Chris Waller’s Group 1 champ Japonisme will attempt to return to winning form second-up in Sydney’s The Shorts 2016 at Randwick Racecourse this weekend.
One of the key support acts on the George Main Stakes Day card, this year’s $200,000 Group 2 Bowermans Office Furniture Shorts (1100m) has attracted a final field of 11 short-distance specialists.
Sitting top of The Shorts field and carrying 58kg at set weights plus penalties is Waller’s 2015 Coolmore Stud Stakes winner Japonisme.
The now four-year-old has won just one race since that success down the Flemington straight, taking out the Group 2 Arrowfield 3YO Sprint (1200m) at Randwick on April 9.
He kicked off his spring prep with a first-up sixth to Felines in the Group 3 Concorde Stakes (1000m) at fortnight back struggling under 60kg as the beaten favourite on a Heavy (8) track.
Firming going, the step up to 1100m, a drop back in weights and the advantage of a first-up run should see improvement this weekend with Japonisme to jump from barrier four with Hugh Bowman aboard.
The big danger but drawn wide out in barrier 10 is the returning Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott-trained English.
Tommy Berry rides the now four-year-old Encosta De Lago mare who was last seen defeating Black Heart Bart in the Group 1 All Aged Stakes (1400m) at Royal Randwick in mid-April.
She has won two subsequent trials at the track, both with Berry aboard, and is undefeated first-up (2-2-0-0) heading into The Shorts where she’ll need to be at her best to have the sprint in the 1100m.
The Ron Quinton-trained Boss Lane has the outside alley (11) in The Shorts field this season, while the tricky rails run at Randwick belongs to Ball Of Muscle.
Joe Pride runs Dubawi six-year-old Ball Of Muscle first-up this weekend at his pet distance, the gelding boasting two wins and a second from four previous runs over the 1100m.
That record includes a second behind Rebel Dane in The Shorts last year, which he backed-up form with a Moonee Valley second in the Group 1 Moir Stakes (1000m).
He was last seen running eighth to Griante at Rosehill in the Group 1 The Galaxy (1100m) from March 19, but has a good record when resuming (6-2-2-1) and has won back-to-back recent trials at Warwick Farm.
Also first-up and drawn close to the rails needing to stay out of trouble early from gate three is the Con Karakatsanis-trained Howmuchdoyouloveme.
The veteran eight-year-old was last seen racing at Gosford on January 8 winning the Listed Takeover Target Stakes (1200m), but runs well fresh (9-4-2-1) and has genuine claims over the short sprint distance (9-3-2-1).
Other notable hopes include Gary Moore’s Stratum four-year-old Takedown who ran third to Japonisme in the Arrowfield Stakes before winning the Group 3 Gold Coast Guineas (1200m) in Queensland, and the Peter & Paul Snowden-trained Dothraki who beat home Winx (3rd) in a recent Warwick Farm trial over 1000m on September 9.
Check out the full The Shorts 2016 field, barriers and jockeys below before heading to Ladbrokes.com.au to back your favourites at the hottest spring odds.
2016 The Shorts Final Field & Barrier Draw
Randwick Race 7 (3:55pm) – 17/09/2016
|#||Form (Last 10)||Horse||Trainer||Jockey||Br.||Wgt.||Hcp. Rating|
|1||31x35313x6||JAPONISME||Chris Waller||Hugh Bowman||4||58kg||109|
|2||1x3223x68x||BALL OF MUSCLE||Joseph Pride||Kerrin McEvoy||1||57kg||105|
|3||67x243120x||TAKEDOWN||Gary Moore||Tim Clark||6||56.5kg||96|
|4||1126x1631x||ENGLISH||Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott||Tommy Berry||10||56kg||110|
|5||x13x73525x||DOTHRAKI||Peter & Paul Snowden||TBA||5||56kg||106|
|6||362x70x718||SMART VOLATILITY||John Sargent||Tye Angland||8||55kg||104|
|7||x3415370x5||BOSS LANE||Ron Quinton||TBA||11||55kg||101|
|8||5829x1391x||HOWMUCHDOYOULOVEME||Con Karakatsanis||Craig Williams||3||55kg||101|
|9||2x0130x10x||KAEPERNICK||Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes||Christian Reith||2||55kg||97|
|10||1x6211111x||CLEARLY INNOCENT||Greg Bennett||Brenton Avdulla||9||55kg||95|
|11||24x04288x2||SARAJEVO||John O’Shea||James McDonald||7||55kg||86|