IN Racing
Guineas appetiser for Japanese Emperor
Impressive debut winner Japanese Emperor will get his first look at Caulfield on Saturday.
NZ Racing Desk | September 13, 2022
Photo: Pat Scala (Racing Photos)

Impressive debut winner Japanese Emperor will get his first look at Caulfield on Saturday where he will be out to continue his winning ways in the Gr.3 Caulfield Guineas Prelude (1400m).

The Satono Aladdin gelding won by two lengths at Sandown last month and trainer Michael Moroney highlighted the Guineas Prelude as the best platform to launch the remainder of his spring campaign.

“We went through the programmes and thought this was the right path to take with him,” Moroney told RSN.

“He is not an overly big horse, but he is blessed with some natural talent.

“He seems to have kept going forward. He had a nice gallop here (Flemington) this morning and his manners have got to a stage where he is quite bombproof for a horse who has had limited practice. I have been impressed with him.”

With Caulfield rated a Soft5 on Tuesday morning, Japanese Emperor will likely be met by better footing than the Heavy9 conditions he met on debut, but Moroney said he is unsure how he will handle the track.

“We weren’t quite sure about the wet surface. We have had tracks here where we haven’t been able to let their heads go that much,” he said.

“He had trialled up on a couple of tracks that were cutting out and he seemed to get through it alright. He did mix his jumpout form – he jumped really well one time and the next time he didn’t.

“It is a bit of a guessing game with him at this stage.

“If it was on a nice, big track I would be pretty confident, but we really thought he needed to have a look at Caulfield before a race like the Guineas to see whether we are going to run in it.

“That is my only question, but he has got a lot of talent, it’s just a matter of the raceday pressure on the corner, which can get a few of them. They just get unbalanced as they come around it.”

Japanese Emperor was purchased out of Rich Hill Stud’s 2021 New Zealand Bloodstock Book 1 Yearling Sale draft by bloodstock agent Paul Moroney and Ballymore Stables for $360,000.

Out of the unraced O’Reilly mare Inthespotlight, a sister to the dam of Newgate Farm’s Group Three-winning sire North Pacific, Japanese Emperor was the most expensive yearling by Satono Aladdin sold in 2021.

Paul Moroney and his partner Catheryne Bruggeman were unable to travel to New Zealand to assess horses in-person that year due to COVID restrictions, and utilised hours of video footage to form an opinion on yearlings.

Michael Moroney will also line-up fellow Kiwi-bred Bankers Choice in the Gr.1 Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on Saturday.

“He is a handicap horse at the moment. He is well in the weights for a horse of his quality,” Moroney said.

“His form has been at 1400m and a mile in New Zealand so he has got quite good form at 1400m, albeit his biggest win in New Zealand was at a mile on a big track, that is the only question.

“I thought his first-up run (7th over 1400m at Caulfield) was just a pass mark but I think he has improved a lot since then. He has come on in his work.”

Previously trained in New Zealand by Stephen Marsh, the Mongolian Khan gelding won five of his 10 starts in his homeland, including the Gr.3 Anniversary Handicap (1600m) in his last New Zealand outing.

Japanese Emperor Caulfield Guineas Prelude Satono Aladdin Michael Moroney Rich Hill Stud New Zealand Bloodstock Book 1 Yearling Sale Paul Moroney Ballymore Stables O’Reilly Newgate Farm North Pacific Catheryne Bruggeman Bankers Choice Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes Stephen Marsh Mongolian Khan