2023 TJ Smith Stakes preview & best bets | Saturday, April 1

TJ Smith Stakes tips

What 2023 TJ Smith Stakes
Where Royal Randwick Racecourse – Alison Rd, Randwick NSW 2031
When Saturday, April 1, 2023
Prizemoney $3,000,000
Distance 1200m
Status Group 1
Conditions Weight For Age
2022 winner Nature Strip (1) | T: Chris Waller | J: James McDonald (58.5kg)

The 2023 TJ Smith Stakes is one of the four Group 1 features on Day 1 of The Championships and it’s for Australia’s best sprinters. Nature Strip headlines the incredible 15-horse field engaged for this year’s edition, looking to bag an unprecedented four straight wins in the race.

It’s a race that sees multiple gallopers seeking revenge on Giga Kick from The Everest in October, and some up-and-coming sprinters looking to stake their claim as the world’s best over the 1200m. In Secret is one of those three-year-olds taking on the older horses, just as she did successfully in the Group 1 Newmarket Handicap.

It’s always a race full of storylines and the 2023 renewal is no different.


The Everest winner Giga Kick has opened favourite with online betting sites at $4 for this year’s TJ Smith Stakes, but the market is undecided on who will start as the top elect on Saturday. Nature Strip ($4.50) could well be a market mover with punters, as could In Secret ($5). Newmarket Handicap runners Private Eye and I Wish I Win round out the horses in single figures at $9 each. Passive Aggressive is the best of those at double figures, as the Group 2 Challenge Stakes winner has found some early support at $11.


Despite Eduardo being absent form this year’s TJ Smith Stakes we should still be seeing a strong tempo throughout the 1200m journey. The Bjorn Baker-trained duo of Overpass (4) and Shades Of Rose (11) always tend to show good early speed, seeing the latter speed across to lead on the rail. Private Eye (2) should find a perfect position just in behind that pair with Mazu (1) to do something similar from the inside draw. Passive Aggressive (6) got on the leader’s back in the Challenge Stakes, so look for Jordan Childs to press forward as well. Nature Strip (7) draws to find a mid-field sit with cover, as should Paulele (3) and Shelby Sixtysix (5), although he’s traditionally lacked early speed. Two of the favoured runners have found awkward draws with Giga Kick (9) and In Secret (12) possibly being forced back unless ridden with vigour, while the likes of Lofty Strike (10) and I Wish I Win (14) are sure to be well off the leaders turning for home.

Continue reading for HorseBetting’s top selections and $100 betting strategy for the 2023 TJ Smith Stakes.


In what can only be described as an outstanding edition of the Group 1 TJ Smith Stakes, we think Giga Kick has to go on top. He’s barely put a foot wrong so far in his young career, and although there’s plenty of class around this three-year-old, we think he can overcome some very stiff competition. His Everest success at the end of last year came as a shock to most, bringing in what most punters would say was modest form; however, he proved too strong and powered over the top of his rivals, most of which he will see again on Saturday. His first-up effort in the Challenge Stakes was breathtaking, running the fastest last 400m sectional of the day at Randwick on March 4. Craig Williams unfortunately can’t take the ride due to injury, so trainer Clayton Douglas has procured the services of world-class jockey Zac Purton to take the reins. Look for Purton to have this son of Scissor Kick just off mid-field before exploding down the middle of the track late. If he finds luck in this race, it could be all over.

Private Eye is our saver bet and has come up the wrong price after running into the quinella spot in The Everest behind Giga Kick. He was first-up carrying a hefty weight in the Group 1 Newmarket Handicap on March 11 and gets a major swing at the scales this time, finding the weight-for-age conditions very suitable. He was only beaten 1.95 lengths on what you could argue wasn’t the best going as well. He was huge and now draws the perfect gate to stalk the leaders on Saturday with Brenton Avdulla on board. If there’s an upset brewing, Private Eye could be it.

What a story it would be if Nature Strip could win his fourth TJ Smith Stakes. The old boy had continuously raised the bar for the Australian sprinting ranks, and when he was able to replicate what Chautauqua had achieved five years prior, it was a sight to behold for horse racing fans. His best is clearly good enough, and part of us wants to see him come out and do it again, but off his run in the Newmarket Handicap, it’s hard to be in his corner other than for the emotion involved. A win wouldn’t shock – in fact, we’d probably be overjoyed.

In Secret, I Wish I Win, Passive Aggressive – the list goes on and on for genuine winning hopes. Outside a couple of exceptions, most of these can find Group 1 glory.



$100 betting strategy
$70 win #4 Giga Kick @ $4 at Unibet
$30 win #3 Private Eye @ $9 at Ladbrokes

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