Takeover Target is the toast of Ascot
TAKEOVER Target followed in the famous footsteps of Choisir to record a famous victory for Australia in a dramatic renewal of the Group Two King's Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot in the early hours of Wednesday morning.
Choisir blazed the trail for Australia in winning the King's Stand Stakes and the Group One Golden Jubilee Stakes in scintillating fashion at the 2003 Royal festival, but it can be argued that Takeover Target's effort in giving weight and a beating to 27 rivals yesterday was more impressive.
Ready to move into the newly-built Janiak stables in Coffs Harbour when he returns from his overseas campaign, Takeover Target produced a brilliant performance to beat Benbaun by a short-head after looking likely to be passed in the closing stages.
Winning jockey Jay Ford produced a stunning ride, bouncing the seven-year-old gelding out of the starting gates before urging him across from his midfield draw to sit handy just behind a strong pace on the favoured grandstand side.
The pair took the lead with a furlong remaining and stuck on in grand style to finish ahead of the fast finishing runner-up.
Winning trainer Joe Janiak took the success of Takeover Target in his stride.
"I wasn't quite quite sure whether he got there," he said of the photo finish.
"It was a great result."
Ford was also uncertain whether he had held on.
"I thought I'd got nutted on the line so (it was) a bit of a surprise to come back and see we'd held on," the winning jockey said.
"He drew poorly and had to do the work to get across and probably his condition from being first-up just gave out the last bit, but he's just all heart.
"It was a fantastic race and I'm just glad to come out on top, to do it in another country is something special."
Janiak was non-committal when asked if Takeover Target would continue to tread the Choisir trail by tackling the Golden Jubilee Stakes on Saturday, for which British bookmakers immediately made him a short-priced favourite.
"It took a little bit out of him, that race," Janiak said.
"We'll just see how he pulls up."