Trainer Joe Pride is happy with the 2015 T.J. Smith Stakes lead-up form of Terravista and he believes that the talented sprinter is a much fitter horse heading into the Group 1 event at Royal Randwick on Saturday.
Terravista went into the Group 1 Newmarket Handicap (1200m) at Flemington on March 14 first-up and weakened slightly in the final stages to finish third before a post-race inspection found that he had suffered from some mild heat stress.
Pride said that Terravista often pulls up with some form of heat stress and he told Racing Ahead that the Captain Rio gelding will strip fitter in the T.J. Smith Stakes this weekend.
“I am very happy with him and he is in great order,” Pride said.
“He never shows me anything on the track and he is very lazy and very casual, but his work on Tuesday morning was ok and that is typical of him and if it changed I would be more worried.
“He has done that at most of his starts and he did that after he won the Darley.
“I wouldn’t look to punters and say that was an excuse and he got beaten on the day maybe more with the tempo of the race.
“He tries his heart out and he pulls up with a bit of stress after each run.
“He has done well in the three weeks in between and he will strip a much fitter horse.”
Pride has three runners in the 2015 T.J. Smith Stakes field and he will have veteran sprinters Rain Affair and Tiger Tees in the $2.5 million event on the opening day of The Championships.
Tiger Tees finished at the tail of the field in the Group 1 Canterbury Stakes (1300m) at Royal Randwick on March 7, but Pride expects the seven-year-old to perform better on the wet track in the T.J. Smith Stakes.
“He is not to be underestimated,” Pride said.
“He is a very good wet-tracker and he ran fourth in the race last year.
“He is a very genuine horse, particularly when he gets on wet tracks and he will get that on Saturday.”
Rain Affair finished a close second behind Master Of Design in the 2012 edition of the T.J. Smith Stakes and finished a credible fourth behind Black Caviar in the 2013 edition of the race and will be having his third start in the race.
The Commands gelding has not recorded a win since she took out the 2013 edition of the Missile Stakes, but he returned to a semblance of his best form with a fourth place finish in the Group 3 Star Kingdom Stakes (1200m) at Rosehill Gardens on March 28.
“It was a much better run last week and he battled on quiet bravely,” Pride said.
“He is reaching peak fitness now and he has run a couple of nice races in the T.J. before.”
Terravista is currently available at 2015 T.J. Smith Stakes odds of $3.10 with Ladbrokes, while Tiger Tees ($31) and Rain Affair ($51) are both priced at big quotes.