The rise and rise of Japonisme has continued with the three-year-old claiming some big scalps in the San Domenico Stakes at Rosehill.
The Chris Waller-trained gelding came to prominence late in the season and his Group Three win on Saturday was his fourth consecutive victory and most important by a long way.
Among the horses in his wake was the Golden Slipper winner Vancouver, the $2.40 favourite to keep his unbeaten record intact.
But the high-profile colt could only manage fourth, 2-1/4 lengths from the winner who ran the 1100 metres in a race record 1:02.75.
It was left to King’s Troop ($6.50), beaten by Japonisme on debut last month, to chase the winner home, coming up half a length short with Haptic ($11) another length away third.
The $1 million Golden Rose is now an option for Japonisme who has been promoted to $5.50 second favouritism behind Vancouver at $3.20.
“I thought if he ran well today we would have a Group One horse but it might not be until the autumn,” Waller said.
“But the Golden Rose is a very hard race to bypass. It’s in our backyard and it’s worth a million dollars.
“(Owners) the Inghams are a sporting family. They won’t be worried if he gets beaten. They’d prefer to have a go – it’s their nature.
“They’ll be telling me what to do.”
The decision on King’s Troop has already been made with the Gerald Ryan-trained colt to have a break with the big sprint races early in the new year in mind.
His three-quarter brother Snitzel won the 2006 Oakleigh Plate and that race is among the options.
“He is better than a winter horse and we know that now,” Ryan said.
“I would have been pleased if he had run in the top four and this is a bonus.”
As for Vancouver, Waterhouse was looking for answers.
“I couldn’t see him being beaten,” she said.
“Whether it was the top weight or the 1100 metres, I don’t know.
“I didn’t come here today to get beaten but if he has to be beaten, better today than in the Group One.”