Valuable sire-in-the-making Foxwedge has opened the narrow top elect in the TJ Smith Stakes 2012 odds for this Saturday’s Australian Guineas Day clash at Randwick, John O’Shea’s William Reid Stakes winner seeking their second Group 1 win on the trot.
Last seen getting the better of Australia’s second best sprinter Hay List in the William Reid Stakes under the lights at Moonee Valley on March 23, Fastnet Rock colt Foxwedge will be out to beat home just five other runners in the $1 million Group 1 Darley TJ Smith Stakes (1200m) on Saturday.
Drawn nicely in barrier three with Nash Rawiller to ride them in the weight-for-age showdown, Foxwedge has opened the punters pick in the TJ Smith Stakes betting markets at bookmaker.com.au at a quote of $2.10.
A born 1200-metre specialist, Foxwedge races in Sydney for the first time since their Group 2 Roman Consul Stakes win over this track and distance last October.
Close second favourite in the current TJ Smith Stakes odds at bookmaker.com.au is then Joe Pride’s ultra-consistent sprinter Rain Affair paying $2.15.
The classy Commands four-year-old has won 11 of their 13 career starts to date but is as yet to break through with a thoroughbred major.
After running a disappointing sixth behind Hay List in the Group 1 Newmarket Handicap (1200m) at Flemington on March 10, a race Foxwedge finished a gallant third in, Rain Affair returned to the winners stall at Rosehill with a smart victory over Satin Shoes in the Group 2 Challenge Stakes (1100m).
On Saturday they will jump from the outside barrier six with Corey Brown aboard, Pride confident they had come through the Melbourne run well and were ready to get back to the business of winning in Sydney this weekend.
“It couldn’t have been any harder than Melbourne when he was on his side crabbing his way up the straight, plus he had the trip down there and back,” Pride said.
“He’s got amazing resilience.
“I thought he might have been vulnerable the other day, particularly when he got it served up to him, but he came through that okay.”
Rain Affair’s stablemate the fellow Pride-trained Neeson is then the next best fancied in the TJ Smith Stakes this year.
An early market mover now paying $11 to upset the dynamic top two, Mossman five-year-old Neeson comes off a third in the Challenge Stakes and has previously winning form over 1200m at Randwick thanks to their big two and a half length victory in the Group 2 Premier Stakes on October 1 last year.
While hopeful of a good showing from Neeson, Pride knows that Rain Affair really is the better horse in the TJ Smith Stakes.
“Rain Affair would have to run below his best for Neeson to beat him,” Pride said.
“Nothing went his way last start and he still had the tenacity to fight them off.
“Neeson is a very good horse in his own right and over this distance, but all things being equal Rain Affair is the best for the stable.”
The only other hopeful rated any kind of chance is then Gai Waterhouse’s Starcraft filly Hallowell Belle, and the way Waterhouse is travelling of late only the bravest of punters would ignore her crop completely.
Previously prepared by Peter Moody, Hallowell Belle has three times raced against Group 1 company when second to Sepoy in last year’s Blue Diamond Stakes, second again this time to Streama in the 2011 Flight Stakes and then most recently a brave fourth by boom filly Atlantic Jewel in the Thousand Guineas at Caulfield last spring.
This time in for Waterhouse Hallowell Belle has been on song for a big one and was last seen winning the Listed Darby Munro Stakes (1200m) at Rosehill from the extreme outside barrier 14 (of 14) on March 31.
Rounding out the 2012 TJ Smith Stakes field and odds are then Tony Noonan’s resuming mare Varenna Miss ($71) and the David Payne-trained Master Of Design ($101) coming off a third in the Group 3 Sebring Stakes (1100m) at Rosehill’s Golden Slipper Day last Saturday.
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2012 TJ Smith Stakes Odds
Royal Randwick Race 4 – 1:40pm – 14/04/2012
|1||RAIN AFFAIR (6)||2.15|
|3||MASTER OF DESIGN (4)||101.00|
|5||VARENNA MISS (2)||71.00|
|6||HALLOWELL BELLE (1)||13.00|
*Fixed Win Odds provided by bookmaker.com.au and subject to change