Forced retirement for Takeover Target
Hollywood has their work cut out for them, as bringing the life story of an Australian wonder to the big screen is not going to be an easy task. There is no other horse in the history of Australia that has overcome so many obstacles in his life and no race horse is loved more by the public and racing enthusiasts, than Takeover Target. His is a story that began with disappointment and abandonment, and of how one man ended it, with the potential he saw and a chance he took. It is a story of love and dedication, and how success can be achieved through faith and trust.
Everyone in Australia and in the international horse racing community is familiar with the tale of Takeover Target. Of how his racing career was marred with losses and trainers giving up hope on the horse that was pushed aside due to having bad legs, and how the then taxi driver, Joe Janiak scraped together $1250 to purchase him. Together, Janiak and Takeover Target weathered the storms of lameness and sarcastic remarks. But when Takeover Target stepped out onto the racetrack a year later, all critics and non-believers were silenced. This wonderful horse, under the guidance of his owner and trainer, flourished to win twenty one of his forty one starts, came second three times and took third position in four events, leading to prize money earnings of over $6 million. The race that Takeover Target will always be remembered for, is the TJ Smith Stakes at Randwick Park, where up against top younger champions such as Apache Cat and Bel Mer, the ten year old gave the best winning performance of his career. His last victory would be in Adelaide, in the Goodwood Handicap.
After finishing uncomfortably seventh in the July Cup on Saturday, 11 July 2009, Janiak had Takeover Target seen by a vet, only to find out that he had cracked his cannon bone in one of his rear legs. Emergency surgery was performed to insert five pins into this leg, and signaled the end of an era. The Hollywood movie might not have its victorious ending now, but for Janiak, the most important part is that he will be able to bring his champion home, and have him around to enjoy his retirement years together. Takeover Target and Janiak have been inseparable from the day they became a team, and no doubt that this partnership will be remembered by the horse racing industry and fans, until eternity.