Joe's ready for Ascot
IN preparation for next week's Group 2 King's Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot, Coffs Harbour trainer Joe Janiak has again dusted off his top hat and tails supremely confident that another meeting with royalty is imminent.
That confidence stems from the emphatic victory that his his star seven year-old gelding Takeover Target had over two weeks ago in the Group 1 Doomben 10,000.
Janiak labelled the seven-year-old's victory at Doomben as the best of his 26-start career and can't wait to race him in England where he will again tackle the Group 2 King's Stand (1000m) and the Group 1 Golden Jubilee (1200m) at Royal Ascot four days later.
Rated the world's best sprinter last season following his international deeds in England and Japan where he won the Sprinters' Stakes, Takeover Target has increased the tempo on the training track as he continues to tune up for the first leg of the in just over a week's time.
And Janiak's son Ben has reported that Takeover Target looking good and is on target for his second tilt at Royal Ascot's featured sprint races.
"The horse galloped on Thursday morning over six furlongs (1200 metres)," he said.
"It was really nice workout."
Last year, Janiak's overseas expedition with his beloved 'Archie' became the classic rags-to-riches racing fairytale in what proved a pioneering campaign for Australian racing.
This year, other star Australian horses Miss Andretti, Bentley Biscuit and Magnus are trying to emulate the deeds that Janiak and Takeover Target produced in 2006.
The latest betting on the King's Stand, from UK bookmaker Ladbrokes, has Takeover Target and Miss Andretti joint favourites with local filly Enticing at 6-1.
Bentley Biscuit is at 7-1, and Magnus is a 14-1 chance.
"I'm so excited I can't explain how I feel. This is as good as it comes and it's a great rush," Janiak said.
"He's up there with the best in the world, but I think he's in better condition now than when I took him to England last year.
"Provided he continues as he is then he's right on target to win both races this time."
Last year, Coffs Harbour's newly adopted speedster finished third in the Golden Jubilee Stakes before leaving England following his seventh in the July Cup (1200m) at Newmarket.
Janiak is unlikely to stay on for the July Cup this year and has ruled out a return trip to Japan or Hong Kong in favour of the Melbourne spring carnival.
"I'd say this will be his last trip overseas. I was thinking about going to France for a Group One race but it's in August and I rather him go around in Melbourne then we can stay home next season before he'll probably be retired," the trainer said.
Takeover Target's victory took his prizemoney to $4.1 million with 14 victories in 26 starts.
Another Coffs Harbour horse nearly tasted Group 1 success on Saturday in the Queensland Derby.
The Ken Lantry-trained King Of The Nile produced a barnstorming outside run down the straight to come from second last at the turn to finishing a close fifth behind the Bart Cummings-trained Empires Choice.