TJ contenders shine at Randwick trials

3 min read

by Bren O'Brien

A collection of leading contenders for the next week's G1 TJ Smith S, including co-favourites Trapeze Artist (Snitzel) and Osborne Bulls (Street Cry {Ire}), stepped out at a star-studded trial session at Randwick on Friday.

Trapeze Artist, a last start winner of the G1 Canterbury S. warmed up for the defence of his TJ Smith S. crown, with a narrow trial success without his customary blinkers.

Given plenty of time to get into his work by Blake Shinn, Trapeze Artist sat up on the outside of the leader Irithea (Snitzel) and edged the mare narrowly on the line in the slowest of the four open trials over the 1045m.

Meanwhile, Osborne Bulls was given a very easy time of it in a much stronger trial, finishing seventh, some 3.5l behind Vega Magic (Lope De Vega {Ire}), who will go first-up into the TJ Smith and was given a strong hitout by Damien Oliver.

Also in the heat was four-time Group 1 winning sprinter Santa Ana Lane (Lope De Vega {Ire}), who worked him very nicely having finished fifth in the recent G1 Newmarket Hcp.

Lean Mean Machine (Zoustar), who has been below par in two runs this campaign, showed he was back on song with the fastest time of the morning of 1 min 02.8s, a full second quicker than Trapeze Artist and 0.4 faster than Vega Magic.

The 3-year-old sat just in behind the pace and produce a strong finish to win by 1.8l. He holds a nomination for both the TJ Smith and the G2 Arrowfield 3YO Sprint during The Championships.

Fellow Chris Waller 3-year-old Zousain (Zoustar) also looked in good shape in his trial, pushing through to win by 1.5l in 1.03.4. He also holds nominations for the TJ Smith and the Arrowfield Sprint, which is on the following week.

Behind Zousain in the trial was three-time Group 1 winning mare Shoals (Fastnet Rock), who finished third under a firm grip from jockey Tim Clark. She is also headed to the TJ Smith.

Earlier, Happy Clapper (Teofilo {Ire}) continued his preparations for an 11th clash with Winx (Street Cry {Ire}) in the G1 Queen Elizabeth S on April 13, with a terrific trial win, charging home from the rear of the field.

“The good thing about the trial is it keeps the fitness there." - Trainer Pat Webster

“The good thing about the trial is it keeps the fitness there," trainer Pat Webster said. “He needed time to get over the Melbourne incident because you don’t have a grade 3 (internal bleed) and get straight over it."

“Blake (Shinn) was happy with him and all going well he’ll run in the Queen Elizabeth.’’

He narrowly defeated Declarationofheart (Declaration of War {USA}), who is bound for Saturday week's G1 Australian Derby along with Global Exchange (Dundeel {NZ}), who was a close-up fifth in his first trial for new jockey Kerrin McEvoy.

The fastest of the 2-year-old trials over the 1045m was taken out by Peter and Paul Snowden's Brazenpine (Brazen Beau), with leading G1 Inglis Sires hope Castelvecchio (Dundeel {NZ}) rattling home late to finish fourth.

The most visibly impressive trialler of the morning was saved until the last heat when the unraced Embracer (Sebring), trained by Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott, won an open 3YO trial by six lengths over the 742m.

A $280,000 purchase at the 2017 Australian Easter Yearling Sales, the colt is a half-brother to both Group 1 winner and Widden stallion Star Witness (Starcraft {NZ}) and multiple group winner and now Rosemont stallion Nostradamus (Medaglia D'Oro {USA}).

Embracer as a yearling