Hugh Bowman has had to pull out all the stops to get Japonisme home in the Group Two Arrowfield Stud Stakes at Randwick.
As the only Group One winner in Saturday’s $500,000 1200m sprint, Japonisme was the punters’ favourite at $3.20.
Japonisme made his move inside the final 200m and it looked as if the race was in his keeping.
But he made a miss-step near the line and was almost nabbed by his Chris Waller-trained stablemate Counterattack ($10).
The margin between the pair was a nose with Takedown ($26) another half length third.
“It was a bit of a tactical race because I had Petits Filous to my outside,” Bowman said.
“She wasn’t coping with the Sydney bend. I didn’t want to make use of my horse but I thought if I allowed Damien Oliver to take his position, he would be looking out for me and I thought she was one of the main dangers.
“Full credit goes to the horse, however in saying that, he had a bit of a look around in front and nearly threw it away.”
After travelling on the pace, Petits Filous ($5) was overrun late and finished 13th of the 15 runners with Oliver saying she didn’t handle the clockwise direction.
Waller said Japonisme, who came into the race off a close third in the William Reid Stakes at Moonee Valley, was likely to go for a spell but Counterattack could head to the Brisbane carnival.
“Japonisme was a Group One winner in the spring and has been unlucky not to win another one since, in particular the William Reid,” Waller said.
“He came into the race with good form and he’s got the job done narrowly. At least it was a stablemate fighting him.
“We will look at where Counterattack’s rating puts him. He is a colt and it’s important for him to win a Group One race and the Stradbroke Handicap could be the one.”
Takedown’s trainer Gary Moore has also earmarked the Queensland winter for the gelding.
“If the owners agree, he’ll go to the Gold Coast Guineas,” Moore said.
“He’s a lot better horse on dry ground. When you look back to the Roman Consul form, Japonisme has won today and he finished third in the Roman Consul and we finished fourth so the form is there.
“I’m very excited.”