Head trainer and sole owner David Hayes believes the stable’s Caulfield Cup winner Boom Time will enjoy the pace of Sunday’s Grade 1 Japan Cup (2400m) at Tokyo Racecourse.
The six-year-old Flying Spur entire caught plenty by surprise on October 21 winning the Group 1 $3 million BMW Caulfield Cup (2400m) as a 50/1 outsider over the mile and a half.
Boom Time was found-out next time out when running a well-beaten 15th behind Rekindling in the Group 1 $6.2 million Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) over the two miles at Flemington on November 7.
The Lindsay Park-trained galloper returns to a mile-and-a-half for his international debut this weekend and Hayes is confident Boom Time can run an improved race as one of four raiders in the prestigious November feature.
“The Melbourne Cup, at two miles, was just a bit too far for him,” Hayes told Thoroughbred Daily News on Thursday.
“He’s actually bred to run about 1200 metres so I think he read his pedigree with about 600 metres to run.
“His best win was the Caulfield Cup and the horse he beat [in third, Johannes Vermeer] nearly won the Melbourne Cup.
“The Caulfield Cup was a gruelling race that I think was run at the type of pace the Japan Cup may be run, so that’ll stand him in good stead.”
Twenty-seven years ago Hayes trained the sole Australian Japan Cup winner, Better Loosen Up, before Jeune finished a luckless sixth in the 1994 edition behind local champ Marvelous Crown.
Hayes said he was excited to be back in Japan with a livewire chance in 2017, Boom Time out to be the first non-local stayer to salute since the British-trained Alkaased in 2005.
“We’re very excited to be here,” he said.
“Being here this morning brought back a lot of happy memories.
“I’ve had two runners here, Better Loosen Up and Jeune, who was an unlucky sixth, so we’re hopeful we can be competitive and run right up there at the top of the order.”
Hayes added that it was very hard to make comparisons between Better Loosen Up and Boom Time, but that this year’s chance had the advantage of a previous win over the distance on his record.
“Better Loosen Up was a much higher-rated horse in Australia than Boom Time, but Boom Time is a proven mile-and-a-half horse where Better Loosen Up was a proven 2000 metre horse at the time of the Japan Cup,” Hayes said.
“I don’t think you can compare the two horses.”
Caulfield Cup winning hoop Cory Parish is over for the ride on Boom Time, a $26 chance in Japan Cup odds at Ladbrokes.com.au after drawing barrier 10 of 17, and put the horse through his paces on the dirt track there on Thursday.
Reigning champion and 2016 Japanese Racehorse of the Year, Kitasan Black, in barrier four is the firm favourite to salute in back-to-back editions of the Japan Cup for the first time since Gentildonna (2012-13).
Top five in betting for the 2017 Japan Cup at Ladbrokes.com.au: Kitasan Black ($2.70), Rey de Oro ($3.60), Satono Crown ($6.50), Makahiki ($11), Soul Stirring ($13).