The Champagne Stakes is one of the most unique races on the Sydney autumn calendar. For months these two-year-olds have been trained to sprint fast for 1000m – 1200m in the hope of winning the Blue Diamond or the Golden Slipper. Now they have to sustain their speed for 1600m. In recent years the likes of Samantha Miss, Assertive Lad and Skilled have won this race. These horses went on to win over a lot more ground as older horses. There is something about this race that produces the best in well bred horses; also the horses that trainers have in the past mention things like ‘whatever they do at two, they will improve on at three,’ and ‘they will be a much better three and four-year-old.’ These are the horses that usually win this race.
4th. Guelph is the favourite but she has been up since Australia Day. This is probably just an indication that she is fit and Pete Snowden would not be running her simply for the sake of it. She is by a gun in-form sire out of a Group One winning mare so she does tick a few of the boxes, but at $2.90 there seems to be better value elsewhere.
3rd. Fast ‘n’ Rocking. This colt has just been ticking along nicely since running on well in the Blue Diamond all those weeks ago. He looks ideally set for the mile and even the Derby in six months’ time. He has barrier one and looks to get a nice sit and might just pop up on the fence late. He is well found in the market at $6.00 but traditionally, single figure odds on a maiden in a Group One Classic is a bit of a worry.
2nd. Equator. As a punter it is impossible to ignore a Gai Waterhouse trained two-year-old in a Group One, especially when that two-year-old is at 20/1 and unbeaten. Definitely worth $1 each way.
1st. Shahad. As above. But also this filly is by the best sire in Australia out of a multiple Group One winning mare. She has been running on well and has snuck in well under the radar. Tommy Berry is on board and he has the confidence of the old Tiger Woods at the minute.
By Zeb Armstrong