BLACK Caviar aside Australian racing has not had a better sprinter than Takeover Target since the legendary Manikato more than 30 years ago.
Maybe you can argue that at various times the likes of Hay List, Alinghi, Fastnet Rock, Choisir, Miss Andretti, Placid Ark, Schillaci and Apache Cat were his equal but their race records do not compare with Takeover Target, who was euthanized after injuring himself in a paddock accident on Saturday morning.
Trainer Joe Janiak deserves special praise for his skilful management of Takeover Target, turning an unraced, injury-prone four-year-old into a world beater.
Takeover Target won 21 races, eight at Group 1 level, including feature race wins in England, Japan and Singapore.
Jay Ford rode Takeover Target to 20 of his wins and rated the triumph in the Sprinter Stakes in Japan as the gelding’s best performance.
I’M sure Najoom would have made Srikandi work harder for her Group 1 Tiara win than the 14 mares who lined up against her on the Gold Coast.
Instead, Najoom was denied a start because of some ridiculous qualifying clauses. She was the race favourite and a stakes-winner at her previous two starts but was made only second emergency in the Tiara field which included a number of out of form mares.
It hasn’t been an isolated incident in Queensland this carnival. Pornichet was denied a run in the Hollindale Stakes then two starts later he scored a stunning win in the Doomben Cup.
Surely, all endeavours should be made to have the best quality fields possible for these big races. These anomalies need to be addressed before next year’s carnival.
SYDNEY’S super sprinter Terravista returns to trainer Joe Pride’s Warwick Farm stables this week to begin preparations for a spring campaign.
But Sydney race fans may not get to see much of Terravista this spring as Pride admitted he is likely to target Melbourne’s sprint program which carries considerably more prizemoney.
It is hard to argue with Pride as there are two $1 million Group 1 sprints in Melbourne while Sydney spring’s richest short course races, the Premiere Stakes and The Shorts carry total stakes of $200,000 each.
Sydney’s spring carnival needs an urgent prizemoney boost which only strengthens the case being put to the Baird Government to fast-track wagering taxation cuts rather than introduce them incrementally over the next five years.
THE cobalt drugs scandal and the unsavoury practices of some embroiled in the controversy is the worst possible publicity racing can receive.
Stewards in NSW and Victoria are moving as quickly as they can on the issue and their diligent work is revealing the extent of the scandal.
Racing NSW chief executive Peter V’landys knows the importance of maintaining punter confidence in the sport and he won’t compromise on integrity issues. Despite the protestations of veterinary groups, V’landys is pressing ahead with plans to licence veterinarians from July 1.
IT is an unfortunate coincidence that the John Camilleri questioned by Racing NSW stewards for his involvement in the Sam Kavanagh case shares the same name with the respected former Australian Turf Club committeeman and leading owner-breeder.
HOW the Australian Turf Club must wish it had the Kensington track in operation this winter.
Sydney has endured a very wet autumn and winter and rain-soaked metropolitan tracks are struggling to cope with the workload, most noticeably Royal Randwick, so the timing could not be worse for the inner track to be off limits.
But the Kensington course is still not ready for a race meeting — and won’t be for some months.
The ATC is still hopeful the remedial works it has done on the Kensington track combined with the expected grass growth that comes with the warmer weather in spring will have the inside track ready to race towards the end of the year.
If the Kensington does not come up to scratch, the club is facing a multi-million expense to rip up the course and start again, leaving Sydney without a fifth racetrack for an extended period again.
SATURDAY SNAPSHOT — ROYAL RANDWICK
RUN OF THE DAY
Pajaro surged between runners before powering to the line to score a convincing win. He was only third-up and is effective up to 2000m at least so there are more wins on store for this tough galloper this campaign.
FORGET IT RAN
Magic Hurricane was set a task in Pajaro’s race and his fourth placing can be forgiven. He is likely to go for a short break now but has the ability to win a good race during the spring carnival.
THE BLACK BOOK
Chastened had a month between runs and struck a very heavy track but still ran an eye-catcher when closing late for a fourth placing behind Electric Power. She can be placed to advantage next start.
RIDE OF THE DAY
Winona Costin found the “fast” lane on both Berry Delicious and Timeless Prince. Sam Clipperton continued his good form with another double including his astute tactical ride on God’s In Him.