TJ Smith Stakes tips
The TJ Smith Stakes is one of Sydney’s premier sprint races which takes place at Royal Randwick on the first day of the Championships each year. Runners of all ages tackle the 1200m distance under weight for age conditions in an attempt to win $3m in prize money.
The interesting factor this time around is clearly Nature Strip attempting to win an unprecedented fourth consecutive TJ Smith title and looking to surpass Chautauqua and his own record of three wins in the race.
It definitely makes for the perfect fairytale if Nature Strip could go out and with a fourth TJ Smith Stakes in 2023 however what makes it more interesting is the host of new kids on the block looking to make a name for themselves and stop history being made on Saturday.
The likes of Giga Kick, In Secret and Aft Cabin all come into the race off strong starts to their three year old seasons. Giga Kick won the Everest at the same track and distance in October while In Secret and Aft Cabin come into the race having won the Newmarket Handicap and other feeder races that lead into the Group One TJ Smith.
Mind you history favours the older horses with three years olds only winning 6 of the 23 editions of the TJ Smith. So the question is can Nature Strip win the $3m sprint feature for a fourth consecutive time?
2023 TJ Smith Stakes Race Overview
The 2023 TJ Smith Stakes field looks set to be a hot one with a number of young guns and old guard set to face off in an exciting renewal of the race.
Leading the betting is 2022 Everest winner Giga Kick at $3.70. The Clayton Douglas three year old has been unlucky in his last two starts and let down quickly last time out with the stable happy that he was on course to be a key challenger in this years TJ Smith.
On the second line of betting we see another three year old filly with In Secret representing the Godolphin Blue. In Secret won the Group One Newmarket Handicap last time out and also claimed the Light Fingers both over 1200m. She holds clear second favourtism at $4.20.
Nature Strip is currently listed as the third elect in betting and sits as a $6 chance to defend his title. Of the rest of the field only I Wish I Win and Private eye sit in single figures with both at $8 in betting.
The rest of the market starts at $13 bar and with a double figure field set to contest the $3m Prize money it’s set to be a fast and furious edition of the weight for age TJ Smith Stakes.
2023 TJ Smith Stakes Top Selections and Best Bet
A final field of 15 runners have been announced with the barrier draw completed on Tuesday. We narrow the final field down to our top three picks - The Outside Chance, A Main Danger and our Best Bet for the $3m TJ Smith Stakes.
2023 TJ Smith Stakes Outside Chance - 3. Private Eye (2)
Trainer - Joseph Pride
Price - $7.00
Our pick for an outside chance in the 2023 TJ Smith Stakes is the Joseph Pride trained Group One winner Private Eye.
Even though Private Eye has only got one win at Group One level his form reads very impressive over the shorter distances including victory in the Group Two Gilgai followed by a second place finish behind Giga Kick in the $15m Everest.
It was only when Pride sent Private Eye to contest the Cantala Stakes over 1600m he failed to lengthen over the longer distance and missed his first placing of the Spring and was quickly sent off to the Paddock for a spell.
Returned to finish off well in the Group 1 Newmarket last time out but was never going to land a glove on the winner on that occasion. Back to the same distance he finished off second in the Everest and wouldn’t surprise if he shows up again here.
2023 TJ Smith Stakes Main Danger - 1. Nature Strip (7)
Trainer - Chris Waller
Price - $6.00
Our main danger for the TJ Smith Stakes 2023 is the world’s highest rates sprinter Nature Strip who is out to attempt a four-peat in the race for the Chris Waller stable.
Nature Strip returned most recently in the Group One Black Caviar Lightning Stakes over 1000m where he finished 6th 2.3 lengths of Maher and Eustace trained Coolangatta.
It was expected that Nature Strip would win the Lightning Stakes given how well he usually goes fresh having a 50% strike rate when first up. However he was disappointing on that occasion when failing to fire.
You can’t write off Nature Strip though. He’s the worlds best sprinter for a reason and back to the track when he has won three TJ Smith Stakes titles and an Everest over 1200m it’s hard to discount him.
The stable have been extremely meticulous in their preparation this time round and if he’s firing on all cylinders he could be the one to catch.
2023 TJ Smith Stakes Best Bet - 10. Giga Kick (9)
Trainer - Clayton Douglas
Price - $3.70
Giga Kick is the one to beat for us. The 2022 Everest winner has been firing without winning in recent starts.
His last time start in the Challenge was impressive without winning. He finished third a length off Passive Aggressive but it was the manner he finished in the closing stages that makes you think he’s the one to beat here.
Gets in here at the low weight once again and should be too clever for the majority of this field. It’ll be a thrilling battle to watch him run down Nature Strip late but he’s got pace to burn and it wouldn’t be a shock to pull him clear of this field in the closing stages.
Top Pick - Back Giga Kick to win