Warwick Farm-based trainer Joseph Pride’s emerging galloper Title caused a boilover in Friday’s $100,000 Listed Takeover Target Stakes (1200m) at Gosford, the double-figure outsider cruising to a commanding win as odds-on favourite Squamosa faded to finish at the back of the field.
The Gai Waterhouse-trained Not A Single Doubt colt Squamosa, runner-up in the 2010 Golden Rose, was the raging favourite for this year’s Takeover Target Stakes having destroyed their rivals by five lengths in their first-up run lat start at Randwick in the Listed June Stakes (1100m).
Jumping away only moderately from their ideal barrier three draw today with ace hoop Nash Rawiller in the mount, Squamosa quickly drove up through the field to find the front and lead in the early stages.
Meanwhile jockey Jay Ford and his $26-outsider Title took their time, the eventual conqueror jumping from barrier 14 of 15 before crossing to settle into third behind the favourite.
The Honours List four-year-old, however, would emerge as a giant slayer just moments later.
Title was three deep on the turn, but courageously moved up to challenge Squamosa closing the gap between favourite and roughie rival to a mere neck at the top of the straight.
Once on the run for home it became clear that Squamosa was in real trouble.
Title dug deep and sprinted straight past the quickly-fading favourite and continued to romp away to a decisive victory.
“That was fantastic,” Pride said after the win, going on to say he believed Squamosa’s “explosive first-up win” had left him “flat second-up.”
On the line Title had an easy two and a half lengths to spare over a fast-finishing Jest Crewsin’ ($31) while the Kris Lees-trained Motspur ($21) was a further three quarters away in third.
Having weakened badly, Squamosa only managed to finish sixth and will likely be vetted after the shock defeat.
The Takeover Target success gave Title their seventh career win from 17 starts, boosting their total earnings to over $300,000.
“It was a really good effort from the horse,” Pride said.
“He’s a tough seasoned horse this horse, he was ready for it today.
“It’s nice to bring a horse up here and win this race.”
It was also the second win on the trot for Title and jockey Ford, who combined on June 11 to win over 1400m at Randwick in a brave effort after the horse blundered the start.
“I told him (Ford) to be positive but don’t drive him mad to be there because we’ve got an important assignment next week,” Pride said when discussing race tactics for the Takeover Target Stakes.
“He just found his way up to a nice position….then straight past the favourite.”
Ford had the pleasure of having ridden the race’s namesake winner back in 2004 when the great Takeover Target won the event formerly known as the Pacesetter Stakes.
Today’s winning trainer Pride was also there that day, his game gelding Red Oog finishing just a length back third to Takeover Target with the John McNair-trained Mustard splitting the two.
“Old Mustard split them when we ran third that day,” Pride recalled.
Eventual six-time Group 1 winning champ Takeover Target backed up from that effort to win the 2004 Ramornie Handicap at Grafton the next month, and already today’s Takeover Target Stakes winner Title is being tipped to follow in their hoofsteps and vie for the same double.
The $130,000 WHK Ramornie Handicap (1200m) will run at Grafton on July 13, and if Title does go on to that race he will face a tough test with dual Stradbroke Handicap winner Black Piranha having been confirmed as a starter.
Pride also said they would consider giving Title another run in between today’s big win and the Ramornie in the $100,000 Listed Civic Stakes (1400m) at Rosehill on July 2.
“There’s a chance we back up next week in the Civic,” he said.
“We’ll see how he pulls up, it was a big effort today and we’ll see if it doesn’t take too much out of the horse.”