2017 Golden Rose winner Trapeze Artist (by Snitzel) stamped himself as a truly exceptional 3-year-old when defeating ultra-proven open sprinter Redzel (by Snitzel) to win the $2.5m, Group 1, Darley T.J. Smith Stakes on The Championship (Day 1) card at Royal Randwick in Sydney.
In one of the finest performances seen by any 3-year-old in recent seasons, Trapeze Artist gave a start and a beating to the undisputed champion of the 1200-metre circuit at Royal Randwick — the very horse that took out the inaugural $10 million The Everest no less.
Last seen running a hugely respectable third in the Randwick Guineas (1600m) behind the super talented miler Kementari, Trapeze Artist was set the considerable task of coming back 400 metres in distance at the behest of the colt’s owner, Bert Vieira.
The outcome could not in any way possible turned out better, the invaluable son of Snitzel virtually securing an outrageously commercial stud career by virtue of his outstanding T.J. Smith triumph.
Speaking after the victory a relatively stunned winning trainer Gerald Ryan said: “I’ve had a lot of faith in the horse. Bert [Vieira] really twisted my arm about running him and I thought the worst I had to do was do my best to freshen him up in a month.
“Last Friday morning he worked pretty well for him, but the same maiden I worked with him first-up on Tuesday beat him.
“I thought we were going to be strong. At the 200m I was looking back for English and In Her Time, who were swooping like we were. But once we got momentum, he just keeps going strong like in the Golden Rose.
“You get a fast run race up front, I know he was covering ground but he seems to appreciate that as he gets into his action.”
Trapeze Artist and Tye Angland sweep past Redzel and Kerrin McEvoy, picture Sportpix.com.au
Winning rider Tye Angland declared after the victory: “This boy right here, right now, is incredible…”
“He has got a big future this horse. He is only a three-year-old. He has just beaten probably our best sprinter in Australia, and that was exciting. I was very deflated last race [after running a narrow second in the Derby], but that’s racing and you bounce back.”
Angland concluded: “Coming up the rise there, having Redzel in our sights [and] being able to pick him up and put him away, that feels so good.”
Trapeze Artist defeated Redzel by two clear lengths. The grand sprinting racemare In Her Time (by Time Thief) ran on in the straight from well back in the field to finish third, a further two lengths adrift of the very valiant runner-up.
Highlighting the brilliant performance of the winner (as well as that of the runner-up) is the fact that the contest was run in the time of 1m08.29s, the final 600m taking a sharp 33.89s.
Though beaten by an outstanding 3-year-old colt on the day, Redzel lost nothing in defeat and seemed to race right up to his near flawless form over the past 18 months.
Starting prices of the first three horses home were $8.00 Trapeze Artist, $2.30 favourite Redzel and $4.40 In Her Time.
Now a dual Group 1 winning 3-year-old, Trapeze Artist took his race record to five wins and two thirds from 13 starts for earnings of $2,753,850.
Raced by Vieira Racing, Mr B Vieira, Mrs S G Vieira, Mr T Vieira, Mrs C Vieira-Choy and Mr J A Choy, Trapeze Artist was offered for sale by Bowness Stud as an Easter yearling but was passed in with a reserve of $300,000 by principal owner Bert Vieira who had acquired him in utero when purchasing his dam Treppes for $190,000.
Angland salutes the win, picture Sportpix.com.au
TJ Smith Stakes, photo finish picture ATC
What the beaten jockeys said:
Kerrin McEvoy (Redzel): “Ran a great race, he was gallant in defeat, he travelled nicely throughout and gave his customary kick at the furlong, unfortunately Trapeze Artist who is a smart horse in his own right just went on by me. Disappointing to get beat but he’s run well my fella.”
Glyn Schofield (Le Romain): “Super run.”
Craig Williams (Brave Smash): “I was disappointed for connections, they paid a late entry fee for this horse, on his best form he runs top three, but unfortunately he didn’t travel and let down like we know he can.”
Kevin Forrester (Jungle Edge): “He just over-raced a little bit and they can’t finish it off if they do that.”
Blake Shinn (Takedown): “They were just a little bit sharp for him these top sprinters, I think if he can come back a notch in grade and go up a little bit further I think he’s certainly going to be competitive again.”
Jay Ford (Fell Swoop): “He’s probably not going as well as he once was but also to I think he is just looking for further now.”
Damian Lane (In Her Time): “She ran massive, it was a very badly judged ride, just didn’t show enough urgency on her in the early stages and ended up back in an impossible position. She hit the line really well.”
Sam Clipperton (English): “I think she just felt the track, it’s got a bit firmer as the day has gone on. She didn’t like that firmer surface.”
Tim Clark (Global Glamour): “Tough run but she’s come to the end of her preparation, she’s going for a break now.”
Zac Purton (The Mission): “It was a good effort.”
Trapeze Artist with a dynamite sprint!!— Sky Racing (@SkyRacingAU) April 7, 2018
Redzel gives a good sight rounding the bend, but the @GRyanRacing-trained colt was more than game, driving hard and fast to the line for a statement win in the T J Smith!! pic.twitter.com/yTg4LjiEA7