TJ Smith Stakes Tips – hot early speed likely to favour backmarkers
Looking for TJ Smith Stakes Tips on Saturday, April 4? Our form expert has previewed the Group 1 sprint at Randwick and given his best bet for the race.
TJ SMITH STAKES PREVIEW
The Heavyweights of Australia’s sprinting ranks meet this Saturday in the Group 1 TJ Smith Stakes (1200m) at Royal Randwick.
Reigning TJ Smith Stakes winner Santa Ana Lane has a great record at the track and trip having set the previous track record before finishing runner-up to Yes Yes Yes in The Everest when he set a new track record.
He won last year’s TJ on a Soft 7, but if it gets any wetter than that, he doesn’t seem to be at his best.
Race favourite Nature Strip bounced back to winning form last start belting Redzel by three lengths in the Challenge Stakes (1000m, and he posted the strongest last start BM figure going 17. 8 lengths quicker than standard BM.
Bivouac is second favourite following a disappointing 3rd placing behind Loving Gabby in the William Reid Stakes (1200m) at The Valley last start.
I think he’s under the odds here with a likely Heavy track, which leads me to a value chance in what is a very open race.
BIVOUAC V’s EXEEDANCE
Exceedance and Bivouac have met on six occasions, and Exceedance has got the better of Bivouac twice.
Both of those wins were on a Heavy 9 and Soft 7, and I’m confident Exceedance handles the wet better.
Admittedly, he’s disappointed in two run this time finishing 4.7 lengths from Bivouac in the Newmarket Handicap (1200m) and 4.7 lengths from Loving Gabby in the William Reid.
Although, I think Exceedance is over the odds here, I can’t have him on top with his two disappointing runs – but it wouldn’t surprise to see him bounce back.
WHO WILL WIN THE TJ SMITH STAKES?
I tipped the Gregory Hickman-trained PIERATA last start in The Galaxy, and despite finishing 2.3 lengths away in 5th, I’m keen to stick with him.
Half-way through the day I knew I was in trouble having backed Pierata in the early markets.
Rosehill was clearly favouring front-runners, and Pierata was always facing an uphill battle in that race.
There was no way they were going to ride him forward with the TJ Smith being his main aim a fortnight later.
He was there to win, but not have a gut-buster.
As it turned out, Pierata was trying to run down I Am Excited (52kg), Miss Leonidas (52kg), Tofane (51kg) and Deprive (53.5kg) while carrying 59kg on a leader-bias track.
Pierata meets Tofane 6kg better at the weights, and I can’t see that mare beating him home again considering he has plenty of upside being second-up.
Pierata has never finished out of the top two second-up having recorded two wins and three 2nd placings from five attempts.
He belted noted mudlark Jungle Edge on a Heavy 9 at Randwick in the Sydney Stakes (1200m) and he was beaten a lip by Nature Strip on a Heavy 8 in the 2019 The Galaxy were he would have won in one more stride.
WHO DOES THE MAP FAVOUR?
There is plenty of speed here with Vegadaze likely to work across and try and lead from Nature Strip, Redzel and White Moss, while Bivouac and Loving Gabby could also push up and force the speed.
That should give backmarkers a chance to run on and I think Pierata is the best of them considering the track is likely to be Heavy.
TJ Smith Stakes Tips: