The 2015 T.J. Smith Stakes field has been released and some of the world’s highest-rated sprinters have been included in the acceptances for the Group 1 event at Royal Randwick on Saturday.
Lankan Rupee established himself as the highest rated sprinter in the world when he defeated a quality field to win the T.J. Smith Stakes last year and he will have the chance to become the first horse in history to win the race in back-to-back years.
The Redoute’s Choice gelding started his 2015 Autumn Racing Carnival campaign with a dominant victory in the Group 1 Black Caviar Lightning Stakes (1000m) at Flemington on February 21, but he was unable to reproduce that effort when sixth in the Group 1 Newmarket Handicap (1200m) at the same venue on March 14.
Lankan Rupee was found to be suffering from an inflamed pectoral muscle at the conclusion of the race, but trainer Mick Price is happy with the condition of the five-year-old heading into the Group 1 event.
Newmarket Handicap winner Brazen Beau has not been included in the T.J. Smith Stakes field, but runner-up Chautauqua has been given the chance to record a maiden win at Group 1 level.
Chautauqua started his autumn campaign with a win in the Group 2 Rubiton Stakes (1100m) at Caulfield on February 14 and he was arguably unlucky not to finish closer to Brazen Beau in the T.J. Smith Stakes.
Terravista finished third behind Brazen Beau and Chautauqua in the Newmarket Handicap and he will have the chance to turn-the-tables on his rivals in the T.J. Smith Stakes this Saturday.
The Captain Rio gelding beat Lankan Rupee and Chautauqua to take out the Group 1 Darley Classic (1200m) during the 2014 Spring Racing Carnival and Joe Pride is taking plenty of confidence into the race as the five-year-old has an outstanding second-up record.
Leading Hong Kong-based jockey Joao Moreira steered Brazen Beau to victory in the Newmarket Handicap, but he has been booked to ride Sweet Idea in the T.J. Smith Stakes.
Sweet Idea stormed home late to record a maiden win at Group 1 level in The Galaxy at Rosehill Gardens on March 21 and will contest the T.J. Smith Stakes for the second year in a row after finishing ninth in 2014.
The 2015 T.J. Smith Stakes final field is rounded out by veteran sprinter Tiger Tees (barrier two), BTC Cup winner Famous Seamus (barrier one), Anthony Cummings-trained Fontelina (barrier eight), the consistent Fast ‘N’ Rocking (barrier 11), 2012 runner-up Rain Affair (barrier six), Newmarket Handicap fourth placegetter Lord Of The Sky (barrier seven) and Lee Curtis-trained Press Report (barrier three).