Five-time Group 1 winning sprinter Lankan Rupee wears the number one saddlecloth in a star-studded field of 11 for the TJ Smith Stakes 2015 at Royal Randwick on Saturday.
One of four Group 1 showdowns headlining the action of Day One of The Championships this weekend, the $2.5 million Group 1 Darley TJ Smith Stakes (1200m) is due to jump as Race 8 at 4:30pm (AEDT) and is shaping up as the event of the day.
Mick Price saddles up one of the dominant three in the markets at Ladbrokes.com.au, Redoute’s Choice gelding Lankan Rupee after his incredible sixth Group 1 trophy this weekend where his winnings will surpass the $4 million mark.
He defends his title in the TJ Smith Stakes having won it 12 months ago on the back of a Group 1 sprint double in Melbourne taking out both the Oakleigh Plate and Newmarket Handicap.
Lankan Rupee jumped from barrier one and carried 58.5kg for his win last Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival as the short-priced favourite, the third favourite in four years to win the short-distance feature.
On Saturday he is drawn in barrier four, which last produced a winner in 2012 with Master Of Design, with jockey Craig Newitt also looking for back-to-back TJ Smith Stakes victories.
A first-up winner of the Group 1 Lightning Stakes (1000m) down the Flemington straight, Lankan Rupee comes via the Newmarket Handicap again this year but needs to improve on his disappointing sixth in that lead-up won by superstar colt Brazen Beau.
The best Newmarket Handicap performer backing up along with Lankan Rupee in the TJ Smith Stakes in Sydney meanwhile is the Team Hawkes-trained runner-up Chautauqua who has been leading the Ladbrokes.com.au markets for Saturday.
Jockey Tommy Berry shoots for his maiden TJ Smith Stakes win aboard the smart Encosta De Lago four-year-old, a recent winner of the Group 2 Rubiton Stakes (1100m) at Caulfield, who races in Sydney for the first time in 12 months.
Chautauqua jumps from a wide barrier nine draw however, the last TJ Smith Stakes winner to jump from further out than barrier 7 being Spinning Hill (barrier 11, 2003).
The world’s equal highest-rated sprinter along with Lankan Rupee, Terravista is the other big name acceptor in the TJ Smith Stakes on Saturday.
The Joe Pride-trained Captain Rio five-year-old however will need every ounce of his class after drawing barrier 10 of 11.
Winner of the Group 1 Darley Classic (1200m) during the Melbourne Cup Carnival last November defeating both Chautauqua (2nd) and Lankan Rupee (3rd), Terravista comes off a first-up third in the Newmarket and boasts a gun second-up record of three wins from four starts.
Pride also saddles-up Tiger Tees in barrier two with in-form Sydney hoop James McDonald booked for the ride on the Dubawi seven-year-old out to atone for a dead last behind 2015 Doncaster Mile hope Cosmic Endeavour in the Group 1 Canterbury Stakes (1300m) from March 7.
Gai Waterhouse meanwhile saddles-up the only other genuine hope according to the bookies, Sydney’s leading lady of racing after her fourth TJ Smith Stakes victory this year with Sweet Idea.
The ultra-consistent Snitzel mare ran second in the Group 1 Myer Classic (1600m) over the Flemington mile during the spring before returning on March 21 at Rosehill with a commanding win in the Group 1 The Galaxy (1100m).
She’s after back-to-back Sydney Group 1 sprint wins then on the weekend and jumps from a midfield barrier five draw with Brazilian hoop Joao Moreira in the saddle.
Check out the full TJ Smith Stakes 2015 field, barriers and jockeys for the weight-for-age showdown below then head over to our preferred online betting agency Ladbrokes.com.au to get behind your Saturday race selections at the guaranteed best odds!
2015 TJ Smith Stakes Final Field & Barrier Draw
Randwick Race 8 (4:30pm) – 04/04/2015
|#||Form (Last 10)||Horse||Trainer||Jockey||Br.||Wgt.||Hcp. Rating|
|1||11x2213x16||LANKAN RUPEE||Mick Price||Craig Newitt||4||58.5kg||118|
|2||110x1151x3||TERRAVISTA||Joseph Pride||Hugh Bowman||10||58.5kg||112|
|3||715x112x12||CHAUTAUQUA||Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes||Tommy Berry||9||58.5kg||111|
|4||1437x112x8||TIGER TEES (NZ)||Joseph Pride||James McDonald||2||58.5kg||111|
|5||90x3136x59||FAMOUS SEAMUS (NZ)||Noel Mayfield-Smith||Tim Clark||1||58.5kg||109|
|6||x9214x02x0||FONTELINA||Anthony Cummings||Zac Purton||8||58.5kg||107|
|7||x14131x334||FAST ’N’ ROCKING||David Hayes & Tom Dabernig||Dwayne Dunn||11||58.5kg||102|
|8||6x090x3x74||RAIN AFFAIR||Joseph Pride||Craig Williams||6||58.5kg||102|
|9||144×422704||LORD OF THE SKY||Robbie Laing||Damien Oliver||7||58.5kg||98|
|10||29x12412x1||SWEET IDEA||Gai Waterhouse||Joao Moreira||5||56.5kg||114|
|11||x416744x01||PRESS REPORT||Lee Curtis||Jason Collett||3||54.5kg||80|