In a small field of 11 sprinters there is no lack of class or depth for the 2015 TJ Smith Stakes this weekend in Sydney, four of the country’s best at single figures to win the Royal Randwick feature.
Due to run as Race 8 at 4:30pm (AEDT) as the penultimate event on Day 1 of The Championships this Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival, the $2.5 million Group 1 Darley TJ Smith Stakes (1200m) features the world’s two equal highest rated sprinters plus plenty of other worthy opponents.
Currently two are battling for top spot in the latest TJ Smith Stakes betting markets at Ladbrokes.com.au with the Team Hawkes-trained improver Chautauqua narrow favourite over the Joe Pride-trained Darley Classic winner from the spring Terravista.
Drawn in barrier nine, a gate which has never produced a TJ Smith Stakes winner, four-year-old Encosta De Lago grey Chautauqua ran second in the Group 1 Darley Classic (1200m) in Melbourne last November before two good runs to kick off his autumn campaign.
First-up he won the Group 2 Rubiton Stakes (1100m) at Caulfield and then on March 14 he finished second behind runaway winner, the England-bound Brazen Beau in the Group 1 Newmarket Handicap (1200m) that produced last year’s TJ Smith Stakes winner.
While the barrier presents a hoodoo and the class of his rivals imposing, Chautauqua pays $2.80 to win his maiden Group 1 this weekend.
Hot on his heels in the TJ Smith Stakes odds at $3 is then Darley Classic winner Terravista for Pride who won the race with Red Oog (2006), the sprint star out wide in barrier 10.
Hugh Bowman rides the Captain Rio gelding, the five-year-old after his first win since the Darley Classic.
His first-up run was a third in the Newmarket Handicap, with Bowman in the saddle, and he’s tipped to improve on that with an excellent second-up record of three wins from four starts.
The two other hopes under $10 to win on the weekend are then Lankan Rupee ($5) in barrier four and the Gai Waterhouse-trained mare Sweet Idea ($7) taking on the boys from gate five.
Mick Price’s five-time Group 1 winning Redoute’s Choice five-year-old Lankan Rupee won the race 12 months ago with Craig Newitt in the saddle, the duo after another win this year on the back of a sixth in the Newmarket.
Sweet Idea meanwhile shoots for back-to-back Group 1 sprints in Sydney after a first-up victory by two and a quarter lengths in the Group 1 The Galaxy (1100m) at Rosehill on March 21.
She has a solid second-up record of a win and two seconds from three starts, and is drawn a treat in barrier five for star Brazilian hoop Joao Moreira.
Waterhouse has won three previous editions of the TJ Smith Stakes, named in honour of her late great father, but none since Bentley Biscuit (2007).
Barrier five meanwhile last produced a winner of the sprint classic in 2011 with the mighty Black Caviar winning the first of her eventual two, the undefeated champ returning to do it again in 2013.
See below for the latest TJ Smith Stakes 2015 betting odds, fixed win prices open at Ladbrokes.com.au now where all the Group 1 races are being offered at Best Tote or SP + 20% on your winnings this weekend!