While the Group 1 2012 TJ Smith Stakes was hyped up as a two-horse battle between Foxwedge and Rain Affair, huge outsider Master Of Design has ended up taking top honours in the $1 million sprint.
As is typical, Sydney star Rain Affair jumped to an early lead and as they turned into the final bend had a one-and-a-half length lead.
Outside of Rain Affair, the field was tightly bunched and they came together and came hard at the leader but it was the David Payne-trained Master Of Design who was able to edge out the second favourite by half a head.
A son of Redoute’s Choice, the six-year-old went into the race as a $31.00 outsider but proved he was far more talented than that.
Trainer Payne said he was happy to see the horse live up to his potential after having some problems earlier in his career.
“He’s been a problem horse but he’s got so much ability. At least he’s delivered today,” Payne said.
“We should’ve won the Oakleigh Plate but you know, it was his day today.”
Payne spoke to highly rated jockey Craig Williams before the race and was happy to back the rider’s judgement heading into the high profile sprint.
“He said to me, big runner today let me ride him my way. I said, help yourself,” Payne said.
Williams was grateful to get another chance on the horse after riding him to a ninth-place finish in the Oakleigh Plate.
“I owed David and the connections a luckier ride than when I rode him in the sprint race in Melbourne,” Williams said.
“Group 1 level against some really good sprinters and he delivered for us. I’m very grateful to get the ride.
“David Payne was great today, he just came in and said I’m leaving it all up to you.”
As they came into the straight it looked as if Rain Affair would post a twelfth career victory but the Joseph Pride-trained gelding had to settle with second while Gai Waterhouse filly Hallowell Belle ran third.
Foxwedge, who was this week sold in a stud deal worth a reported $13 million, was unable to repeat the sort of form that saw him beat Hay List in the William Reid Stakes and produced a highly disappointing last-place finish.
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2012 TJ Smith Stakes – Results
|1||3||MASTER OF DESIGN||David Payne||Craig Williams||–||4||58.5kg||$31|
|2||1||RAIN AFFAIR||Joseph Pride||Corey Brown||0.2L||6||58.5kg||$2.70|
|3||6||HALLOWELL BELLE||Gai Waterhouse||Tommy Berry||0.4L||1||54.5kg||$18|
|4||2||NEESON||Joseph Pride||Michael Rodd||0.8L||5||58.5kg||$11|
|5||5||VARENNA MISS||Tony Noonan||Hugh Bowman||1.6L||2||56.5kg||$41|
|6||4||FOXWEDGE||John O’Shea||Nash Rawiller||3.8L||3||56.5kg||$2.10F|