The Thunder Down Under lines up for a tilt at his third-successive TJ Smith Stakes and victory would catapult the gelding past $8m in stake earnings. Jockey Tommy Berry has been on board at both previous wins and will take the ride. After resuming in the G2 Rubiton Stakes at Caulfield, he looked to lack the sprint that he has become accustomed with. Closer analysis of the sectional times told the real story with closing fractions up there with the best he has ever run. He then closed out strongly in the Canterbury Stakes on a heavy 10 to get within a head of Le Romain. Out to 1500m for the first time in his career in the George Ryder, he hit the line well for 3rd, with the mighty Winx well clear and Le Romain 2nd. Back to the TJ after supposedly being set for the Doncaster, will it be another Team Hawkes training masterstroke?
Still chasing an elusive Group 1 victory, the Matthew Dale trained sprinter has placed on four occasions at the elite level. Of those four G1 placings, three have been at 1200m, including a 1.3 length 2nd to Chautauqua in the 2016 edition of this race. This campaign the 5YO enters the TJ on the same prep as 2016 where he was third-up into the rich sprint. Resuming in the 1100m Oakleigh Plate, he settled mid-field and was doing his best work on the line when 6th to Sheidel. Second-up in the G1 The Galaxy at 1100mm run on a heavy 10, he was ridden closer to the pace but wasn’t comfortable in the going, finishing 6.5 lengths from Russian Revolution. He will have his 3rd jockey aboard this prep, with the Magic Man Joao Moreira booked to take the ride. The four-time 1200m winner won’t want the track any slower than soft.
Is Spieth the real-deal? There have been more questions asked of the 4YO than have been answered. Still yet to win above Listed level, he has been the hard-luck story in two Group 1 events where he has been an agonising 2nd. The first of those came in the G1 Darley Classic at the end of his Spring Prep where he was climbing all over the back of them looking for open space when beaten a head by Malaguerra . Resuming in the G1 Lightning over 1000m, he was again luckless and again wore the bridesmaid tag when again only a head from glory behind Terravista. Appearing harshly treated at the weights in the Newmarket Handicap, he was never in contention when over three lengths from Redkirk Warrior. He has 1 win from 2 attempts at Randwick, that win at 1100m in the Tattersalls Lightning. Can he stamp himself with victory here?
The Godolphin owned Astern will be looking to overcome a 16 year absence of a 3YO male in the TJ Smith winners. The colt will be first-up and will also have to match a statistic that dates back to 2009. That year the cult-hero Takeover Target was successful and that was the last time the winner was first-up in their prep. Astern had a four start Spring prep that was launched with a 1200m Rosehill victory in the G2 Run To The Rose, defeating Star Turn and Impending. Stepping out in the G1 Golden Rose he was dominant in recording a 2.3 length victory. His Campaign was rounded out with a 2nd in the G2 Roman Consul behind Russian Revolution and then 2nd in the G1 Coolmore behind Flying Artie. He is 3 from 3 when first-up, 2 from 2 on soft going and at Randwick is 3:2-1-0. James Doyle rides the colt for the first time.
The Group 1 sprint, run under weight-for-age conditions over 1200m is relatively new on the Australian Group racing calendar, being held at Group 3 level in 1998 and then receiving G1 status in 2005.
In 2017 ballot exemptions were awarded to the winner of the 2016 Premiere Stakes, 2016 Roman Consul Stakes, the 2017 Challenge Stakes and 2017 The Galaxy.
Total prizemoney on offer in 2017 is $2.5m with the winner to receive $1.46m. The 2016 winner was the Team Hawkes trained Chautauqua, ridden by Tommy Berry. The win made it successive wins for the grey superstar. Other past winners include Takeover Target, Black Caviar (twice), Apache Cat, Bentley Biscuit and Lankan Rupee.
The TJ Smith Stakes forms a part of the Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival.
Odds and previews are available for all the major Autumn Racing Carnival races at UBET's Autumn Racing Betting Hub.
|TJ Smith Stakes Guide|
|Date:||Saturday 1st April 2017|
|Race Time:||15:30 AEST|
|Race Type:||Weight For Age|
|2017 TJ Smith Stakes Odds|
The TJ Smith Stakes is a Group 1 race and did offer the highest prizemoney in the world for a sprint race until the announcement of The Everest. Total prizemoney on offer in 2017 is still a mammoth $2.5 million. Held on the Championship Day 1 at the Royal Randwick Racecourse, it is a weight-for-age race and covers a distance of just over 1200m. First ran back in 1997 as a Listed Race, it gained Group 3 status in 1998 before becoming a Group 2 race in 2002, then finally reaching Group 1 status in 2005. First named the Endeavour Stakes, it was changed in 1999 to the TJ Smith Stakes in honour of legendary trainer Thomas John (Tommy or TJ) Smith, who won 33 premierships in Sydney.
Some great horses have won this event, from Apache Cat in 2008 to Lankan Rupee in 2014. But there was no greater than Black Caviar, who won the major prize in 2011 and again in 2013, which also happened to be the mare’s final appearance in a race. Other notable winners include Mahogany (who earlier in his career won a VRC Derby) and Takeover Target (who was successful overseas and took cab driver Joe Janiak from obscurity to starring on the international stage). In 2016 Chautauqua recorded his second successive victory and in 2017 he will chase an historic three-peat.
|2016||CHAUTAUQUA||TOMMY BERRY||JOHN HAWKES||01:10.1|
|2015||CHAUTAUQUA||TOMMY BERRY||JOHN HAWKES||01:11.0|
|2014||LANKAN RUPEE||CRAIG NEWITT||MICK PRICE||01:12.1|
|2013||BLACK CAVIAR||LUKE NOLEN||PETER MOODY||01:09.6|
|2012||MASTER OF DESIGN||CRAIG WILLIAMS||DAVID PAYNE||01:08.8|
|2011||BLACK CAVIAR||LUKE NOLEN||PETER MOODY||01:08.7|
|2010||MELITO||BLAKE SHINN||GERALD RYAN||01:09.2|
|2009||TAKEOVER TARGET||NASH RAWILLER||JOE JANIAK||01:09.0|
|2008||APACHE CAT||COREY BROWN||GREG EURELL||01:11.8|
|2007||BENTLEY BISCUIT||NASH RAWILLER||GAI WATERHOUSE||01:10.6|
|2006||RED OOG||HUGH BOWMAN||JOE PRIDE||01:09.7|