Ascot horseman Chris Gangemi has confirmed plans to accept for Rock Magic into Saturday’s TJ Smith Stakes field at Royal Randwick after the galloper’s fourth on Friday night in the William Reid Stakes.
The Perth raider kicked off his autumn bid first-up under the lights at Moonee Valley Racecourse in the $500,000 Group 1 William Reid Stakes (1200m).
In a brave effort he showed he was up to the class of the Melbourne sprinters, the Redoute’s Choice seven-year-old running just one and a half-lengths off the winning mare Silent Sedition.
All going well, Gangemi will accept for the veteran to have his first Sydney run since the winter of 2014 this weekend on Day 1 of ‘The Championships’ in the $1.5 million Group 1 TJ Smith Stakes (1200m).
“We’ll put a saddle on him on Monday and if he’s feeling well and sound, we’ll accept for the TJ,” Gangemi told The West Australian on Sunday.
“All going well, he’ll head up to Sydney later in the week.”
The only thing that could deter Gangemi from running Rock Magic in the race would be a bottomless Randwick track, but the Sydney forecast up until Thursday looks promising.
“He probably wouldn’t run on a heavy 10, but the weather is clearing up this week,” he said.
“The only negative is backing up, but it’s probably a once in a lifetime chance to run in a $2.5 million race.”
Back in Western Australia Rock Magic was in flying form last season including his close third when under a length beaten by Takedown in the Group 1 Winterbottom Stakes (1200m).
His last victory was in the Group 3 Prince Of Wales Stakes (1000m) in October, but he hasn’t won outside of Perth since a Scone sprint victory three years ago.
The last Perth raider to take out the TJ Smith Stakes was Takeover Target who saluted as a nine-year-old back in 2009.
Takeover Target was also the last TJ Smith Stakes winner to take out the sprint showdown first-up, his final lead-up run being a Group 3 A.J. Scahill Stakes win at Ascot the previous December.
The Newmarket Handicap has been the dominant form race to follow into the TJ Smith Stakes in recent years producing the past three winners of the Sydney Group 1.
The most recent TJ Smith Stakes winner to come off a William Reid Stakes run meanwhile was superstar mare Black Caviar who completed the double as a six-year-old in 2013 for Peter Moody.
The best out of the Group 1 Newmarket Handicap (1200m) run down the Flemington straight back on ‘Super Saturday’ backing up in the TJ Smith Stakes field this year is the Darren Weir-trained runner-up Voodoo Lad.
The I Am Invincible five-year-old was two lengths off the impressive winner Redkirk Warrior and has been confirmed by Weir for a TJ Smith Stakes run this weekend.
“He showed he was up to them in the Newmarket and he’s just going great so he’s going for the T.J. Smith,” Weir told Racing Victoria.
“He never seems to run a bad race and he’s going as good as ever.”
The Lindsay Park-trained Hong Kong import Redkirk Warrior meanwhile steps out over more distance at the meeting running in the $3 million Group 1 The Star Doncaster Mile (1600m).