Takeover Target is world class
RACING: Six months after his final race, Coffs Harbour’s equine wonder Takeover Target continues to astonish.
From just a handful of starts in 2009 including the ill-fated appearance at Newmarket which brought down the curtain on his remarkable career, the great horse still managed to get himself rated the world’s equal-sixth best sprinter on the World Thoroughbred Rankings.
Compiled each year by senior handicappers of major racing jurisdictions, the rankings have been officially confirmed by the International Federation of Horseracing Authorities.
Now spending his twilight years in retirement at Coffs Harbour racecourse, the horse known as Archie received a mark of 119, equal to fellow Australians All Silent and Apache Cat, along with Hong Kong short-course specialist Happy Zero and the now deceased Big City Man, formerly raced by Godolphin in the United Arab Emirates.
Equal top billing of 122 was shared by Hong Kong’s champion sprinter Sacred Kingdom and Western Australian-based Scenic Blast. Overall, Takeover Target was ranked equally the 65th best horse on the planet during 2009 on the strength of just four racetrack appearances.
After what many claim was the greatest victory of his career in the Group 1 TJ Smith Stakes at Royal Randwick on April 18, the horse had what was eventually his last start on home turf at Morphettville on May 2, winning the Group 1 Goodwood Handicap.
Next stop was Singapore for the Group 1 KrisFlyer International Sprint at Kranji but Archie didn’t handle the track and finished back in the pack.
Then to England for a fourth raid on the northern hemisphere summer carnivals but the horse was withdrawn from the Group 1 Golden Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot after developing an elevated temperature.
Finally, the end of the road came in the Group 1 July Cup at Newmarket when the champion kept giving despite being injured early in the race.
Takeover Target earned his highest ranking of 120 in 2006 when judged overall the 28th best racehorse in the world.
His rankings remained unchanged at 117 during 2007-08 but being so highly-valued at a 10 year old in what proved his final season on the track, is unique ... placing him among the elite sprinting thoroughbreds of all time.
This Sunday, Joe Janiak is taking his constant companion on another leg of the farewell tour to Ballina for Coolmore Iris Nielsen Day, honouring the late Northern Rivers jockey who died in a race fall at Lismore in 1988.