Royal Ascot: Draw bonus puts Gift Horse in right place to thwart Takeover

As everyone now knows, three years ago Joe Janiak bought an unraced cripple for around £450 - the sort of money that might be paid by an abattoir - before turning him into the champion sprinter of Australia. On Tuesday Janiak, a taxi driver who lives in a caravan, saddled Takeover Target to win the King's Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot and today he renews the ordeal of top hat and morning coat in search of an even bigger prize in the Golden Jubilee Stakes.

His pioneering compatriot, Paul Perry, achieved the same double in 2002 with Choisir, and Janiak has always believed that the sixth furlong today would suit Takeover Target better. The horse's nerveless young jockey, Jay Ford, managed to reach the favoured stands' side from a higher draw on Tuesday and it is certainly not sentiment that qualifies him as a warm favourite today.

The only reservation is that he has had precious little time to recover, and some horses are particularly liable to recoil after making a big effort following a break.

It would be ironic if, as is perfectly feasible, Takeover Target were thwarted by the other Australian runner, Glamour Puss, definitely better over this distance and barely a length behind on Tuesday. But a low draw gives home advantage to a horse that has long threatened to break into the sprinting élite in Gift Horse (3.45). He has run just six times since being dropped in trip by his new trainer, and looked better than ever on his reappearance, cruising through the race before tiring in sticky ground.

His former stable may have missed a trick with Gift Horse, but its fortunes this week confirm that James Fanshawe is one of the best trainers in the land. Never mind Soviet Song, to win both mile handicaps at the meeting is an astounding achievement, and a rails draw has sealed Firenze's status as favourite for another stampede in the Wokingham Handicap.

But much more enticing odds are available about Chookie Heiton (4.25), whose trek from Scotland has been rewarded with a berth in the adjacent stall. He has improved since finishing third in this race in his youth, and shaped as though returning to his best at Musselburgh last time.

Though that race placed an unsuitable emphasis on speed and he was caught out wide throughout, he kept on nicely in the closing stages and is now 5lb lower than when beaten only a length in the Portland Handicap last autumn. The booking of Michael Kinane suggests that his shrewd trainer - narrowly foiled with a poorly drawn 50-1 shot on Thursday - means business today.

The classy Shawanda gives Frankie Dettori and Godolphin a chance of salvaging something from the week in the Hardwicke Stakes, but both she and her new yard have had their problems and she is entitled to build on her comeback. Sir Michael Stoute is certainly giving her a hostile reception, saddling three runners including Hard Top (3.05). Still lightly raced, this colt looked sure to improve this year, but his first two runs have been most frustrating. He was foiled by soft ground on his reappearance and then by a farcically slow pace in France last time.

Stoute has every chance of winning the Queen Alexandra Stakes for the same owners with Cover Up (5.30), winner of three Ascot marathons already. But he may regret the sale of a former charge in the Duke of Edinburgh Handicap, as Glistening (4.55) never quite fulfilled his promise last year and caught the eye on his debut for Luca Cumani at Epsom.

Always Fruitful also guaranteed better to come when beaten at the Derby meeting, finishing fast after failing to handle the hill, and has solid prospects in the Chesham Stakes. Marginal preference is for Champlain (2.30) who travelled so well in a fiercely competitive maiden on his debut.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Physiotherapist / Sports Therapist

£20000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Physiotherapist / Sports Ther...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive / Advisor

£8 - £9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: Sales Executives / Advisors are required...

Recruitment Genius: Warehouse Operative

£14000 - £15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An opportunity has arisen for a...

Ashdown Group: Senior .Net Developer - Kingston Upon Thames, Surrey

£70000 - £80000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A long-established, technology rich ...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans campaign: Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after £300,000 gift from Lloyds Bank

Homeless Veterans campaign

Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after huge gift from Lloyds Bank
Flight MH370 a year on: Lost without a trace – but the search goes on

Lost without a trace

But, a year on, the search continues for Flight MH370
Germany's spymasters left red-faced after thieves break into brand new secret service HQ and steal taps

Germany's spy HQ springs a leak

Thieves break into new €1.5bn complex... to steal taps
International Women's Day 2015: Celebrating the whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Simone de Beauvoir's seminal feminist polemic, 'The Second Sex', has been published in short-form for International Women's Day
Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Why would I want to employ someone I’d be happy to have as my boss, asks Simon Kelner
Confessions of a planespotter: With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent

Confessions of a planespotter

With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent. Sam Masters explains the appeal
Russia's gulag museum 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities

Russia's gulag museum

Ministry of Culture-run site 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities
The big fresh food con: Alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay

The big fresh food con

Joanna Blythman reveals the alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay
Virginia Ironside was my landlady: What is it like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7?

Virginia Ironside was my landlady

Tim Willis reveals what it's like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7
Paris Fashion Week 2015: The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp

Paris Fashion Week 2015

The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp
8 best workout DVDs

8 best workout DVDs

If your 'New Year new you' regime hasn’t lasted beyond February, why not try working out from home?
Paul Scholes column: I don't believe Jonny Evans was spitting at Papiss Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible

Paul Scholes column

I don't believe Evans was spitting at Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible
Miguel Layun interview: From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

Miguel Layun is a star in Mexico where he was criticised for leaving to join Watford. But he says he sees the bigger picture
Frank Warren column: Amir Khan ready to meet winner of Floyd Mayweather v Manny Pacquiao

Khan ready to meet winner of Mayweather v Pacquiao

The Bolton fighter is unlikely to take on Kell Brook with two superstar opponents on the horizon, says Frank Warren
War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable