The story of Takeover Target reads like a fairy tale. Foaled in the year 1999, Takeover Target was bought by a taxi driver named Joe Janiak, who managed to scrape together $AUD1250, for the unsound Takeover Target, who was also unraced at that stage. But Janiak was prepared to take a chance on him, and in return, the gelding has given his best every time he has stepped out onto the course, leading to him being referred to as the best Australian horse that has ever lived. And on Saturday, 18 April 2009, he proved that he was the best, once again.
The TJ Smith Stakes was held at the Randwick Racecourse in Sydney, Australia, on Saturday and is a Grade 1 event that is run over a distance of 1200 meters. As the six contenders entered the starting gates, with the nine year old Takeover Target, the tension in the grandstands hung like a thick mist. No-one was certain how this experienced horse would perform against his younger counterparts, but as soon as the gates swung open the writing was on the wall.
Regular jockey for Takeover Target, Jay Ford, was considered too light for the event, therefore Nash Rawiller teamed up with the racing great for the TJ Smith Stakes. Facing a dead track, Takeover Target took on the challenge with the greatest of ease, leading the field from the starting gates to the finish line. Northern Meteor tried to chase him down, but the gutsy three year old had to settle for the second place, over two lengths behind Takeover Target, with Apache Cat in third place. Not only did he win in spectacular fashion, but he set the new track record as well. Takeover Target increased his victories to twenty, from thirty eight starts, of which he also placed ten times and raised his career earnings to $5.8 million. As Takeover Target entered the winners circle, for what is said to be his last appearance in Sydney, eighteen thousand spectators rose to their feet in unison, to honor a truly deserving champion and a horse racing legend.