Takeover Target recovers from surgery
The unlikely rise of Takeover Target from broken down crock to globetrotting sprint star has come full circle with connections confirming the champion’s glittering career is over.
Takeover Target underwent surgery in England after he was found to have cracked a cannon bone following his game seventh to Fleeting Spirit in the July Cup at Newmarket on Friday.
He was taken to the Newmarket Equine Veterinary Hospital following the race and while his regular jockey Jay Ford and trainer Joe Janiak were too upset to talk in the immediate aftermath, Janiak has since confirmed his fairytale galloper is recovering but said Takeover Target would not race again.
It was a sad end to his amazing career which has spanned five years, three continents and 17 race tracks.
"Thankfully, it’s all good news," Janiak told the Racing Post.
"Takeover Target cracked a cannon bone but he’s had five screws inserted and will be box rested at the hospital for a couple of months.
"He seems fine after the operation and he needs to rest.
"He has been a fantastic horse and we have had some great adventures with him."
Takeover Target has been a crowd favourite in Australia for years having won major races in every mainland state.
But his courage, class and rags-to-riches tale have also captured the hearts of racing fans around the world.
As well as claiming six Group One races on Australian soil, Takeover Target won at the highest level in Japan and Singapore while also taking out the King’s Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot in 2006, two years before it was elevated to Group One status.
Following news the champion sprinter was recovering from leg surgery, fans from Australia, the United Kingdom, Ireland and even Germany expressed their relief that his injury was not fatal.
"So glad to read. What a ride he taken connection on (sic). Fingers crossed for a long and happy retirement," was the response from one German fan named Catrin on the Racing Post website.
An Irish fan wrote: "What a legend. (He’s) been a fantastic addition to the European summer the last few years. Take care of him well Joe!"
Janiak was living in a caravan and driving taxi cabs to make ends meet when he paid $1,250 plus GST for Takeover Target at a tried horse sale in July 2003.
Nine months later the gelding scored the first of his 21 wins when he claimed a Queanbeyan maiden by seven lengths on debut.
Takeover Target’s rise was meteoric and his journey thrust a reluctant Janiak into the spotlight.
The bay galloper with a prominent white blaze went on to win more than $6 million in prizemoney, returning year after year to match it with the best sprinters in Australia, and later the world.
Difficult to handle as a younger horse, Takeover Target once dragged Janiak across rocks in a Gold Coast canal while preparing for a summer campaign in Brisbane.
His career was also marred by controversy when he was withdrawn from the 2007 Hong Kong International Sprint just hours before the race after returning a positive swab to a prohibited substance.
It’s a story worthy of a Hollywood script and that’s just what it’s set to become with plans for a movie already well under way.
By Mandy Cottell