Howden Australian Guineas Day 2024 2 Mar 2024

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Better barrier gives Group 1 placegetter a chance of improved showing.

Japanese Emperor has already demonstrated an ability to run a big race a whopping price on Australian Guineas Day and Mike Moroney thinks a low barrier gives him a chance to do so again this Saturday.

The Satono Aladdin four-year-old will contest the $130,000 Good Friday Appeal Plate at Flemington.

He hasn't won since his debut, 14 starts ago, and hasn't placed since his third in last year's Group 2 Alister Clark Stakes, which followed another third placing in the Australian Guineas at $101, but Moroney said he has not had things gone his way this campaign.

Japanese Emperor has drawn seven of nine, seven of 11, six of eight, nine of 10 and 11 of 12 at his past five starts, where his best results have been a couple of fifth placings.

One of those came at his most recent start, at Flemington on February 17, which has Moroney buoyant after coming up with gate two for Saturday's 1600m event.

"He's been drawing off the track but he's finally drawn a gate and that should make a big difference," Moroney said.

"We'll ride him a little bit handier, so hopefully that'll make a difference because we won't have to ride him right back.

"His last two runs have better, without a doubt."

Japanese Emperor is a $31 chance in a market dominated by odds-on favourite Another Wil, who is chasing a hat-trick of wins after 3-1/2-length and 3-1/4 lengths wins at his past two starts.

Moroney has two hopes of going a couple of spots better than Japanese Emperor did in the Guineas, with The Pendragon and Run Harry Run to contest this year's $1 million Group 1, but the market suggests the Flemington trainer's best chance of a win comes up in the $80,000 VRC Punters Club Sprint.

Big Watch is chasing back-to-back Flemington wins after running down Ouroboros last start and that colt is an $11 chance in the $1 million Inglis Sprint on the same card.

"He quickened up nicely the other day, he got back to last and was going backwards at the time, but then we got in the clear he picked them up quickly."

"I thought her won really well. There's no reason why he can't win again."

Jamie Mott retains the ride on Big Watch with Daniel Stackhouse to partner Japanese Emperor.

Photo Credit: Japanese Emperor (NZ) on the way to the barriers prior to the running of the Royal Ascot Plate at Flemington Racecourse on February 17, 2024 in Flemington, Australia. (Photo by George Sal/Racing Photos)