Not since the 2006 Group 1 Melbourne Cup over 3200m at Flemington had two Japanese-bred runners finished first and second in an Australian Group 1. Both those runners, Delta Blues (JPN) ridden by Yasunari Iwata and Pop Rock (JPN) ridden by Damien Oliver, were trained by Katsuhiko Sumi.
On that occasion it was the first time that Iwata had ridden internationally. After that success Iwata rode Lord Kanaloa (JPN) to win at Sha Tin in 2012/13. For Oliver it was another close call in a race he had previously won on Doriemus (NZ) in 1995 and Media Puzzle (IRE) in 2002. Oliver also won the race for a third time in 2013 on Fiorente (IRE).
Both Brave Smash and Tosen Stardom had raced in Japan before being imported to Australia to be trained by Victorian based Darren Weir.
The winner Brave Smash, ridden by Craig Williams who has ridden in Japan on short term contracts, first raced in Australia in August, 2017. A listed winner in the 2015 Royal Cup over 1600m at Tokyo the five-year-old entire soon repeated the stakes success winning the listed Chandler Macleod Stakes over 1200m at Moonee Valley. The Futurity Stakes win was his first at Group 1 level.
He is from the famous Japanese Sunday Silence sire dynasty being by Tosen Phantom out of the Tokai Teio mare Tosen Smash. His record advanced to four wins from 20 starts with nine placings and stakes earnings of A$2 million.
Tosen Stardom has much more experience racing in Australia. The seven-year-old entire was second in the 2015 Group 1 Ranvet Stakes over 2000m at Rosehill before returning to Japan and winning his second listed race, the 2015 Cassiopeia Stakes over 1800m at Kyoto. He has also won at Group 3 level in Japan.
Back in Australia Tosen Stardom was second in the 2017 Futurity Stakes before a successful 2017 Southern Hemisphere spring. Under Weir’s care he won the Group 1 Toorak Handicap over 1600m at Caulfield followed by the Group 1 WFA Mackinnon Stakes over 2000m at Flemington.
Tosen Stardom is by Deep Impact out of the End Sweep mare Admire Kirameki. The second place took his record to seven wins and five placings from 27 starts with stakes earnings of A$3.4 million.
With their success at the highest level both runners will no doubt eventually find places at stud in Australia when they are retired from racing further cementing relations between the Australian and Japanese breeding and racing industries.