Chain Of Lightning causes upset in G1 TJ Smith Stakes

Chain Of Lightning has relished the rain-affected conditions at Randwick to upset a host of Australasia’s best sprinters in the Group 1 TJ Smith Stakes.

The narrow victory by the mare in Saturday’s $3 million sprint on a heavy-rated track gave trainer Peter Moody his fourth victory in Sydney’s feature open-age sprint of the autumn but, significantly, it also delivered Katherine Coleman her first Group 1 win as a trainer.

Coleman joined Moody in a training partnership at the start of this season.

Chain Of Lightning was one of two runners in the race for Moody and Coleman along with defending champion I Wish I Win, and Moody admitted the latter caught his eye as he made a charge on the outside at the business end of the 1200m race.

But it was Chain Of Lightning ($21) who hit the front closest to the inside early in the straight and the mare fended off all her challengers under jockey Damian Lane to defeat Bella Nipotina ($11) by a short neck with I Wish I Win ($4.20) another short half-head away third.

Star mare Imperatriz, chasing her 11th Group 1 win and sixth this season, was close up in fourth as the $3.50 favourite with betting apps.

Moody said it was a special moment to win the race for long-time clients Stuart and Trish Ramsey, who race the five-year-old mare, and also to add another victory in the race named for his former boss, the late TJ Smith.

Moody had previously won the TJ Smith with champion Black Caviar (2011 and 2013) and I Wish I Win (2023).

“Phenomenal, isn’t it?” Moody said.

“It wasn’t quite the one I thought. I was looking at Wish (I Wish I Win) steaming down the outside.

“But it’s a beautiful moment.

“Stuart and Trish Ramsey. They’ve been my foundation clients. We go back 30-odd years. To win that for him, that’s unbelievably special.

“Fourth time now winning the race named after ‘The Little Master’, my first boss TJ Smith, which makes me very proud.”

Chain Of Lightning won her first five starts and also started equal favourite in the 2022 $10 million Golden Eagle, won by I Wish I Win, but went winless for almost 18 months until she took out the Group 3 Birthday Card Stakes (1200m) at Rosehill two weeks ago.

Connections decided to run her in the TJ Smith and it paid off.

“She’s rock-hard fit and we wanted to take advantage of that,” Moody said.

“And Damian Lane gave her a gun ride.”

I Wish I Win went into the TJ Smith first-up since running second in The Everest at the same track last spring, and Moody said the gelding was superb.

“He was there to win and probably just peaked on his run the last little bit,” Moody said.

Imperatriz’s trainer Mark Walker said the mare tried hard in defeat.

“She just got hemmed up there a little bit but she just wasn’t quite good enough on the day,” Walker said.

“She goes back to New Zealand tomorrow for a spell and then we’ll let the dust settle and see what happens next season.”

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