The John O’Shea-trained Exosphere has opened narrow favourite in TJ Smith Stakes 2016 betting to post his second Group 1 win in Saturday’s Royal Randwick sprint feature.
There are four elite levels on the Doncaster Mile Day card this weekend including the $2.5 million Group 1 Darley TJ Smith Stakes (1200m) that is set to run as Race 8 at 4:30pm (AEDT).
Of the 15 in the mix the shortest-priced in the latest TJ Smith Stakes odds at Ladbrokes.com.au is the Godolphin-raced Lonhro colt Exosphere paying $2.80 after coming up trumps with barrier four.
The gate last produced a TJ Smith Stakes winner in Master Of Design (2012) and Exosphere is out to become the first three-year-old to salute since Melito (2010) six years ago.
Winner of last September’s Group 1 Golden Rose (1400m), he has taken out five of his nine starts to date and comes off a first-up fourth when beaten only 1.7 lengths by last year’s TJ Smith Stakes champion Chautauqua in the Group 1 Lightning Stakes (1000m) at Flemington on February 20.
Exosphere has won his only other Randwick start to date beating home Zoutenant by an impressive three and a quarter lengths in the Group 2 Roman Consul Stakes (1200m) in the spring and blitzed a recent trial over 1040m at the track in the mud on March 18.
The defending TJ Smith Stakes winner Chautauqua is the next best in TJ Smith Stakes betting this Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival at a current quote of $3.50 to go back-to-back in the classic.
The Team Hawkes-trained son of Encosta De Lago got the job done 12 months ago from barrier 8 of 10 and is drawn wider in gate 11 this season.
While horses drawn wider than eight haven’t won the race since 2003, Chautauqua has the class to overcome the barrier.
Since his TJ Smith Stakes win last autumn he has won another four times including the Lightning Stakes in Melbourne two back and comes off a close third beaten under a length in the Group 1 Newmarket Handicap (1200m) from March 12.
The only other single figure hope in the markets is the Gai Waterhouse-trained English at $9 looking to emulate Melito (2010) and Dilly Dally (2004) as the most recent fillies to take out the race.
Runner-up to Vancouver in last year’s Group 1 Golden Slipper (1200m), the three-year-old daughter of Encosta De Lago won the Group 2 Challenge Stakes (1000m) first-up at Randwick before her sixth last start in the Group 1 The Galaxy (1100m).
English had a tough run in The Galaxy from barrier 14 of 14 and is in the same barrier this weekend with Tommy Berry replaced by Blake Shinn who rode Melito to victory in the race for trainer Gerald Ryan.
Outside the hopes under $10 the next best in betting are Joe Pride’s ace sprinter Terravista ($14) who has a gun Randwick record of five wins and a third from seven starts at the track to date, and the Chris Waller-trained 2015 Darley Classic winning four-year-old Delectation ($17) who Hugh Bowman has opted to ride from a favourable barrier two draw.
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