THE prospects of Coffs Harbour's sprinting sensation Takeover Target for tonight's King's Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot have increased dramatically thanks to a favourable barrier draw on Sunday night.
In a race usually won by horses coming down the grandstand fence, the seven year-old will jump from gate 14 in a field of 21.
The barrier draw at Ascot has become increasingly vital despite the course changes which have led to slightly smaller fields.
Australia's two King's Stand Stakes winners Choisir (2003) and Takeover Target both raced close to the outside fence before saluting.
Jockey Jay Ford jumped the world champion sprinter from barrier 17 last year in a 28-horse field.
Takeover Target returns to Ascot tomorrow chasing more glory on the opening day of the meeting where he catapulted trainer Joe Janiak to international stardom 12 months ago.
Janiak admitted that he was excited to once again be racing in England but said that he was a lot more relaxed this time around compared to 12 months ago.
He added that the relaxed feeling among the Takeover Target camp stemmed from a feeling that the group was under far less pressure than last season because of two reasons last year's success and the fact Bentley Biscuit, Miss Andretti and Magnus were also there.
"We're probably a lot more relaxed because you know what it's all about," he said.
"Last year there was a bit of apprehension about how we'd go.
"We're coming in this time with three races under our belt and he's race fit.
"Miss Andretti is certainly the big danger and we've got a lot of respect for Bentley Biscuit and Magnus. They're all going to be hard to beat."
Ford expects the ageless gelding to justify his second favouritism a 6-1 chance behind Miss Andretti (7-2) in British markets and further enhance Janiak's reputation.
"I rode Takeover Target this morning and he felt really good," Ford said on Sunday.