Nature Strip opens as $4.50 favourite for TJ Smith Stakes

Nature Strip
Nature Strip wins the Black Caviar Lightning Stakes at Flemington. (Racing Photos)

The TAB has released pre-nominations markets for the Group 1 TJ Smith Stakes and Group 1 Sydney Cup, both of which will be run during The Championships at Royal Randwick in April 2022.

The TJ Smith has 34 horses priced between $4.50 and $51, while three runners share favouritism in the 43-strong Sydney Cup market.

Nature Strip has opened as a $4.50 favourite to retain his TJ Smith crown after a dominant Spring Carnival which saw him win The Everest and the Group 1 VRC Sprint Classic.

Nature Strip’s regular sparring partner Eduardo is the $7 second favourite, ahead of Classique Legend ($8) and Masked Crusader ($11).

Coolmore Stud Stakes winner Home Affairs shares the $13 quote with The Hunter winner Lost And Running, while Blue Diamond Stakes winner Artorius is rated an $18 chance alongside boom filly Espiona.

The TJ Smith will be run over 1200m on April 2, which is the first day of The Championships.

On April 9 for Day Two of The Championships, the stayers will line up in the Sydney Cup (3200m) in a bid to join the likes of Makybe Diva, Tie The Knot and Kingston Town on the honour roll.

After running second, third and fourth in this year’s Melbourne Cup, the trio of Incentivise, Spanish Mission and Floating Artist share favouritism at $11 in what is shaping to be one of the classiest Sydney Cup fields in years.

Melbourne Cup winner Verry Elleegant sits on the second line of betting at $15, alongside sixth placegetter Grand Promenade, while Delphi, Montefilia, Tralee Rose, defending champ Selino and Victoria Derby winner Hitotsu are all rated an $18 chance at this point in time.

There are 18 horses sitting on the $26 quote, including the likes of Great House, Persan, Realm Of Flowers, She’s Ideel and Warning.

Horses such as Explosive Jack, Master Of Wine and Team Captain are $51 chance, while Southern France is the $101 outsider of the field.

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