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Cranbourne’s Robbie Laing is confident his mare Missrock won’t be disgraced when she takes on super sprinter Redzel for a fourth time in Saturday’s TJ Smith Stakes 2018 at Royal Randwick.
The short-distance highlight on Day 1 of ‘The Championships’, this autumn’s Group 1 $2.5 million Darley TJ Smith Stakes (1200m) features a 14 starter field full of depth.
Drawn to perfection in barrier six and undefeated over the track and distance, Redzel was impressive second-up winning the Group 2 Challenge Stakes (1000m) a month ago and caught the eye with a three length hit-out success on March 26 to keep him fit.
Laing is under no illusions that Redzel won’t be hard to beat on Saturday, but holds hope that his four-year-old daughter of Fastnet Rock Missrock can finish in the money with time still on her side to win a Group 1 race.
“Obviously Redzel’s the one to beat. I’m hoping for some Soft ground for her, but that’ll also suit Redzel. I think she’s right up there with them,” he told Racing Victoria on Tuesday.
“She’s only a four-year-old, I reckon she’ll be better again in six months, and maybe even 12 months. If she doesn’t get the elusive Group 1 this preparation, there’s still time for her.”
She has come up against Redzel three times previously, the latest seeing her run a huge third in the Group 1 Black Caviar Lightning (1000m) at Flemington first-up on February 17 when Redzel was run down in the dying seconds for his second to Redkirk Warrior.
While Redzel returned to Sydney next-up, Missrock stayed in Melbourne and faced off against Flemington straight track specialist Redkirk Warrior again in the Group 1 Newmarket Handicap (1200m).
There she only managed a mid-field seventh on Super Saturday, albeit under three lengths beaten.
Now third-up in the TJ Smith Stakes she will be tested on her right leg, Missrock racing in Sydney for the first time since her second to Secret Agenda 12 months ago at Randwick in the Group 2 Sapphire Stakes (1200m).
Her only other start at the Randwick track produced an April 2016 win in the Group 3 Percy Sykes Stakes (1200m), form Laing hopes she can continue when she returns there on Saturday in tougher company.
“She’s had two runs there,” he said.
“As a two-year-old, she went up and won the Percy Sykes and last year she went up and ran second in the Sapphire against the older mares, so two runs there for great performances.”
The latest TJ Smith Stakes odds have Missrock listed as a $61 outsider after she drew out wide in barrier 13.
Her hoop in the Black Caviar Lightning Damien Oliver comes back aboard on the weekend and Laing hopes they can enjoy another big run after the mare’s nice piece of work on Tuesday morning.
“She galloped on the A-grass this morning, early, it was nice and cool, the track didn’t have a footprint on it,” he said yesterday.
“She ran about 34 seconds – it was dark when I tried to time her. She hit the line hard, and pulled up very well.”
Check out the latest TJ Smith Stakes 2018 odds now at Ladbrokes.com.au on Redzel and the challengers including Missrock.
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