Sprint machines put spotlight on TJ Smith
THE nation's best sprinters, Trapeze Artist, Osborne Bulls, Redzel and Pierata are set to clash in a TJ Smith Stakes that is shaping as a scene stealer at the Doncaster-Derby Day meeting at Royal Randwick on Saturday.
Day one of The Championships has $10.1 million prizemoney spread across 10 races, including four at Group 1 level.
The $3 million The Star Doncaster Mile (1600m) and the $2 million Harrolds ATC Australian Derby (2400m) are traditionally the feature races but Saturday's renewal of the $2.5 million TJ Smith Stakes (1200m) promises to be a sprint race for the ages.
Gerald Ryan's Trapeze Artist is attempting to defend his TJ Smith title and is $5 equal favourite with Godolphin's Osborne Bulls. Redzel, Pierata and Santa Ana Lane share the second line of betting at $8.
Redzel ran only eighth to Nature Strip and Pierata in The Galaxy last start but the Team Snowden-trained sprinter has a habit of peaking on the big day.
"A few things happened that didn't help Redzel at Rosehill,'' trainer Peter Snowden said.
"He got a check and that knocked him out of play.
"We might need to go back to the old way and let him free-wheel up on the speed.'
Meanwhile, champion mare Winx won't be racing on day one of The Championships at Royal Randwick on Saturday but she could still make a guest appearance.
When Winx has three weeks between races, trainer Chris Waller often gives the great mare an exhibition gallop at the race meeting a week out from her next start.
Waller followed this practice before the George Ryder Stakes where Winx recorded her 32nd consecutive win.
Winx is due to have her final race start in the Queen Elizabeth Stakes on April 13.
The Winx farewell is becoming a must-see event with the Australian Turf Club having less than 5000 tickets left before the raceday is officially a sell-out.