The Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes-trained boom sprinter Chautauqua headlines a star-studded list of 48 horses still in the mix for the 2015 TJ Smith Stakes following today’s first acceptances for the lucrative The Championships clash.
The $2.5 million Group 1 TJ Smith Stakes (1200m) runs on Day 1 of Sydney’s The Championships at Royal Randwick on April 4 this autumn and the first acceptances for the weight-for-age showdown have cut the number of hopefuls down from 69 at nomination stage last month.
Heading the declarations and the early TJ Smith Stakes betting markets at Ladbrokes is progressive Encosta De Lago gelding Chautauqua who has won five of his 11 starts to date.
Runner-up to the world’s equal highest-rated sprinter Terravista in the Group 1 Darley Classic (1200m) at Flemington during the spring, the four-year-old returned on February 14 at Caulfield to win the Group 2 Rubiton Stakes (1100m).
He is down to race again in Melbourne this Super Saturday in the weekend’s $1 million Group 1 Newmarket Handicap (1200m) as he heads towards a raid on Sydney.
Team Hawkes also still have in TJ Smith Stakes contention Lightning Stakes third placegetter Deep Field, last year’s Golden Slipper winning filly Mossfun, Nostradamus and ultra-consistent six-year-old Our Boy Malachi who has won 16 of his 18 career starts.
Chautauqua’s main danger in both the Newmarket this weekend and in the TJ Smith Stakes later in the carnival season is the Joe Pride-trained Darley Classic winner Terravista, another headline first acceptor for the latter who returns to racing on Saturday.
Defending TJ Smith Stakes winner Lankan Rupee, who shares the title of world’s equal-best sprinter with Terravista, is also still in the mix after first acceptances.
Mick Price’s four-time Group 1 winning Redoute’s Choice gelding won the Group 1 Lightning Stakes (1000m) first-up and next defends his Newmarket Handicap title.
Runner-up in the Lightning Stakes, Chris Waller’s Group 1 winning three-year-old Brazen Beau is another top acceptor following his excellent resuming run.
The I Am Invincible colt won the Group 1 Coolmore Stud Stakes (1200m) down the Flemington straight last Derby Day on the back of a Group 2 Roman Consul Stakes (1200m) win at Randwick.
He is a top hope to threaten the older horses in the major carnival sprints this season and is out to become the first three-year-old TJ Smith Stakes winner since Gerald Ryan’s filly Melito did it in 2010.
Waller’s has two other first acceptors paid up for with his striking grey mare Catkins who was defeated by Cosmic Endeavour in the Group 1 Canterbury Stakes (1300m) on Randwick Guineas Day and Coolmore Stud Stakes runner-up Delectation out to atone for a dead last in the Group 2 Hobartville Stakes (1400m) on February 21.
Third to Lankan Rupee in the TJ Smith Stakes last autumn, Rob Heathcote’s always-honest Queensland cult galloper Buffering meanwhile is the most notable non-acceptor.
He instead will be saved for a Brisbane Winter Racing Carnival campaign later in the year after an international campaign in December when sixth to Aerovelocity in the Group 1 Hong Kong Sprint (1200m) at Sha Tin.
Bel Sprinter is also out after a failed ninth to Shamal Wind in the Group 1 Oakleigh Plate (1100m) late last month.
The TJ Smith Stakes final acceptances now close at 9am (AEDT) on Tuesday March 31, 2015.
|#||Form (Last 10)||Horse||Trainer||Weight (kg)||Hcp. Rating|
|1||954x91106x||BOSS LANE||Ron Quinton||58.5||87|
|2||2715x112x1||CHAUTAUQUA||Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes||58.5||N/A|
|3||11x111x3||DEEP FIELD||Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes||58.5||N/A|
|4||190x3136x5||FAMOUS SEAMUS (NZ)||Noel Mayfield-Smith||58.5||N/A|
|5||5x14131x33||FAST ’N’ ROCKING||David Hayes & Tom Dabernig||58.5||N/A|
|7||x46x5229x6||I’M ALL THE TALK||Gary Portelli||58.5||N/A|
|10||111x2213x1||LANKAN RUPEE||Mick Price||58.5||N/A|
|11||1144×42270||LORD OF THE SKY||Robbie Laing||58.5||N/A|
|12||000x32212x||LUCKY HUSSLER||Darren Weir||58.5||N/A|
|13||x1511x111x||OUR BOY MALACHI||Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes||58.5||105|
|14||36x090x3x7||RAIN AFFAIR||Joseph Pride||58.5||105|
|15||2547x3347x||REBEL DANE||Gary Portelli||58.5||N/A|
|19||1437x112x8||TIGER TEES (NZ)||Joseph Pride||58.5||112|
|20||262x12111x||TRUST IN A GUST||Darren Weir||58.5||N/A|
|21||14540x25x2||VA PENSIERO||Jason Coyle||58.5||95|
|22||147x2208x0||A TIME FOR JULIA||Peter G Moody||56.5||N/A|
|23||512x31425x||ANGELIC LIGHT||Robbie Griffiths||56.5||N/A|
|24||x122x511x2||BRAZEN BEAU||Chris Waller||56.5||N/A|
|26||32x52x111||CHLOE IN PARIS||Ciaron Maher||56.5||N/A|
|29||10110×2||GALAXY PEGASUS||David Hayes & Tom Dabernig||56.5||N/A|
|30||x11226x782||GIRL GUIDE||David Hayes & Tom Dabernig||56.5||N/A|
|31||434x11650x||GREGERS||David Hayes & Tom Dabernig||56.5||N/A|
|33||65x11113x3||KURO (NZ)||Joseph Pride||56.5||N/A|
|34||62210x17x1||MIRACLES OF LIFE||Peter & Paul Snowden||56.5||N/A|
|35||47x17520x8||NOSTRADAMUS||Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes||56.5||N/A|
|36||27x85040x2||PERON||Peter G Moody||56.5||N/A|
|38||729x12412x||SWEET IDEA||Gai Waterhouse||56.5||N/A|
|39||x1384x69x8||VILLA VERDE||Anthony Cummings||56.5||104|
|40||x121119x43||AFLEET ESPRIT||David Hayes & Tom Dabernig||54.5||N/A|
|41||313x18740x||BRING ME THE MAID||Peter G Moody||54.5||N/A|
|43||1x1121x66||MOSSFUN||Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes||54.5||105|
|44||x416744x01||PRESS REPORT||Lee Curtis||54.5||75|
|45||114||SISTONIC||David Hayes & Tom Dabernig||54.5||N/A|
|47||x113213x17||TAWTEEN||David Hayes & Tom Dabernig||54.5||N/A|
|48||1x11x13||WAWAIL||David Hayes & Tom Dabernig||54.5||N/A|