PEOPLE’S CHAMPION: Punters catch a glimpse of champion racehorse Takeover Target on Ramornie Day in 2013.
PEOPLE’S CHAMPION: Punters catch a glimpse of champion racehorse Takeover Target on Ramornie Day in 2013. Adam Hourigan

Legendary racehorse Takeover Target dies

TAKEOVER Target has died.

The legendary racehorse who left its mark on Grafton before capturing hearts and minds all over the world was put down on Saturday after trainer Joe Janiak discovered the 15-year-old had suffered a leg injury in the paddock of his Coffs Harbour property.

Australian racing fans called Takeover Target 'the people's champion', referring to the unlikely fairytale of a horse bought for less than $1400 by then-Queanbeyan taxi-driver Janiak.

The 2004 Ramornie Handicap win was a significant guidepost in the journey.

"It really was his springboard to fame," Clarence River Jockey Club executive officer Michael Beattie said.

"His next start was his first ever Group One victory."

That win was 15 weeks later in the $500,000 Seppelt Salinger Stakes (1200m) at Flemington 15. Takeover Target went on to win eight Group One races in Australia, England, Singapore and Japan, earning more than $6 million.

"There is no doubt in my mind he is the best horse to have raced on the Grafton track in its history," Beattie said. "Takeover Target is the only sprinter I know to have won on all mainland states in black-type events. I sincerely believe there won't be another Australian sprinter with a CV like his.

"At the moment his feats have a been a little overshadowed by the undefeated Black Caviar. But unlike Black Caviar, who had her races hand-picked wonderfully by trainer Peter Moody, Joe Janiak took a totally different approach. Joe was prepared to take on all comers on all tracks and that's what made the horse, and Joe, so popular.

"I think that, like Phar Lap, it will be 20 or 30 years down the track when we realise what Takeover Target did was so amazing."

Takeover Target was paraded on Ramornie Day just two years ago during the centenary of the Grafton Cup. The reception reaffirmed Grafton's love affair with the horse.

"They were eight deep at the fence to get a glimpse of the horse," Beattie said.

 

TAKEOVER TARGET STATISTICS

Career: starts - 41, wins -21, 2nds - 6, 3rds - 4

Prizemoney: $6,348,650

 

Apr 23, 04: Won $7000 E&G Maiden Plate (1200m), Queanbeyan by 7 lengths in 1st start

Jun 24, 04: Won Listed $100k Pacesetter (1200m), Gosford

Jul 14, 04: Won Listed $126k Ramornie Hcp (1200m), Grafton. 6th win from 6 starts

Oct 30, 04: Won G1 $500k Salinger (1200m), Flemington

Mar 11, 06: Won G1 $1M Newmarket Hcp (1200m), Flemington

Jun 20, 06: G2 $462k King's Stand Stakes, Royal Ascot, UK

Oct 1, 06: Won G1 $2.15M Sprinters Cup (1200m), Nakayama, Japan

Jun 23, 07: 2nd G1 $868k Grand Jubilee (1200m), Royal Ascot, UK

May 18, 08: Won G1 $765k Krisflyer (1200m), Singapore

Nov 29, 08: Won G2 $400k Winterbottom (1200m), Royal Ascot, UK

Apr 18, 09: Won G1 $500k TJ Smith (1200m), Randwick

May 2, 09: Won G1 $300k Goodwood (1200m), Morphetville



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