This Saturday one of the four Group 1 clashes taking place at Royal Randwick on Sydney Cup Day will be the 2012 Champagne Stakes, the two-year-olds’ classic looking to be the Gai Waterhouse-trained Pierro’s for the taking.
Undefeated in their stunning five start career to date Lonhro colt Pierro will be out on Saturday to secure the two-year-olds’ triple crown with a victory in the $400,000 Group 1 Champagne Stakes (1600m).
Even though they step up to the mile for the first time in Randwick Race 3 at 1:40pm, there looks to be little stopping the Golden Slipper – Inglis Sires Produce Stakes winning juvenile from posing their sixth.
Drawn in barrier six of nine Pierro will be ridden by regular hoop Nash Rawiller for the Champagne Stakes, their main danger likely to come from stablemate Raceway.
The fellow Waterhouse-trained youngster has barrier three with Hugh Bowman riding, Raceway having run a credible fifth in the iconic Golden Slipper before their good last start fourth in the Sires Produce Stakes.
Sires Produce Stakes third placegetter Limes has also been accepted to take on the sure-to-be odds-on favourite Pierro in the Champagne on Saturday.
Yet to break their maiden status over a promising four starts so far Peter Snowden’s Commands colt ran a good third behind Black Caviar’s boom half-brother All Too Hard in the Group 2 Pago Pago Stakes (1200m) before their last start third.
“Limes has shown good improvement from each run to the next,” Snowden said
Limes will be ridden by Kerrin McEvoy on Saturday, the hoop having also picked up one of the day’s prized rides aboard 2012 Sydney Cup favourite Permit.
“I rode him quiet and he hit the line well behind two good colts,” McEvoy said.
“The step up to 1600 metres will be no problems for him.”
Snowden has also accepted for Tatra in the Champagne Stakes field, the Hussonet colt coming of a dead last finish in the Sires Produce but the mile to suit better according to their trainer.
“Tatra is a nice, progressive horse,” Snowden said.
“He might find the level a bit tough but he’ll run the 1600 metres out.”
Along with the favourite Pierro there are two other last start winners engaged in this year’s Champagne Stakes with the Gerald Ryan-trained Snitzel filly Flying Snitzel and Clarry Conners’ Dehere filly Dear Demi.
Group 3 The Schweppervescence winner Flying Snitzel should get a gun run from the inside alley with Glyn Schofield riding while Fernhill Handicap winner from last Saturday Dear Demi has drawn at the opposite end of the field with the ‘visitor’s gate’ nine, top New Zealand jockey James McDonald to ride.
Rounding out the 2012 Moet & Chandon Champagne Stakes field are then Paul Messara’s lightly-raced Rowie (barrier four) coming off a Fernhill sixth, and the John Thompson-trained duo of Fernhill runner-up Trophies (barrier eight) and The Schweppervescence third placegetter Strength (barrier two).
All the Randwick racing odds for this Saturday’s features are due out shortly at bookmaker.com.au.
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2012 Champagne Stakes Final Field & Barrier Draw
Randwick Race 3 – 1:40pm – 28/04/2012
|1||1X1111||PIERRO||Gai Waterhouse||Nash Rawiller||6||56.5kg|
|2||11254||RACEWAY||Gai Waterhouse||Hugh Bowman||3||56.5kg|
|5||70X7602||TROPHIES||John P Thompson||–||8||56.5kg|
|7||8X83||STRENGTH||John P Thompson||Michael Rodd||2||56.5kg|
|8||13X531||FLYING SNITZEL||Gerald Ryan||Glyn Schofield||1||54.5kg|
|9||4X341721||DEAR DEMI||Clarry Conners||James McDonald||9||54.5kg|