Romantic Warrior and James McDonald in the closing stages of the G1 Cox Plate at The Valley. (Image: Racing Photos)

Romantic Warrior winning the 2023 Cox Plate (Image: Racing Photos)

MVRC's Cox Plate wish list

Moonee Valley Racing Club scouts have returned from Japan on the hunt for their next international star, following reigning Cox Plate champion Romantic Warrior's Group 1 Yasuda Kinnen triumph in Tokyo on Sunday.

MVRC Head of Racing Charlotte Mills and director Su-Ann Khaw recently attended the Japanese Oaks meeting as well as the world-renowned Northern Farm, with eyes on a second Japanese galloper to join 2019 winner Lys Gracieux on the club's honour roll.

"We were very keen early on to understand their views to coming back to Australia," Mills said of Japanese participation.

"Northern Farm are obviously one of the biggest breeders and owners in Japan and they have a lot of say in which horses will or won't travel to Australia.

"We also went to Miho and Ritto training centres and spoke very directly to a lot of the trainers and obviously had a targeted list as to the horses we'd like to see in Australia.

"There are also a number of three-year-olds potentially for next year and the prospect of shuttle stallion scenarios is very appealing to the Japanese as well."

The G1 Takarazuka Kinen (2200m) to be run on June 23, which Romantic Warrior does hold an entry for, will be a key pointer for the MVRC as a 'win-and-you're-in' race to the Cox Plate.

Last year, the event was won by Japanese superstar Equinox, who instead tackled the G1 Tenno Sho (2000m) on the same weekend.

Furthermore, there is a US$3 million Japan Cup bonus, if the Cox Plate winner chooses to travel to Japan for the 2400-metre contest on November 24.

MVRC officials were also on hand in Hong Kong last December when Romantic Warrior won the Hong Kong Cup, hoping to lure back last year's winner.

Victoria Racing Club officials are currently in Japan as the first leg of its global Melbourne Cup Tour.


Romantic Warrior (HK) - Trained by Danny Shum

His record goes without saying and the reigning Cox Plate hero rightfully sits at the top of MVRC'S wish list. Romantic Warrior has gone on an undefeated winning run of a further four G1s since his W.S. Cox Plate triumph and club officials have kept in constant dialogue with connections since his win in a bid to have him back at the starting gates in October.

Prognosis (JPN) - Trained by Mitsumasa Nakauchida

A winner of half of his 14 race starts, the son of Deep Impact was a dual G2 winner over 2000m last year before placing in the Tenno Sho behind Equinox. The six-year-old has only enhanced his reputation this season by winning the Kinko Sho, before a close second placing behind Romantic Warrior in the QEII Cup.

Rousham Park (JPN) - Trained by Hiroyasu Tanaka

The five-year-old rose to prominence last season, with Damian Lane riding him to victory in May before a pair of Group victories over 2200 and 2000m respectively earned him a ticket to Hong Kong, where he finished eighth behind Romantic Warrior in the Hong Kong Cup. In his only start this year, he finished second in the G1 Osaka Hai (2000m).

Shahryar (JPN) - Trained by Hideaki Fujiwara

A G1 winner as a three-year-old over 2400m in the Japanese Derby, the well-traveled son of Deep Impact has won four races in his career, with two of them coming at the elite level. In 2022 he won the Sheema Classic in Dubai before traveling to Royal Ascot for the Prince of Wales's Stakes. He again traveled back to Dubai and the USA last year, where he finished third in the Breeders' Cup Turf. For the third-straight year, he attempted Dubai's G1 Sheema Classic, finishing second at his only race start in 2024.

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