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Ladbrokes Blog: 2024 TJ Smith Stakes Preview

3 minute read

Some of the world's best sprinters will be on show at Royal Randwick on Saturday, when $3 million goes on the line in the TJ Smith Stakes.

I WISH I WIN winning the TJ Smith Stakes.
I WISH I WIN winning the TJ Smith Stakes. Picture: Martin King / Sportpix

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Reigning TJ Smith Stakes champion I Wish I Win steps out to defend his crown, but will run into the ten-time Group 1 champion Imperatriz for the first time.

With the likes of Sunshine In Paris, Espiona and Cylinder also engaged, we're set for a thrilling contest, and you can find our full runner-by-runner TJ Smith Stakes preview below.

2024 TJ Smith Stakes Betting Strategy

 3 Units I Wish I Win (Win)

1 – I Wish I Win (4)

Doesn't know how to run a bad race.

Won The Golden Eagle at the end of his 2022 and hasn't missed placing in five subsequent appearances, adding this race to his CV in the autumn and only just missing in The Everest.

Has been kept fresh for this race, is drawn ideally and will take a power of beating.

BET NOW: I Wish I Win

PRIVATE EYE. Picture: Martin King / Sportpix

2 – Private Eye (14)

Private Eye returned to action in typically strong and consistent form in the spring, but after only just missing behind Imperatriz in the Black Caviar Lightning first-up this time, he's since finished down the order in the Challenge Stakes and The Galaxy.

He's hard fit and obviously, his best form is good enough to see him into the finish, but his best might be behind him.

BET NOW: Private Eye

3 – Mazu (12)

It has been a long time since Group 1 winner Mazu has won a race and he was subsequently transferred to the care of Joe Pride prior to his current prep.

Having returned to action to finish fifth, beaten a little over a length in the Challenge Stakes, he is open to improvement, but will need plenty of it.

The wide draw is a concern and he'll need plenty to go right on the day. The $26 about him in TJ Smith Stakes betting at publish looks about right.


4 – Coal Crusher (10)

Coal Crusher is yet to strike in four starts back from a break and was well beaten by the likes of Bandi's Boy and Malkovich in Group 3 company last week.

He's hard fit but unlikely to trouble several of his rivals in this TJ Smith Stakes field.

BET NOW: Coal Crusher

AFT CABIN. Picture: Martin King / Sportpix

5 – Aft Cabin (8)

The enigmatic Aft Cabin takes his place in the TJ Smith Stakes field third-up and a model of fitness.

The Astern entire was luckless and a little flat in The Galaxy a fortnight ago, but his fresh effort in the Challenge Stakes was promising, and he is a horse that has tended to suffer from a little 'second-up syndrome' previously.

The booking of Zac Purton is a big boost to his chances in this race, and he could prove to be the value in TJ Smith Stakes betting ($21 at publish). A genuine chance of fighting into the first three.

BET NOW: Aft Cabin

6 – Buenos Noches (15)

Buenos Noches kept his best work for late into fourth in the Expressway Stakes first-up from a spell but jumped on odds-on favourite that day.

Each of his two subsequent starts have been a noticeable decline in form and this TJ Smith Stakes looks to be far too tough of a task for him this time in.

BET NOW: Buenos Noches

7 – Johnny Rocker (3)

Johnny Rocker attracted plenty of interest ahead of a BM78 sprint at The Valley early last month and didn't disappoint, before producing a career-best performance to finish only a head behind Imperatriz in the William Reid Stakes last time out.

He's clearly an above-average sprinter, but his best performances have been kept for the unique conditions at The Valley so far.

Mark Zahra and an inside draw suit, but I am happy to take him on this weekend.

BET NOW: Johnny Rocker

IMPERATRIZ. Picture: Racing Photos

8 – Imperatriz (6)

Imperatriz has opened favourite in 2024 TJ Smith Stakes betting, understandably.

The ten-time Group 1 winner added the Black Caviar Lightning Stakes to her CV first-up this time, and while producing a tough performance for a close second in unideal conditions in the Newmarket Handicap, she returned to winning form with a successful defence of the William Reid Stakes.

She's hard fit and drawn absolutely ideally under Opie Bosson, and a little give in the track certainly won't hurt her chances.

BET NOW: Imperatriz

9 – Bella Nipotina (11)

Bella Nipotina has failed to run into the placings in each of three starts back from a break.

The Pride Of Dubai mare has exclusively stepped out in Victorian Group 1 company this time, but has been slightly further away from the winner each time.

She'll need plenty of luck after drawing barrier 11 and might just find a couple of these rivals a little too sharp again.

BET NOW: Bella Nipotina

10 – Espiona (13)

Espiona realised her Group 1 potential during last year's Autumn Carnival, and a picked off a couple of nice races during her subsequent spring prep.

She has worked home in eye-catching fashion to fill the minors in each of the Group 1 Lightning Stakes and Group 1 Canterbury Stakes this time in, and she has been kept up to the mark with a trial since that latest race.

Her winning chances did take a hit on Tuesday when she was allocated a wide draw, but a wet track will suit, and she rates as a live chance of fighting into the TJ Smith Stakes trifecta.

BET NOW: Espiona

11 – Sunshine In Paris (9)

Sunshine In Paris doesn't know how to run a bad race and sits on the third line of TJ Smith Stakes betting (at publish).

Having won the Group 1 Surround Stakes at double-figure odds last autumn, the Invader mare returned in the spring for a hit-and-run win in the Group 2 Sheraco Stakes, while she was only just denied in The Galaxy when resuming this time.

With natural improvement, I can't find a reason why she won't be in the finish again.

BET NOW: Sunshine In Paris

CYLINDER. Picture: Racing Photos

12 – Cylinder (7)

Cylinder recorded a maiden Group 1 victory in the Newmarket Handicap last month with a small weight in tow, but didn't handle a step up in the weights in the William Reid Stakes last time out.

He's hard fit and Jamie Kah jumps back into the saddle, but others have more appeal under the conditions of this race.

BET NOW: Cylinder

13 – Magic Time (1)

Magic Time has recorded five wins from just nine career starts to date, peaking with an excellent performance in the Group 1 Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes at Caulfield in November.

She was well beaten by Cylinder in the Newmarket Handicap when resuming this time, but is a mare that tends to enjoy sharp improvement with a run under her belt.

With options in running from the rails draw, she might prove to be the value in TJ Smith Stakes betting ($21 at publish), but she is almost certainly using this as a stepping stone into the All Aged Stakes in a fortnight.

BET NOW: Magic Time

14 – Chain Of Lightning (2)

Chain Of Lightning returned to winning form with an eye-catching performance in the Group 3 Birthday Card Stakes at Rosehill a fortnight ago, having been specked in the market.

She is a galloper that has almost exclusively found her best in mares' Group 2/Group 3 company historically, and she might find herself a little outclassed in the 2024 TJ Smith Stakes field.

BET NOW: Chain Of Lightning

15 – Willinga Beast (5)

Willinga Beast faces a big rise in class into the TJ Smith Stakes field and has subsequently gone up at triple-figure odds.

This looks a bridge too far at this point of her career.

BET NOW: Willinga Beast

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