Romantic Warrior And J-Mac Do It Again

Danny Shum’s Romantic Warrior and James McDonald have won their fifth consecutive Group 1 together, producing a run for the ages to defy all challengers in the Yasuda Kinen at Tokyo on Sunday.

The freakish son of Acclimation started his incredible string of form in last year’s Cox Plate, and is yet to be defeated since, also claiming the HK Cup, HK Gold Cup and QEII Cup in recent months.

But, dropping from 2012m to a mile in his first Japanese venture, Romantic Warrior’s winning streak looked in trouble as the big field turned for home on Sunday, trapped between runners as a $2.80 favourite.

Things looked even more dire as second favourite Soul Rush ($5) and the warmly supported Namur ($8.50) began to motor home down the outside, with both looking huge chances halfway down the straight.

But McDonald had found space at the 350-metre mark, and even in unfamiliar territory, Romantic Warrior started to move through his gears and hit the lead.

Shum’s galloper had little right to hold the challengers off, especially coming back in trip, but in a manner we now all know so well, lifted almightily to keep his rivals at bay.

In fact, he never looked like losing over the final furlong, sprinting clear and holding a three-quarter length margin on the line, posting his most comfortable victory of the five-peat.

The victory was Romantic Warrior’s 15th from 20 starts, and his eighth at the elite level, taking his career prizemoney tally over $27 million.

It now remains to be seen what’s next for the six-year-old, and with another trip to Australia still a possibility, the question must be asked – will Romantic Warrior be the first gelding to win back-to-back Cox Plates since Northerly?


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