TJ Smith Stakes Free Tips, Bets and Field Preview – 2021

A bumper lineup of Australia’s top sprinters will take their place at Randwick on Saturday in what is shaping up to be one of the most wide-open editions of the Group 1 T.J. Smith Stakes (1200m).

Defending champion Nature Strip has been installed atop the market in search of his sixth Group 1, but he does have a fight on his hands against old rival Bivouac and impressive all-the-way Galaxy winner Eduardo.

With $2.5 million in prize-money on the line, find out our thoughts on each and every runner in this year’s field below.

Bivouac

Bivouac has been kept fresh for his final run in Australia after finishing off strongly for fourth last time out in the Canterbury Stakes.

Big things were expected of the dual Group 1 winner this autumn, but it’s fair to say the Godolphin sprinter hasn’t returned the same horse that we saw take out the VRC Classic in dominant fashion at Flemington last November.

With a trip to Royal Ascot up next, the blue colours have opted to change things up by replacing Glen Boss with Hugh Bowman in the saddle on Saturday.

Any rain about should improve Bivouac’s chances as Bowman will likely look to position himself somewhere towards midfield before unleashing down the straight.

Nature Strip

Nature Strip returns to defend his crown after putting two lengths between himself and Santa Ana Lane in last year’s TJ Smith Stakes.

Not surprisingly, Australia’s top sprinter has been installed as the favourite on Saturday as he prepares for one last stoush with Bivouac after coming off second-best in last year’s VRC Classic.

The five-time Group 1 winner has since gone on to win the Black Caviar Lightning Stakes by half a length to September Run before running second last time out in the Group 2 Challenge Stakes to Eduardo.

Getting out to the 1200m third-up looks ideal for him now, and with a soft track expected, there’s no question he’ll be somewhere in the top three.

Eduardo

Eduardo is looking to become only the second horse since La Baraka in 1998 to complete The Galaxy – TJ Smith Stakes double.

Joseph Pride’s seven-year-old was enormous two weeks ago at Rosehill leading from barrier to box to put 3.5L between himself and his rivals to claim his first Group 1.

Now shooting for his hat-trick, it’s likely we see Brenton Avdulla go forward again on Saturday in place of the suspended Nash Rawiller.

Like so many others, he’ll relish racing with some sting out of the track and is rock-hard fit for two runs back. With some wins on the board over further, the $4.80 at time of publish looks to be one of the better value plays.

Zoutori

Zoutori returns to the races looking to become the third horse to complete the Newmarket Handicap – TJ Smith Stakes double.

The Ellerton and Zahra trained five-year-old hasn’t been seen at the races since fending off Order Of Command right on the line, but he did look sharp in last week’s hit-out at Flemington ahead of his return.

The son of Zoustar hasn’t raced at Randwick before, but does command plenty of respect with six wins on the board over the 1200m.

Barrier 10 should see him running on late and he does tend to do his best work fresh.

Masked Crusader

Masked Crusader wasted no time scoring his first Group 1 in just his second start at this level in the William Reid Stakes.

It’s difficult to read too much into that form, but if Kerrin McEvoy can produce him late like William Pike did, the son of Toronado is no doubt going to be tough to hold out.

Now a perfect four-from-four over the journey, Barrier 7 should see the pair tuck in just behind the speed.

Dirty Work

Dirty Work is having his second run back from a spell after making up good ground late for fourth in The Galaxy.

He was far from disgraced two runs back finishing only half a length fifth to Celebrity Queen in the Oakleigh Plate, but is likely to find this much tougher with only one placing to his name from four starts over the 1200m.

Order Of Command

Order Of Command is looking to break a run of recent placings that dates all the way back to the Group 2 Linlithgow at Flemington during the spring.

Danny O’Brien’s import more recently returned to work to run half a length third to California Zimbol in the Maurice McCarten Stakes at Rosehill before finishing a clear second to Eduardo two weeks ago in The Galaxy.

This is arguably his toughest assignment to date, but there is a case to be made for a place with four wins to his name over the distance.

Eleven Eleven

Eleven Eleven resumes from a spell after claiming his hat-trick in the $1 million Magic Millions Cup on the Gold Coast back in January.

The son of Fastnet Rock rarely runs a poor race over the 1200m, but this does look a little beyond him in his first look at Group 1 level.

Libertini

Libertini strips fitter for her first-up run when third to Masked Crusader in the William Reid Stakes at Moonee Valley.

The mare by I Am Invincible is a very consistent type that has found the money in three of her five starts over the last calendar year.

Her return to the races saw her make up a stack of ground from a wide position, an encouraging performance having now drawn the inside chute under Tommy Berry.

She won’t want it too wet, but does rate as a serious knockout chance with four wins and three placings to her name over this trip.

Haut Brion Her

Haut Brion Her gets her second crack at a Group 1 after finishing off fairly for fifth in The Galaxy.

Surprisingly, the wet track wasn’t to her liking that day, but she does look better suited here back out to the 1200m with a run under her belt.

The daughter of Zoustar has gone two-from-three in her career second-up from a spell and has drawn to get a lovely run in behind Nature Strip and Eduardo.

Big things have been expected of Chris Waller’s mare for some time now, and after winning the Sheraco Stakes over this distance during the spring before running fifth over this track and trip in The Everest, this might be her day.

September Run

September Run has mixed her form this time in work after capping off the spring with a bursting run from the back to win the Coolmore Stud Stakes last October.

She gave a good sight first-up when half a length second to Nature Strip in the Lightning, but has struggled to go on with it running 10th in the Newmarket before showing some improvement for fourth last time out in the William Reid Stakes.

Barrier 11 should give Craig Williams an opportunity to get back and run on, but whether she has the turn of foot to match that of Nature Strip and Eduardo remains the query.

This content was provided by Ladbrokes. View the original source at the Ladbrokes Blog.

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