Takeover wins in Japan
By CARYL WILLIAMSON
SYDNEY (PA): Australian sprint champion Takeover Target scored a devastating win on Sunday evening in the Group One Sprinters Stakes at Nakayama in Japan.
The globetrotting gelding and his trainer Joe Janiak, who is preparing to set up stables in Coffs Harbour, took centre stage at Royal Ascot in June with victory in the Group Two King's Stand and third in the Group One Golden Jubilee.
Les Arcs, who won the Golden Jubilee, finished seventh on Sunday while last year's Sprinters Stakes winner, Hong Kong superstar Silent Witness, was fourth.
Jay Ford took Takeover Target to the lead from barrier 13 with Silent Witness keeping in close contact.
When the field straightened up for the run home, Takeover Target asserted his authority and kicked away from his rivals, beating Meisho Bowler by 2-1/2 lengths with Tagano Bastille another neck third.
"I knew he was 110 per cent fit," declared Janiak, the former taxi driver who bought Takeover Target for just $1250.
"I knew he'd give 110 per cent because that's what it would take to win this race because he's up against the best.
"As it turned out, the jockey put in a 110 per cent and all in all, it turned out nice for us."
Takeover Target was registering his 13th victory in 23 starts - all for the impressive Ford.
"I'm very excited," said the jockey.
"It's good to see the horse come out and everyone seeing him at his best.
"The horse raced fantastic and he showed that at the end of the day he was too strong.
"We drew a bit of an awkward gate but this horse has good gate speed. We were as confident as we could be - we were confident, but there is always that fear.
"Our horse is a horse that likes to get in front and get going, so at the end of the day, it didn't really faze us what happened. We were doing what we were always doing."
The 1200m race was the penultimate leg of the Global Sprint challenge and the win keeps Janiak's hopes of a $US1 million bonus alive heading to the final race of the series, the Hong Kong International Sprint at Sha Tin on December 10.
The bonus is awarded to any horse who can win three of the Group One races in the Challenge in three different counties.
Takeover Target won the Lightning Stakes at Flemington in February to kick off the series.
At his first race in Japan in the Centaur Stakes at Chukyo three weeks ago, Takeover Target was unsuited by the anti-clockwise direction and the wet conditions when he ran second to track specialist She Is Tosho. That mare did not show the same finishing burst on Sunday and finished eighth.