TJ Smith Stakes Tips & Preview 2024

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Looking for TJ Smith Stakes tips and best bets? We dissect times and form to find the winner of the 2024 TJ Smith Stakes at Randwick.


It is the Kiwi mare, Imperatriz, that is the $3 favourite for the TJ Smith Stakes with ladbrokes, just ahead of the 2023 winner of this race, I Wish I Win, at $3.60. Sunshine In Paris is the only other runner in single figures and is at $8. 

Espiona is the only Chris Waller runner in the field and is an $11 chance ahead of the consistent mare, Bella Nipotina, at $12. Private Eye is at $15 ahead of the Newmarket Handicap (1200m) winner, Cylinder, and the last start William Reid Stakes (1200m) runner-up, Johnny Rocker. Those two are both $17. Aft Cabin heads the rest of the 15-horse field at $21. 


Imperatriz has won 19 of her 26 career starts and has claimed seven of her nine runs in Australia, with six of those seven victories coming at Group 1 level. She has produced some quick times in all of those and went a hefty 17.8 lengths faster than standard benchmark when runner-up in the Newmarket Handicap (1200m) two starts ago when conceding 6.5kg to Cylinder, who went 19.1 lengths faster than standard. 

That is a better figure than what any horse in this race has produced in the past two years. Imperatriz then loved getting back to Moonee Valley and the weight-for-age condition in the William Reid Stakes, claiming that race in narrow fashion from Johnny Rocker, going 11.8 lengths faster than standard. 

The Mark Walker-trained mare has had one start at Randwick with that coming in the Canterbury Stakes (1300m) last year when she was bloused late by Artorious. She has won five of her 10 starts on Soft-Heavy ground and is likely to get those conditions on Saturday. 

Johnny Rocker has risen through the ranks and pushed Imperatriz last time to run within a neck of the mare. There was a solid gap back to 3rd. He stays under notice for this. Bella Nipotina was 4th in the same race. Cylinder also comes out of the William Reid Stakes and had no visible excuse, running last and failing to back up his Newmarket performance. 

Magic Time has form around that group of horses and comes in with a month in between runs having placed 6th in the Newmarket Handicap. She was a second up winner at her last preparation and scored on the Heavy at Randwick at this meeting a year ago. 

I Wish I Win is a former Kiwi that was transferred to the Peter Moody and Katherine Coleman stable back in 2022. He claimed the TJ Smith Stakes in 2023 on a Heavy 9 track and we know that he will get through the ground. 

The five-year-old went 13.8 lengths faster than standard benchmark in that race. He has had two more starts since then, including one in the Everest (1200m) at the track and trip last spring when an unlucky runner-up behind Think About It. He comes into this first-up and is more than capable of performing when fresh. 

Espiona tackles the Canterbury Stakes instead of the Newmarket Handicap and is one of seven mares in the race. She was last of the seven runners at the 400m mark and her cause wasn’t helped as they went slow early on. The daughter of Extreme Choice produced the fastest 400m-200m split but the lack of early tempo counted against with Lady Laguna going on to score. 

Sunshine In Paris defeated Espiona in the Sheraco Stakes (1200m) at her only start last spring and resumed in the Galaxy (1100m), finishing runner-up behind Zapateo. The Anabel Neasham-trained galloper went 13.2 lengths faster than standard benchmark and will strip fitter second up. 

Is there an out and out roughie that can upset the major fancies? Mazu ran 3rd in this race last year, while Aft Cabin scored in the Arrowfield Stakes 91200m) on a Heavy deck on Day Two of The Championships in 2023. Buenos Noches has been a tier below some of these of late but will be running on. Chain Of Lightning is a last start Rosehill winner that has won four of seven on Soft-Heavy and draws to save ground from barrier 2. 


Going with Imperatriz in the TJ Smith Stakes. She is as consistent as they come and her only defeats in Australia have come when conceding a stack of weight in the Newmarket, while she was undone by a freakish display by the Artorius/Joao Moreira combination when seemingly home in last year’s Canterbury Stakes. I think she is going better than she was back then and should be able to handle what is thrown her way on Saturday. Sunshine In Paris is a danger. The best roughie in the race is Aft Cabin. He had a stack of excuses when 12th in the Galaxy, while he was held up in the Challenge Stakes (1000m) prior to that. We must respect the stable, who have set the son of Astern for shorter trips this time around. Zac Purton rides the lightly raced four-year-old, who has won two of three on Heavy decks, finishing runner-up in the other.