T.J. Smith Stakes 2023

Distance: 1200m | Conditions: WFA | Rail Position: True | Track Condition: Soft 6

What an edition we’ve got in store for this year’s TJ! It’s the feature sprint race for Day 1 of the Championships and one of the most anticipated races on the racing calendar. Nature Strip is here again, gunning for his unprecedented 4th T.J. Smith but with a deep field, he’s got his work cut out. Yet again, there’s going to be some rain around, and conditions on the day are hard to predict at this stage but let’s try find a winner!


Speed Map

Nature Strip should get it all his own way out in front, with Mariamia and Passive Aggressive stalking closely. Lost and Running may also have no other option to roll forward from that wide gate. Mazu and Private Eye won’t have too much to do from theirs, tucking in and around In Secret, Overpass and Paulele in midfield. That will leave Giga Kick, I Wish I Win and Lofty Strike to have last crack at them. 

Key Runners

1.jockey silks Nature Strip (7)

Jury’s out for the Champ. It’s fair to say his best is past him, but what a horse he’s been. He’s gunning for his fourth TJ here and Waller does have a habit of working miracles. He’ll have to find a few lengths to win this based on recent efforts but the rain will help and at worst is still one for the exotics.

2.jockey silksLost and Running (15)

First-up for this. A top sprinter on his day, highlighted by the fact he was second favourite going into last years Everest, but injury setbacks continue to be his kryptonite. Trials look promising but wide alley doesn’t help so is hard to have for mine.

3.jockey silks Private Eye (2)

Was huge in the Everest last year and has come back nicely. Loomed up in the Newmarket but appeared to have peaked in the run carrying the big weight. Won’t have to do any work from the gate but worry he could get caught in some trouble. Can’t ignore him.

4.jockey silksMazu (1)

Has matured into a ripping horse. Didn’t have it easy in the Newmarket but punched it out for a sound 5th. Another one who was immense in the Everest over this track and trip and at a price can go well again. Should be able to get to a nice spot from the gate.

5. jockey silksPaulele (3)

Would need plenty luck but ‘the Magic Man’ goes on and Godolphin take great care in placing their horses. Still, hasn’t proven himself at this level to date and I doubt he’ll trouble these.

6. jockey silksI Wish I Win (14)

Star Victorian galloper who is proven at this way of going, winning the Golden Eagle here last year. Has been super of late and probably does his best work over a touch further but meets first and second from the Newmarket better at the weights here. Gate is a worry but has all the class.

7. jockey silksOverpass (4)

When cherry-ripe, this bloke can be genuinely competitive in this class. He beat Anamoe fresh in the Expressway last year and stuck with them in the Everest last year. Has been gelded and gets a favourable draw. Not the worst.

8. jockey silksRocketing By (8)

Going well by his standards but up against some genuine stars here at WFA and looks out of his depth.

9. jockey silksShelby Sixtysix (5)

The rain is coming but we need a monsoon for this bloke to be considered. Can’t have him and price is justified.

10. jockey silksGiga Kick (9)

Three-year-old superstar who came back with excellent sectionals first up in the Challenge Stakes after finding some trouble early. Is an Everest winner over this track and distance, Purton goes aboard and will be there abouts in the finish again. No knock.

11. jockey silksLofty Strike (10)

What a prep this bloke is having. He won the Rubiton, ran a gallant second in the Oakleigh Plate and then flew home in the Newmarket for another close second. First time this way of going and I think he goes better on a long straight where he can build up but still expect him to be flying home late again. 

12. jockey silksMariamia (13)

Won the Galaxy first-up over 1100m, beating home Uncommon James thanks to a peach of a ride. This is a whole new level and she isn’t helped by drawing 13. Can’t see her doing much against this lot.

13. jockey silksPassive Aggressive (6)

Just pipped Eduardo on the line in the Challenge Stakes over 1000m but was treading water towards the end with Giga Kick really starting to get into his work. Speedy, has a good record over 1200m and is now five from her last six, but I there’s better at a nicer price.

14. jockey silksShades of Rose (11)

Her return in the Galaxy was plain and only beat home two in the end. Isn’t up to this level.

15. jockey silksIn Secret (12)

This filly just continues to amaze. Blitzed them with ease in Newmarket after letting down with an incredible turn of foot. Is now a two-time G1 winner over the trip and gets in light again. She’s slightly short for me but can’t knock her.


Betting Strategy

Real tough one but I’m looking around the most of the favourites here. There’s plenty here at a price who you simply can’t dismiss.

6. jockey silksI Wish I Win

10. jockey silksGiga Kick

4.jockey silksMazu

11. jockey silksLofty Strike