stakeswinner on the board.

Bella Castani, another member of Big Brown’s first crop, came from behind to score a dominant win on turf in the Listed Tweedside Stakes (1609m) at the famous Belmont Park raceway in New York.

“Big Brown has really been on fire almost since the day his first crop turned three, which in light of what the stallion did as a three-year-old is not surprising,” says White,’’but he’s gone on from a very promising start to become a genuinely reputable sire.”