04/11/2012 10:26AM

Australia: T.J. Smith at Randwick first Breeders' Cup Challenge race for BC Turf Sprint


The races may be on opposite sides of the world, but the winner of Saturday’s Group 1 T.J. Smith Stakes at Randwick Racecourse in Australia will receive a fees-paid berth to the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint at Santa Anita in November.

Part of the Breeders’ Cup Challenge program, the $1.02 million Smith Stakes is the first race of the year to offer a berth in the BC Turf Sprint, provided the winner is nominated to the Breeders’ Cup program or is made eligible later this year.

The Smith is run over about six furlongs and has drawn a field of six.

Foxwedge, a 4-year-old colt by Commands, seeks his second Group 1 win of the year, three weeks after winning the William Reid Stakes. His main rival is Rain Affair, a 5-year-old gelding by Fastnet Rock who has won three Group 2 races in 2012.

There are three Group 1 races on the Randwick Stakes card. Pierro, the winner of the $3.5 million Golden Slipper on April 7, makes a quick turnaround for the $510,000 Sires Produce Stakes for 2-year-olds over about seven furlongs. Trained by Gai Waterhouse, Pierro must beat All Too Hard, a half-brother to the star unbeaten sprinter Black Caviar.

All Too Hard won two Group 2 races in March.

The Waterhouse-trained Laser Hawk, a gelding by Artie Schiller, starts in the $1.53 million Australian Derby over about 1 1/2 miles. Laser Hawk won the Group 1 Rosehill Guineas on March 31, beating Ocean Park and Silent Achiever, who are part of the Australian Derby field.

◗ Presvis, an 8-year-old gelding whose career highlights include a win in the $5 million Dubai Duty Free at Meydan Racecourse in the United Arab Emirates in 2011, has been retired, according to a statement on trainer Luca Cumani’s website.

Presvis finished 14th in the Dubai Duty Free on March 31, a loss that led to the decision, the statement read. The stable is seeking a home for Presvis, who could be retrained as a pony.

A winner of 8 of 28 starts and approximately $6.9 million, Presvis was based in Europe for most of his career, but gave his best performances on opposite sides of Asia. In 2009, he won the Group 1 Queen Elizabeth II Cup in Hong Kong.