It is a battle of the super sprinters in the TJ Smith Stakes 2015 at Randwick on Saturday, the Team Hawkes-trained Chautauqua leading the current markets for the Doncaster Mile Day feature.
Four Group 1 races headline an ace day of Easter Saturday racing this weekend for Day 1 of The Championships, including the lucrative $2.5 million Group 1 TJ Smith Stakes (1200m).
It is truly one of the best line-ups a TJ Smith Stakes field has ever seen this Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival including Encosta De Lago four-year-old Chautauqua, the grey galloper having run top two in 10 of his 12 starts.
His latest win was two back in mid-February at Caulfield in the Group 2 Rubiton Stakes (1100m) before his second to runaway winner Brazen Beau in the Group 1 Newmarket Handicap (1200m) at Flemington four weeks later.
Chris Waller’s super valuable three-year-old Brazen Beau misses the TJ Smith Stakes rematch and instead is being prepared for an international run at Royal Ascot during our winter, leaving Chautauqua as the one to beat in Sydney on Saturday.
In the pre-field TJ Smith Stakes odds at Ladbrokes.com.au Chautauqua pays $3 to break his Group 1 duck but is trailed closely by the world’s equal highest-rated sprinter Terravista ($3.20).
Joe Pride’s Captain Rio gelding Terravista beat Chautauqua home by a neck at Flemington during the spring in the Group 1 Darley Classic (1200m) and returned with a Newmarket Handicap third last time out.
He should be improving on that as he returns to Randwick where he boasts a flawless record of four wins from as many starts, most recently in the Group 2 The Shorts (1100m) on September 20 last year.
The only other single figure fancy in the TJ Smith Stakes betting markets ahead of the final acceptances closing at 9am (AEDT) on Tuesday is then Lankan Rupee paying $5.50 to win his sixth Group 1 trophy.
The other equal highest rated sprinter in the world, Mick Price’s Redoute’s Choice five-year-old has won just shy of $4 million in prize money and is looking for his first win since a first-up victory over Brazen Beau in the Group 1 Lightning Stakes (1000m) at Flemington on February 21.
His latest run was in the Newmarket when sixth, a run he’s out to improve on here when defending his TJ Smith Stakes title.
Lankan Rupee won three Group 1s on the trot last autumn with victories in Melbourne’s Oakleigh Plate and Newmakret Handicap before the TJ Smith Stakes, and this weekend is out to become the first back-to-back winner in the race’s history.
Black Caviar won two TJ Smith Stakes but with a year in between her 2011 and 2013 victories.
Outside the dominant three in the TJ Smith Stakes this autumn the only genuine fancy for an upset is Gai Waterhouse’s Group 1 The Galaxy winning mare Sweet Idea ($10) before the markets open right up with Lucky Hussler ($21) and Rubick ($21) the next best in betting.
Stay tuned to Races.com.au for the TJ Smith Stakes 2015 field and barrier draw on Tuesday, today your last chance to lock in the generous futures odds on offer for the race at Ladbrokes.com.au!