Friday, June 24, 2011


THE Gai Waterhouse-trained Squamosa burnt punters in yesterday's Takeover Target Stakes at Gosford.
The 1200-metre race was won by the Joe Pride-trained Title, which started at $26 and was ridden by Jay Ford, the devoted pilot of Takeover Target when they travelled the globe with unprecedented success.
Squamosa was sent out the $1.30 favourite after the colt's scintillating return to racing when flogging the older horses in the June Stakes at Randwick.
''I couldn't have been any more confident after going a furlong-and-a-half,'' Squamosa's jockey Nash Rawiller told Racing NSW stewards.
As expected, Squamosa speared to the front from barrier three and, after hugging the rail around the bend, was the first beaten and compounded into seventh place.
''I was slightly concerned at the 500 metres. It is quite choppy 'round that bend but I expected him to pick up quickly coming out of it. There is something wrong with the horse. He is a lot better than that.''
Stewards ordered a veterinary inspection of Squamosa but no problem could be found.
Rawiller told stewards Squamosa, which had won four of five starts and was being talked of as a Royal Ascot contender, he had ridden the three-year-old in trackwork after the June Stakes romp.
''I've rode him since, he felt terrific,'' he said. ''He went 'round with the pony today and was a bit sweaty.''
He said Squamosa ''did have a good blow'' after the race and added: ''I couldn't fault him action-wise.''
Ford was on board Takeover Target when winning the Pacesetter Stakes, which launched the gelding on to the world stage.
''It was good to win the race on Takeover Target and good to win now it is named after him,'' Ford said. ''My horse was on the way up and when I asked him, he went super when he let down.''
Pride remembers Takeover Target's Pacesetter Stakes victory in 2004. ''[Pride's galloper] Red Oog wasn't good enough to win this race but he did run into Takeover Target,'' Pride said. ''He finished third … the old horse Mustard split us.''
Pride intended running Title in next Saturday's Civic Stakes but that might have to change.
''He has sat three wide without cover. It was a big effort to win today,'' Pride said.
''It might take something out of him. I'd have to be 110 per cent happy to run him in the Civic.''
Title has won seven from 17 starts, although the four-year-old wasn't expected to be winning a $100,000 listed race. ''I didn't picture him winning a race like this earlier in his career,'' Pride said.
Title's career looked to be in a spot of bother when he turned in two ordinary runs earlier in the year, but Pride worked the gelding out.
''We freshened him up, sent him out to owner Louise Nutman's place,'' Pride said. ''It did the trick.''
Title was able to stave off the Jan Bowen-trained Jest Crewsin' which had finished a distant third in the June Stakes.
''He has once again run an honest race and you can't ask any more from a horse than that,'' jockey Dale Spriggs said of Jest Crewsin'.
The Kris Lees-trained Motspur finished a gallant third after being trapped three and four wide from barrier 11. ''He might have been winning if he'd had a bit of luck,'' Lees said.
The Peter Snowden-trained Skytrain returned to Gosford for another crack at the Takeover Target. In last year's race, Skytrain was involved in a two-horse fall that left jockey Kerrin McEvoy with two fractured vertebra, and forced a lengthy stint on the sidelines.
''That was all right,'' Skytrain's jockey Josh Parr said after the gelding finished fourth.