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Jockey Brenton Avdulla is hoping a return to Terravista’s pet track at Royal Randwick will also spark a return to form for the talented Joe Pride-trained sprinter in Saturday’s TJ Smith Stakes 2016.
To date the Captain Rio six-year-old has had seven runs at the Randwick course for an impressive five wins and a third, a gun record he’s out to add to this weekend in the $2.5 million Group 1 Darley TJ Smith Stakes (1200m).
One of four Group 1 races on Day 1 of Sydney’s ‘The Championships’, this year’s TJ Smith Stakes field attracted 15 sprinters with markets at Ladbrokes.com.au currently led by the John O’Shea-trained Lonhro colt Exopshere ($2.80).
Also high up the TJ Smith Stakes betting markets is the defending champion Chautauqua ($3.50) in barrier 11 with last year’s winning hoop Tommy Berry back in the saddle.
Terravista meanwhile is rated a $14 hope of posting his first win since taking out the Group 2 Premier Stakes (1200m) in early October last year as the odds-on favourite.
He has had four runs since, including two Group 1 placings over the 1200m.
The first of those was in Flemington’s Group 1 Darley Classic (1200m) in November beaten only a long neck when attempting to go back-to-back in the Melbourne Cup Carnival clash, and the second was his brave first-up second to Chautauqua when just nosed out of the Group 1 Lighting Stakes (1000m) in Melbourne.
Last start Hugh Bowman rode the gelding for his disappointing ninth to Griante in the Group 1 The Galaxy (1100m) at Rosehill on March 19.
Bowman jumps off Terravista this weekend opting to partner Chris Waller’s Darley Classic winner Delectation from barrier two, the Shamardal four-year-old coming off a last place finish when ninth to The Quarterback in the Group 1 Newmarket Handicap (1200m).
That paved the way for Avdulla, current clear leader by 10 wins in the New South Wales Jockeys Premiership, to snap up the ride on a horse he describes as “one of our most talented sprinters.”
“His run the other day [in The Galaxy] was OK, he was obviously up in the weights in a handicap [carrying 58kg to the winner’s 51kg],” Avdulla told Racenet.
“Back to weight-for-age suits and at the end of the day he’s one of our most talented sprinters going round.
“His run up the straight was awesome, he was stiff not to win, and his record at Randwick is five from seven.”
Terravista contested last year’s TJ Smith Stakes and was beaten two lengths when third with Bowman aboard.
He’s out to go two better this season then off a different lead-up and hand his trainer Pride with a second success after his TJ Smith Stakes win with Red Oog back in 2006.
The other big chance in TJ Smith Stakes betting this year is the Gai Waterhouse-trained filly English ($9) who has work to do from a nasty barrier 14 of 15 draw; no winner jumping from double digits since Spinning Hill (11 of 11) in 2003.
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