Takeover Target laps up the attention at Royal Ascot.
Takeover Target laps up the attention at Royal Ascot.

Big shoes to fill



BRISBANE. ? Racing is full of dreams and sometimes they do come true, but it's highly unlikely Coffs Harbour trainer Gordon Yorke will ever don top hat and tails.

Queanbeyan taxi driver Joe Janiak cut a dashing figure at England's Royal Ascot this week when he won the Kings' Stand Stakes with Takeover Target.

A horse some say is the next Takeover Target, a three-year-old colt named Natural Destiny, will be in action in the Healy Stakes (1200m) at Eagle Farm on Saturday.

Natural Destiny is trained by Yorke and has won six of his eight starts and the Janiak comparison wasn't lost on him.

"There's one thing about racing and that is everyone can have a go. Just look at Joe (Janiak)," Yorke said.

"My horse has a long way to go to match Takeover Target but they keep talking him up.

"Joe is too good for me. He's got a cab licence and I'm not that bright.

"But I do know the racing game and you can go from hero to zero very quickly.

"I'd say my horse would be sold before I would ever get a chance to wear top hat and tails in England."

Natural Destiny's owners have already knocked back two offers of $1 million each from Hong Kong and Sydney for the colt.

Natural Destiny faces his moment of truth and the race of his life in the Healy Stakes against boom Grafton sprinter Starlactic who has developed his own cult following.

The two sprinters clash for the first time in the Healy Stakes but their paths could cross again in Melbourne in the spring if they earn a chance of repeating Takeover Target's success in the 2004 Group One Salinger Stakes (1200m) at Flemington.

Yorke has plenty of admiration for Starlactic and his trainer, Grafton electrician Wayne Lawson.

"Starlactic is a very good horse and his trainer's execution of his program has been perfect," said Yorke.

"Starlactic is a year older than Natural Destiny which is a big advantage."

However, Yorke is desperate to see Natural Destiny end Starlactic's five-race winning streak and to that end has engaged Michael Rodd.

Rodd is the former Brisbane whiz kid apprentice who has furnished into one of the country's top senior riders since he returned from riding in Hong Kong this year.

"Natural Destiny needs to win the Healy Stakes to tell us he's better than an average horse," Yorke said.

"If he does then I'll put him away for the spring."

Yorke originally planned to start Natural Destiny in the Pacesetter Stakes (1200m) at Gosford which was transferred to Randwick on Saturday.



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