Japonisme has led a Chris Waller-trained quinella in the Group 2 Arrowfield Sprint (1200m); beating home talented stable mate Counterattack in an exciting photo finish on Day 2 of The Championships at Royal Randwick this afternoon.
Japonisme has posted a number of commendable results at the highest level this time without being able to secure a race win, but jumped from the gates well in the Arrowfield Sprint and settled in a good position on the fence as Kinglike, Takedown and Petits Filous injected plenty of tempo from the outset.
Jockey Hugh Bowman elected to peel the son of Choisir off the fence round onto the final straight and the gelding responded with a big turn of foot; sustaining a strong enough sprint to withstand a late charge from Counterattack.
Bowman claimed his third win from five rides this afternoon in partnering Japonisme to success in the Arrowfield Sprint, and was thrilled to be aboard the three-year-old in his return to winning form.
“I was confident in him, though I think he’s a better horse on top of the ground,” Bowman said after crossing the line.
“It was a bit of a tactical race because I had Petits Filous on my outside and she wasn’t coping with the Sydney bend.
“I didn’t want to make use of him when I did but I thought that if I allowed Damien (Oliver) to take his position, he’ll be looking out for me and I thought she was one of the main dangers.
“Credit to the horse but in saying that, he had a bit of a look around in front and nearly threw it away but a Chris Waller 1,2, an excellent training performance.
“After he ran so beautifully at Moonee Valley in the William Reid recently we said we’d come here, and he hasn’t let anyone down.”
Waller was understandably pleased with Japonisme’s win in the Arrowfield Sprint and believes both he and Counterattack will continue to impress at the highest level in seasons to come.
“The winner is a Group 1 horse and even last start in the William Reid he was very unlucky not to win that, so he’s a consistent Group 1 galloper,” Waller said.
“The other colt is getting there but unfortunately today wasn’t his day and Japonisme had a slightly easier run from a better draw, but they’ll even up as time goes on and you’ll see a Group 1-winning colt, I guarantee.
“I think year-in, year-out you’ll see the better colts stay up for this race and it won’t be long until it’s a Group 1 too.”
Japonisme returned to racing this time for a close third in the Group 1 Black Caviar Lightning Stakes (1000m) in February; progressing to fifth in the Group 1 Newmarket Handicap (1200m) and third in the Group 1 William Reid Stakes (1200m) leading into this afternoon’s triumph.