The 2014 T.J. Smith Stakes field and barrier draw has been released; with commanding favourites Lankan Rupee and Buffering drawing next to each other on the inside of the capacity field of 18 runners.
Lankan Rupee stamped himself as a clear favourite for the 2014 T.J. Smith Stakes after winning both the Group 1 Oakleigh Plate (1100m) and Group 1 Newmarket Handicap (1200m) and will jump from barrier one with Craig Newitt on his back this weekend.
Starting next to Lankan Rupee in the 2014 T.J. Smith Stakes field will be Buffering, who was the star sprinting performer of the 2013 Spring Racing Carnival.
Buffering finished his spring campaign with three straight wins in the Group 1 Manikato Stakes (1200m), Group 1 VRC Sprint Classic (1200m) and Group 1 Winterbottom Stakes (1200m), but was slightly disappointing when seventh in the Group 2 Challenge Stakes (1000m) at Royal Randwick on March 15.
Trainer Robert Heathcote is confident that Buffering can return to his best form in the T.J. Smith Stakes this weekend and the son of Mossman remains a chance of being named Australian horse of the year if he performs well in the Group 1 event.
Gordon Lord Byron made his Australian racing debut with a fast-finishing win in the Group 1 George Ryder Stakes (1500m) at Rosehill Gardens on March 29 and has been included in the 2014 T.J. Smith Stakes field.
The son of Byron has previously performed well over sprinting distances in Europe, winning the Group 1 Prix De La Foret (1400m) and Group 1 Sprint Cup (1207m), and jockey Craig Williams revealed this morning that he would not hesitate to take a forward position from barrier 11 in the $2.5 million event on Saturday.
Another sprinter taking winning form into the feature sprint of the Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival is Spirit Of Boom, who was allocated gate 15 in the 2014 T.J. Smith Stakes barrier draw.
Spirit Of Boom broke through for his maiden win at Group 1 level in the William Reid Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley on March 21 and has been one of the form sprinters of the autumn, but according to trainer Tony Gollan will struggle if the Royal Randwick track is affected by rain this weekend.
One trainer who will be hoping that the rain continues to fall in Sydney in the lead-up to the 2014 T.J. Smith Stakes is Joseph Pride, who has last start winners Tiger Tees and Steps In Time as well as veteran sprinter See The World in the field for the Group 1 sprint.
Steps In Time (barrier 13) scored a tough front-running win in the Group 1 Coolmore Classic (1500m) at Rosehill Gardens on March 22, while Tiger Tees (barrier four) broke through for his first Group 1 victory in The Galaxy (1100m) at Rosehill Gardens on March 29.
Rebel Dane is one of the most interesting runners in the 2014 T.J. Smith Stakes field and will be having his first start since the 2013 Spring Racing Carnival on Saturday.
The California Dane entire is a proven performed at Group 1 level and jockey Glen Boss and trainer Gary Portelli are both extremely bullish about his chances in the T.J. Smith Stakes.
Danny O’Brien-trained Shamexpress (barrier 17), Darley sprinter Sessions (barrier 20), Coolmore Classic runner-up Sweet Idea (barrier 19) and Black Caviar Lightning Stakes winner Snitzerland (barrier 21) all received wide gates in the 2014 T.J. Smith barrier draws, but that might not be an issue on Saturday; with the wet a chance of making the inside rail the slowest part of the track.
The T.J. Smith Stakes will be run with a capacity field of 18 runners for the first time in the history of the race; with New Zealand mare Irish Fling, Sebring Stakes winner Flamberge and the resuming Peron all emergencies for the event.
2014 T.J. Smith Stakes Final Field And Barrier Draw
|No||Last 10||Horse||Trainer||Jockey||Barrier||Weight||Hcp Rating|
|1||432x2111x7||BUFFERING||Robert Heathcote||Damian Browne||2||58.5kg||118|
|2||42311274×1||GORDON LORD BYRON (IRE)||Tom Hogan||Craig Williams||11||58.5kg||114|
|3||6x1311x111||LANKAN RUPEE||Mick Price||Craig Newitt||1||58.5kg||115|
|4||x32124x221||SPIRIT OF BOOM||Tony Gollan||Michael Rodd||15||58.5kg||111|
|5||240x14157x||REBEL DANE||Gary Portelli||Glen Boss||7||58.5kg||110|
|6||590x80x191||TIGER TEES (NZ)||Joseph Pride||–||4||58.5kg||104|
|7||32x668x948||BEL SPRINTER||Jason Warren||Chad Schofield||9||58.5kg||110|
|8||x97x92x245||SHAMEXPRESS (NZ)||Danny O’Brien||Damien Oliver||17||58.5kg||108|
|9||10x9214x02||FONTELINA||Anthony Cummings||Hugh Bowman||3||58.5kg||108|
|10||0x63135x39||FAMOUS SEAMUS (NZ)||Noel Mayfield-Smith||Tim Clark||8||58.5kg||107|
|11||1x21430x64||SESSIONS||Peter Snowden||Kerrin McEvoy||20||58.5kg||106|
|12||660x29x1x9||AERONAUTICAL||Lionel Cohen||John Kissick (a)||5||58.5kg||104|
|13||1330718×27||SEE THE WORLD||Joseph Pride||–||18||58.5kg||104|
|14||x127x82x12||SNITZERLAND||Gerald Ryan||Brenton Avdulla||21||56.5kg||111|
|15||070x348x21||STEPS IN TIME||Joseph Pride||–||13||56.5kg||108|
|16||112x4111x8||ZOUSTAR||Chris Waller||Jim Cassidy||6||56.5kg||109|
|17||13x2x11172||SWEET IDEA||Gai Waterhouse||Tommy Berry||19||54.5kg||104|
|18||70x2440x13||VILLA VERDE||Anthony Cummings||James McDonald||12||54.5kg||84|
|19e||x11413x140||IRISH FLING (NZ)||Guy Lowry & Grant Cullen||–||16||56.5kg||102|
|20e||33×1515541||FLAMBERGE||Peter G Moody||–||14||58.5kg||102|
|21e||x1110x227x||PERON||John P Thompson||Joao Moreira||10||56.5kg||98|