Takeover Target is a horse who proves you don't have to have a great pedigree and a big-name trainer behind you to become a champion. This sensational sprinter, who was recently named Australian Champion International Performer for the third consecutive season, was bought for just $1250 in 2004 by his taxi driver owner and trainer Joe Janiak from Queanbeyan, NSW. So far Takeover Target has won over $5 million in prize money: now that's a good investment!
Takeover Target's start in racing wasn't auspicious. Sired by Celtic Swing out of the unraced dam Shady Stream, Takeover Target did not debut until he was nearly four because of leg and joint problems. It was a start worth waiting for though; in his first year of racing, 2004, he won his debut at Queanbeyan Racecourse and followed that up with a 7-race winning streak. After this successful year (which included winning the Group 1 Salinger Stakes at Flemington) Takeover Target had more injuries, which kept him off the racetrack for another six months.
2005 was a mixed year for the horse until December, when he won the Group 3 Summer Stakes at Doomben and also broke the 1200 metre track record. His form held into 2006, and his great achievement of being only the second horse to win Flemington's three major Group 1 sprints: the Lightning Stakes, Salinger Stakes, and Newmarket Handicap. This gave Takeover Target an invite to the prestigious British Royal Ascot carnival in June.
In Britain, he won the King's Stand Stakes and he began to be described as the best sprinter in the world on turf. At the end of the 2005-06 season Takeover Target was named Australian Champion Sprinter.
From England, Takeover Target flew to Japan and won the Group 1 Sprinters Stakes at Nakayama. He was the short-odds favourite for the Hong Kong International Sprint, which would have netted a further US$1 million bonus for winning Group 1 Global Sprint races in three of the four host countries. The dream was not to be, however, and instead stewards withdrew him on the day of the race for returning a positive hormone test. Takeover Target was still Global Sprint Challenge Champion for 2006, finishing with 53 points, well clear of the second-placed horse on 17 points.
Back in Australia, Takeover Target didn't return to racing in Australia in 2007, as injury and a virus forced him to miss racing until he ran the Group 1 All Aged Stakes, Randwick in April - where he ran fifth. He returned to England's Royal Ascot again in 2007, although he didn't win. The outbreak of equine flu in NSW meant that he missed the Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival. At Randwick's Open Handicap race in December, he won, defeating Dance Hero. Again 3 weeks later at Randwick, Takeover Target won over 1200 metres.
In 2008, Takeover Target has continued his fine form by winning the Singapore Turf Club's Group 1 KrisFlyer International Sprint over 1200 metres at Kranji Racecourse, in a new track record time. At the end of the 2007-2008 season, he was named Australian Champion International Performer for the third consecutive season. . . It looks like Takeover Target hasn't finished with his sensational sprinting yet!
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