As part of the huge increases in prizemoney that occurred with the introduction of The Championships, The TJ Smith Stakes is now the world’s richest sprint race. With total stakemoney of $2.5m, the winner is set to pocket $1.4m for just over 70 seconds of racing.
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 2016 ballot exemptions were awarded to the winner of the 2015 Premiere Stakes, Roman Consul Stakes, the 2016 Challenge Stakes and The Galaxy. Previous winners of the race include Takeover Target, Black Caviar (twice), and Lankan Rupee. 2015 winner Chautauqua will look to join Black Caviar as the only dual winners of the race.
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 2nd April 2016|
|Race Time:||16:00 AEST|
|Race Type:||Weight For Age|
|2016 TJ Smith Stakes Odds|
|13||FELL SWOOP||2ND||$3.10 (pl)|
|5||OUR BOY MALACHI||-||-|
|10||FAST 'N' ROCKING||-||-|
FLAMBERGE and OUR BOY MALACHI should go forward with EXOSPHERE, BOSS LANE and DOTHRAKI not far away. TERRAVSTA should be midfield in the ruck while CHAUTAUQUA, ENGLISH and FAST ‘N’ ROCKING will drop out to the rear.
EXOSPHERE can gain redemption for his defeat in the Lightning Stakes (1000m) down the Flemington straight. His trials leading into that race were nothing short of outstanding. It just didn’t work out for Exosphere in the Lightning, drawing barrier one and following the outsider of the field (Va Pensiero) up the slower side of the track before losing cover 600 metres out, reeling off a 20.65 second split, and only peaking on his effort late to finish under two lengths from CHAUTAUQUA. Exosphere has again trialled well ahead of this race and should enjoy a perfect run.
CHAUTAUQUA’s win in the Lightning Stakes has to be seen to be believed – he came from a hopeless position 250 metres out to win by the smallest of margins from TERRAVISTA. Chautauqua was then topweight in the Newmarket Handicap (1200m) and got back in a slowly run race. His customary sharp sprint was nullified by the tempo, combined with 58kg with The Quarterback beating him down the grandstand side. No shame in that given how well The Quarterback performed in the William Reid behind FLAMBERGE after missing the start.
KNOYDART was third first up last prep in the Gilgai Stakes (1200m) behind Chautauqua and DELECTATION, those two horses ran the quinella later in the spring in the Group 1 Darley Classic (1200m). Knoydart had the pattern of the day against at his last start at Flemington on Derby Day. He’s been unplaced in two recent trials but hasn’t been knocked around in either hitout and should sprint well fresh.
FAST ‘N’ ROCKING is a get-back, run-on type who ran a credible sixth in this race last year. Look for him driving late.
At their best TERRAVISTA and DELECTATION are among the best sprinters over 1200 metres in Australia but their last runs were well below their best. Can they atone? ENGLISH was very strong through the line in the Galaxy with just 51kg. She again draws wide and the weight-for-age scale is less kind to her.
The 10 time winner is looking to make it successive TJ Smith victories following his narrow victory in the race last year. Since his biggest career payday the striking grey gelding has put together an impeccable form-line with his 7 starts since last year’s victory returning the figures of 7: 4-1-2 and $1,643,000 in stakes, with 2 of those wins at G1 level in the Manikato Stakes and the Lightning Stakes. Last start in the Newmarket Handicap he may have found the 58kg a bit much and will appreciate returning to weight-for-age conditions here. He was 3rd up in his preparation when winning this last year and when 3rd up has recorded 3 wins, including winning the G1 Manikato and also a 2nd in the G1 Darley Stakes.
Opening favourite following the barrier draw, Exosphere is a 5 time winner from 9 starts, with 4 of those wins at Group level. 1st up in the G1 Lightning Stakes at in February, the colt seemed lost on the spacious Flemington straight 1000m and finished 4th of the 6 runners after starting the 2nd favourite. Returning to Sydney the star colt trialled at Randwick on March 18 in impressive fashion over 1045m, recording a 2.3 length victory with the track rated a Heavy 8. His lone G1 win came against 3YO company in the 2015 Golden Rose over 1400m at set weights and 3 of the beaten brigade from that race have been subsequent G1 winners- Speak Fondly, Press Statement and Holler.
Lightly raced the 3YO filly has faced the starter on just 6 occasions, recording 3 wins and one 2nd. Trialling twice prior to returning after being unsighted in the Spring, the Gai Waterhouse trained filly turned in impressive performances in both trials. In her first trial she defeated subsequent Group winners Winx, Amicus, Charlie Boy and First Seal, while in the second trial she defeated subsequent Golden Slipper winner Capitalist. 1st up in the G2 Challenge Stakes she defied the betting drift to land the prize, sprinting from well back in a scintillating finishing burst, recording strong sectionals in the process and then in the G1 The Galaxy she never got into the contest from a wide barrier.
With Group 1 wins at 3 of his past 7 starts, Flamberge finds himself on the 7th line of betting following the barrier draw. He fared well at the marble drop and will start from gate 8. First up this preparation in the G1 Oakleigh Plate, he carried 58kg from gate 15 and scored a narrow win. On March 24 he then contested the G1 William Reid at Moonee Valley over 1200m and again scored a narrow victory. He has never raced at Randwick previously and from just 3 starts the Sydney right handed way of going, was a winner of the G3 Sebring Stakes defeating G1 winners Hot Snitzel and Temple Of Boom. A six time winner over 1200m, he is the only last start winner in the race and a G1 race at that.
The TJ Smith Stakes is a Group 1 race and is the world’s richest sprint, with prize money of $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).
|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|