With Atlantic Jewel trainer Mark Kavanagh instead choosing to run the unbeaten filly in the Sapphire Stakes, it appears Saturday’s Group 1 2012 TJ Smith Stakes (1200m) will be a battle of two horses.
Just six horses were today named in the final field for the 1200 metre sprint and it would take a brave individual to suggest the winner will come from outside either Rain Affair or Foxwedge.
Sydney sprinter Rain Affair will be looking to add a first Group 1 win to his resume which currently stands at 11 victories from 13 starts.
Trained by Joseph Pride, the four-year-old finished sixth in his only Group 1 start to date which came in last month’s prestigious Newmarket Handicap.
A born sprinter, the TJ Smith 1200 metres is a distance he has won at on three occasions and he has won another five times at 1100 metres.
He comes up against an in-form Foxwedge who was sold recently in a stud deal reportedly worth $13 million.
The lucrative sale came on the back of the colt’s Group 1 win in the William Reid Stakes where he upstaged prolific sprinter Hay List.
It was the star colt’s first Group 1 victory but he has plenty of experience at the top level having finished second in the Coolmore Stud Stakes last year and third in the Newmarket Handicap.
The much-hyped three-year-old will be ridden by Nash Rawiller from barrier three on Saturday while Rain Affair will start from the outside barrier (6) with Corey Brown in the saddle.
Also set to run in $1 million event this Saturday is another Joseph Pride-trained gelding in Neeson.
A winner of eight of 26 starts, the five-year-old has shown promise this year when finishing second in the Southern Cross Stakes and third in the Group 2 Challenge Stakes to Rain Affair.
The other horses named in the field are last-start winner Hallowell Belle, David Hayes-trained Master Of Design and Varenna Miss who will be returning from a spell.
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2012 TJ Smith Stakes – Final Field and Barrier Draw
|No||Last 10||Horse||Trainer||Jockey||Barrier||Weight||Hcp Rating|
|1||1111X11161||RAIN AFFAIR||Joseph Pride||Corey Brown||6||58.5kg||112|
|3||1X1913X903||MASTER OF DESIGN||David Payne||Craig Williams||4||58.5kg||102|
|4||X12412X431||FOXWEDGE||John O’Shea||Nash Rawiller||3||56.5kg||111|
|5||49115X500X||VARENNA MISS||Tony Noonan||TBA||2||56.5kg||104|
|6||122224X331||HALLOWELL BELLE||Gai Waterhouse||Tommy Berry||1||54.5kg||99|