Trainer Joe Pride is hoping for a fast pace in Saturday’s “race of the carnival” the 2015 TJ Smith Stakes, his sprint star Terravista best off a hot speed.
While four Group 1s run at Royal Randwick for Day One of the Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival’s The Championships including the Doncaster Mile, Pride has stamped the $2.5 million TJ Smith Stakes (1200m) as the headline attraction.
“This is going to be the race of the carnival,” he told The Daily Telegraph.
Despite losing Chris Waller’s gun three-year-old and runaway Newmarket Handicap champion Brazen Beau to a trip to England, the weight-for-age TJ Smith Stakes field will still feature the other three best sprinters getting around this season.
The world’s equal highest rated sprinters Terravista and Lankan Rupee sit second and third respectively in the latest all-in TJ Smith Stakes odds at Ladbrokes.com.au whit markets led by the Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes-trained Newmarket Handicap runner-up Chautauqua.
A winner of nine of his 14 starts to date, Captain Rio five-year-old Terravista comes off a first-up third in the Group 1 Newmarket Handicap (1200m) at Flemington racecourse from March 14.
His record second-up is imposing, three wins from four starts, and the bookies are taking no chances with the gelding who returns to Randwick where he has won all four of his previous starts.
Terravista beat home Chautauqua and co during the spring winning the Group 1 Darley Classic (1200m) and is now after another elite level to add to his record on Saturday.
His chances of doing that are high, but will be aided if the speed is on according to the Warwick Farm-based Pride who chases his second TJ Smith Stakes trophy after winning in 2006 with Red Oog.
“This is the one we have aimed up for and really want to win,” Pride said of the TJ Smith Stakes.
“My horse has always been best off a fast pace and I’d like to think we will get that in the TJ.
“It (fast pace) wasn’t there in the Newmarket. I don’t want it to sound like sour grapes but the tempo very much suited Brazen Beau that day.
“All credit to Brazen Beau, he was fantastic, but I was happy with what Terravista did to get up for third.”
With an ace record at Randwick, Pride’s confidence is further boosted by the fact his gun galloper can handle all track conditions.
“He is four from four at Randwick, he loves it there,” he said.
“It won’t matter if it is wet or dry because he is effective on any track surface.”
Pride will also accept last year’s The Galaxy winner Tiger Tees, but the stable’s other nominee Kuro will be saved for the $500,000 Group 2 Arrowfield Stud Sprint against his fellow three-year-olds the following Saturday.
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