Jockey Glyn Schofield is hoping a change of gear for Japonisme will see the Group 1 winner return to the winner’s stall in the Group 3 $150,000 Festival Stakes (1500m) at Rosehill on Saturday.
Schofield was aboard Japonimse when he won the Group 1 $500,000 Coolmore Stud Stakes (1200m) as a three year old at Flemington during the 2015 Melbourne Spring Carnival and his only other win since was for Hugh Bowman in the Group 2 $500,000 Arrowfield 3yo Sprint (1200m) at Randwick during the 2016 Sydney Autumn Carnival.
Trainer Chris Waller has removed the blinkers and added a crossover noseband and a tongue tie to Japonusme’s race day gear and Schofield is hoping that can help bring the five year old back to winning form.
Japonisme is coming off a last start sixth for Tye Angland in the Listed $150,000 Ladies Day Cup (1400m) at Hawkesbury on November 9 and Schofield got re-acquainted with Japonisme with an all the way win in a 1200m Warwick Farm barrier trial on November 21 and said he felt great.
“He was high quality Group 1 performer but he seems to have lost his way,’’ Schofield said.
“His form suggests he needs to improve. He’s at the crossroads and we need him to turn around from the road to nowhere.’’
“He jumped and led under no pressure and was entitled to win (the barrier trial),’’ he said.
“I’m glad that he won the trial. A little bit of rain would help him enormously and if he comes back to anywhere near his old form he just wins.’’
Jaonisme has drawn the rails and is marked at $16 for the Festival Stakes at Ladbrokes.com.au while his stablemates Mister Sea Wolf ($5) and Good Project ($11) are higher up in the betting.
Irish import Mister Sea Wolf will be having his first race start for the Waller stable while Good Project has been freshened up after finishing tenth in the Listed $120,000 Paris Lane Handicap (1400m) at Flemington on October 7.
Mister Sea Wolf has drawn nicely at barrier four with Tim Clark booked to ride while Good Project will jump from gate six for Blake Shinn.