Phew, that was close!
By GREG WHITE
GETTING all hot and bothered at Royal Randwick on Saturday almost caused Takeover Target to bring about his own downfall.
The great horse became all fired up and refused to settle in his front-running duel with Dance Hero in the Razor Sharp Quality.
He eventually shook off his tormentor but it meant he had nothing more than a champion's heart left in reserve when outsider Alverta made a late charge near the line.
Everybody, including jockey Jay Ford and trainer Joe Janiak, felt certain the unthinkable had happened until the photo finish showed a nose decision in favour of 'Archie'.
"Perhaps he was a bit fresh with the three weeks between runs and had done a bit too well," the jockey explained.
"I knew when we were behind the gates and he was jig-jogging around that he was going to go hard...he can do that sometimes but he's tough and he knows where the post is.
"I felt the mare was going to get us about three or four (strides) out from the line but he just keeps sticking his head out, he's a fighter, he doesn't know how to give up and he's one of a kind."
In winning his 16th race, Takeover Target has now taken his earning past $4.5 million but he brought more than a little sweat to the brow of trainer Joe Janiak in doing so.
"The way he raced today it set it up for the horse to get past him," he said.
"I didn't think he'd won but he just doesn't know how to get beaten."
Janiak said the horse will have his next start in the Villiers Stakes in two weeks but his future program depends on the Department of Primary Industries and what travel restrictions are in force.