Takeover Target misses the mark

COFFS Harbour's best racing export Joe Janiak met the Queen on Saturday before his beloved Takeover Target ran in the Golden Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot.

Janiak would not confirm the conversation although chances of a knighthood for the legendary galloper now look long-odds after he could only finish fourth in the big race.

Takeover is believed to have jarred his legs and needed to be examined by a vet.

“His last two starts, he just doesn't seem to be finishing it off,” Janiak said.

“It might be a minor problem there. The only thing I can think of at the moment is that the track was very firm here last Tuesday and he might have jarred up and started to feel his legs.

“We'll get a vet to check him over during the week and see where we go from there.”

The champion speedster finished fourth in the prestigious Group One race over 1200m after giving up his early lead in the race to be beaten by Ireland's 33-1 shot Kingsgate Native.

The Australian-bred and English-trained War Artist was second by a length and a quarter followed by US entrant Sir Gerry another three-quarters of a length back.

Takeover Target, who finished second in the King's Stand Stakes (1000m) on Tuesday, has enjoyed success in the Golden Jubilee in previous years, finishing second last year and third in 2006. But this year it was not a case of third time lucky.

A downbeat Janiak said while he wasn't disappointed with the result, he would wait for the vet to examine the horse before deciding whether to race him in the Group One July Cup at Newmarket.

“If he's not right he won't be going,” Janiak said.

“But if we can get him right and find out what the problem is and it's only minor there's no reason we can't.

“Maybe it's age. He's been kept going for quite a while. I slowed down many years ago”.

Meanwhile, north of the border in Brisbane local trainer Gordon Yorke's Nuclear Medicine will follow the same path as former star stablemate Natural Destiny to the Group Two Salinger Stakes at Flemington on Derby Day in the spring following his superb win in the Healy Stakes on Saturday.

Nuclear Medicine cruised in front to score an all-the-way 1-1/4 length win over Rapid Jacko in the 1200-metre Group Three feature.

“He's the people's horse and is owned Australia-wide,” said Yorke.

“There's thousands in it (his ownership).”

Yorke won the Healy Stakes with Natural Destiny two years ago which earned him a trip to Melbourne where he finished fifth to the Gai Waterhouse-trained Dance Hero in the Salinger Stakes when it was a Group One sprint.

Yorke heaped praise on Coffs Harbour jockey Scott Thurlow for a brilliant display on the four-year-old gelding today.

“Scott rode him brilliantly. He's a genius and is a sticker,” Yorke said.

“He's been with me on and off for four years and he deserved this win.”

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