A line-up of gun sprinters face off in Saturday’s 2015 TJ Smith Stakes at Royal Randwick, a race threatening to steal the spotlight on Doncaster Mile Day in Sydney that we have the top betting tips for below.
Running as Randwick Race 8 at 4:30pm (AEDT), this autumn’s $2.5 million Group 1 Darley TJ Smith Stakes (1200m) features a field of 11 led narrowly in the markets at Ladbrokes.com.au by Chautauqua ($2.80 out to $3).
Jockey Tommy Berry chases his first win in the sprint classic this year aboard the Team Hawkes-trained favourite, four-year-old Chautauqua coming off a second to England-bound Brazen Beau in the Group 1 Newmarket Handicap (1200m).
The same Flemington sprint produced last year’s TJ Smith Stakes winner Lankan Rupee, a firming $4.80 shot at going back-to-back this weekend, and also Chautauqua’s main danger this Saturday in third placed Terravista ($3.10).
Joe Pride’s star Captain Rio five-year-old beat both Chautauqua (2nd) and Mick Price’s now five-time Group 1 winner Lankan Rupee (3rd) home in the Group 1 Darley Classic (1200m) last spring before his first-up Newmarket third.
His second-up record is good, three wins from four starts, and he’s also undefeated at Randwick with four wins from as many goes at the Sydney track.
The last of the four single figure hopes in the TJ Smith Stakes odds, and the only ones under $31 to win, is then the Gai Waterhouse-trained mare Sweet Idea in from $7 to $6.50 to successful back-up from her Group 1 The Galaxy win at Warwick Farm.
So can the much-hyped Chautauqua score his maiden Group 1 or will one of his close rivals get the job done instead in this star-studded edition of the TJ?
#2 Terravista ($3.10)
The record over the track and distance from Pride’s Darley Classic winner is just too good to ignore. He’s never been beaten over the 1200m at Randwick, and boasts a total of four wins from as many runs at the track so he’s a definite specialist here. He beat two of the big dangers home in the spring’s premier Group 1 and can do it again here second-up with improvement to come off the Newmarket run. Out wide in barrier 10 for jockey Hugh Bowman, that’s the only down side, but think he has the class to do it even from out wide. Rain or no rain he’s a versatile galloper too so track conditions are a non-issue for this one.
#10 Sweet Idea ($6.50)
The punters are starting to clue onto the danger this The Galaxy winning mare presents to the big wigs in the TJ on the weekend. Waterhouse has trained three previous winners of this race and the in-form Sntizel four-year-old Sweet Idea has the form to suggest she can win another this autumn. Sweet Idea did it over 1100m at Rosehill in Group 1 company first-up and if she improves, ace Brazilian hoop Joao Moreira riding making that an even stronger possibility, can surprise at big odds. She’s a dual winner at the track and distance and has only been defeated once at Randwick so will love getting back to her pet track this weekend.
#1 Lankan Rupee ($4.80)
His sixth in the Newmarket wasn’t exactly sparkling, but there is no doubting the class of this five-time Group 1 winner who has amassed just a tickle under $4 million in prize money to date. He has had just the one run at Randwick when winning this race 12 months ago so needs to handle the Sydney way of going again, but think he and regular rider Craig Newitt will get a gun run from barrier four and can surprise the favourite enough to sneak into a close trifecta.
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*All odds quoted are Fixed Win from Ladbrokes.com.au and subject to change