A capacity field of sixteen fillies will line up...
Rob Heathcote’s Queensland warhorse Buffering is looking to bounce back from a disappointing first-up loss at Randwick and challenge the favourite Lankan Rupee in Saturday’s 2014 TJ Smith Stakes.
The duo currently occupy the top two lines of betting for this year’s $2.5 million Group 1 Darley TJ Smith Stakes (1200m), Mick Price’s flying four-year-old Lankan Rupee currently holding favouritism at $4.
Hot on his heels in the TJ Smith Stakes betting markets following yesterday’s release of the final field and barriers is then six-year-old Mossman gelding Buffering at $6.
One of the country’s most consistent Group 1 performers, after years of trying the honest galloper finally scored an elite level of his own in the Manikato Stakes at Moonee Valley last October.
They went on to make it two more on the trot bringing their Group 1 tally to three also winning Flemington’s VRC Sprint Classic and then the Winterbottom Stakes in WA.
Buffering resumed on March 15 at Randwick, however after hitting the front early in the Group 2 Challenge Stakes (1000m) they lost their spot and struggled on the rail over the final couple of hundred meters eventually getting shuffled back to seventh.
The big question now being whether they can bounce back and score their fourth Group 1 victory at a distance that will suit much better, from an ideal barrier two draw and having had their first run at Randwick in four years last start.
As for the current TJ Smith Stakes betting favourite Lankan Rupee meanwhile has drawn one inside of Buffering and will jump from the inside alley.
The in-form gelding has won their last five starts including a Group 1 double in Melbourne this season taking out the Oakleigh Plate and Newmarket Handicap by good margins in February and March.
While it’s been over a month between runs for them, Lankan Rupee was given a trial at Randwick last Friday over 835m which they won ahead of their Sydney debut.
The third and final TJ Smith Stakes hopeful under $10 in the latest markets is then Gordon Lord Byron (barrier 11) at $9.
Tom Hogan’s Irish raider debuted in Australia on March 29 and scored an upset win over a class field in the Group 1 George Ryder Stakes (1500m) at Rosehill as a 20-1 outsider.
They’re second-up here, should have improved from that run and are starting to acclimatise but do drop back noticeably in distance.
Will they be too sharp for them here? Or can the visitor make it a Group 1 double down under?
Their record back in Europe shows Group 1 winning form from last September over 1200m, so they can handle the distance and a wet track making them a genuine shot.
Other top fancies high up the markets after an upset then include:
- #16 Zoustar ($11) – Barrier six for Chris Waller’s northern Meteor colt, winner of the Golden Rose Stakes – Coolmore Stud Stakes double during the spring, big 4.5 length win at Randwick last October too in the Roman Consul, but first-up eighth in the Canterbury Stakes here was disappointing, found to be lame post-race but won a Rosehill trial on March 31 indicating they could be back on track for this
- #5 Rebel Dane ($11) – Gary Portelli-trained four-year-old is the early market mover, Glen Boss’ mount first-up here not having raced since a VRC Sprint Classic seventh behind Buffering last November, they haven’t raced at Randwick yet but are unbeaten first-up, are an ace wet track performer and this is their pet distance
- #18 Villa Verde ($14) – Anthony Cummings-trained Not A Single Doubt filly, this impressive young grey won the Challenge Stakes first-up in an upset beating some of the big name players on Saturday, her last effort was on March 29 when third in The Galaxy where she had to settle at the back in a slowly run race before making up lots of late ground to come within one and a half lengths, gets more distance here and back at Randwick so with the speed on is a flying chance
Challenge Stakes runner-up Snitzerland, last start Coolmore Classic champion Steps In Time, international performing four-year-old Shamexpress and Cummings’ William Reid Stakes runner-up Fontelina then all follow at $18 to become the eighth TJ Smith Stakes winner since 1983 to win at double figures.
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2014 TJ Smith Stakes Odds
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