He's Back: Takeover Target on Track for Ascot

Takeover Target roared back into Royal Ascot contention Saturday by gunning down the wonder 3-year-old filly of Australia, Gold Edition to win the AU$650,000 (U.S.$533,000) Carlton Draught Doomben 10,000 (Aus-I)over 6 ¾ furlongs (1350m) at Doomben Racecourse.

And he did it in a manner that suggests he is in better shape than when he last went to England and won.

He ran 1.18.55 (seventh tenths of a second off the track record) to win the time honored race by half a length from the gallant Gold Edition (Lion Hunter-Glimmers by Success Express) who speared out of the gates and led from the moment they hit the ground until the last furlong. a local star runner at the famous old Queensland track, rattled home for third a further half length away. Takeover Target was second favorite at 11/4. Gold Edition was sent out favourite at 6/4 in the 10-horse field.

“But I cannot claim any excuses,” reasoned Jim Cassidy who rode Gold Edition. “I led at a suitable pace. She traveled enormously throughout, and she found plenty when we turned for home but we were simply run down by the best sprinter in the world. That’s all there is too it. He was better on the day. But remember, this filly is only a baby and her effort was stunning.”

Gold Edition’s trainer Ron Maund agreed. “I just take my hat off to him. I didn’t think anything could beat us in this and he sat on her rump, carried more weight, then out kicked her down the running. He is a champion. And he will take some beating in England again.”

Gold Edition, a modern day iron horse, was having her 28th career start and 19th since November 1 last year. She has amassed over Aus$2.5million ($2,133,000) in stakes and has been in work for 18 months straight now. She has won 10 of her last 12 starts and is a public idol in Australia.

“And wasn’t it something to behold?,” claimed Takeover Target’s former taxi cab driving trainer Joe Janiak. “I knew he had come up well this year and his last start was great when second at group one level. But he had improved two lengths on that run so I knew he would be hard to beat. I am shaking with excitement now because he leaves on Wednesday for England and France and we will be leaving in better shape than last year when he won over there,” said the trainer.

As we all know, Takeover Target, now an 8-year-old, was bought by Janiak for A$1,450 at a tried stock sale. He was an unraced 4-year-old at the time.

Yet Janiak saw something in him and has somehow managed to turn him into the current top sprinter in the world – a title he won after comprehensive wins at the highest level in Australia, England and Japan last year. In doing so he has earned Aus$4.3million ($3,520,000) in stakes along the way. Janiak no longer drives cabs and has spent his collected fortune on building a state of the art training complex at Coffs Harbour on the NSW sunshine enriched north coast.

Takeover Target will join fellow group 1 Australian sprinters in England next week – Miss Andretti, Magnus and Bentley Biscuit (the horse who has beaten him at his previous two starts) and they are expected to contest the June 16 group II King Stand Stakes at Ascot.

It is the race Takeover Target won last year.