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Ambitious crack at Canterbury Stakes

Japonisme breaks new ground in his 20th career start by tackling a Group One race first-up in the Canterbury Stakes.

The four-year-old Chris Waller-trained gelding returns to action in the $500,000 Canterbury Stakes (1300m) on Saturday following a 17-week spell after his ninth in the Group One Darley Classic at Flemington in November.

“It’s an ambitious task first-up, a Group One weight-for-age 1300 but realistically there’s only really a couple of genuine weight-for-age horses in the race,” Waller said in his weekly video preview.

The winner of the 2015 Coolmore Stud Stakes, Japonisme has yet to be tested beyond 1200 metres.

Along with the $2.80 favourite Chautauqua, Waller rated 2016 Randwick Guineas winner Le Romain ($5) and the Bjorn Baker-trained Doomben 10,000 winner Music Magnate ($3.80) as the obvious dangers.

A $17 chance on TAB fixed odds, Japonisme finished third in barrier trials at Warwick Farm and Rosehill last month leading Waller to describe him as “going all right”.

Sydney’s wet weather should not be a concern with four of Japonisme’s six wins recorded on soft tracks with Randwick classified a heavy 9 on Friday.

“Our horse seems to handle the wet although he failed in the wet in the start of the last preparation,” Waller said.

“Maybe there was some underlying issues that we never really worked out but he did bounce back to form later in the prep.”

Waller was confident Randwick Guineas favourite Comin’ Through ($4.60) would handle 1600 metres in the wet.

“He’s had two runs on soft tracks for a win (on debut at Warwick Farm last September) and he had a personal best last start in terms of form and rating.

“That gives me a little bit of confidence to suggest that he should handle a heavy track.

“The horse is ready to run a mile, he looks like a miler and races like a miler.”

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