Bivouac on target for TJ Smith challenge

By: Mathew Toogood Wednesday 1 April 2020

Godolphin trainer James Cummings is forgiving of Bivouac's last-start defeat and expects the colt to show his best in a star-studded edition of the TJ Smith Stakes at Randwick.

Bivouac is one of nine Group One winners in the 13-horse field for Saturday's TJ Smith (1200m) in which he will be striving to add Sydney's premier autumn weight-for-age sprint to his recent victory in the Newmarket Handicap against older horses in Melbourne.

After leaving his Newmarket rivals in his wake at Flemington on March 7 in a dominant display, the colt was sent out the $2.10 favourite in the weight-for-age Group One William Reid Stakes at The Valley.

He was upstaged by star filly Loving Gaby and Lightning Stakes winner Gytrash in William Reid, the second time this season he has been beaten at The Valley after being a luckless sixth in the Manikato Stakes to Loving Gaby last spring.

Loving Gaby is again among his rivals in the TJ Smith but it is the Chris Waller-trained Nature Strip who holds favouritism at $3.50, with Bivouac on the second line of betting at $5.

Cummings knows it will take a stellar performance to win but believes the dual Group One-winning colt has that in him.

"His finish in the William Reid was not up to his usual standard and I'm of the strong opinion that that track was his undoing," Cummings said.

"Everything about him in his training between runs has me visualising another ripping performance at Randwick, which is nothing short of what he will need in this year's TJ Smith.

"It is a real horse race."

Bivouac, who won the Kindergarten Stakes on the corresponding program a year ago, will be joined in the TJ by his Stradbroke Handicap-winning stablemate Trekking who runs first-up from a spell.

Cummings said Trekking was carrying plenty of condition on him but he expected him to finish strongly.

Trekking began his spring campaign with an eighth behind Nature Strip in the Moir Stakes over 1000m, before winning the Schillaci Stakes and being placed in The Everest.

"While he might not present as a stand-out chance in this tremendous contest, he has galloped deftly in the lead-up so can be running on strongly late against any weakening opposition," Cummings said.

"This race will be very different to the first-up assignment he was faced with last preparation, and the way things are looking I feel he can't help but run well."