Unsurprisingly Gai Waterhouse’s star colt Pierro has opened the odds-on favourite to win the Champagne Stakes 2012 at Royal Randwick this Sydney Cup Day and in doing so become the latest juvenile to secure the prized autumn two-year-olds’ triple crown.
The last to do so was the fellow Waterhouse-trained Dance Hero back in 2004 and after their brilliant wins in the Golden Slipper Stakes and Inglis Sires Produce Stakes the undefeated Pierro looks well positioned to complete the grand slam with Saturday’s $400,000 Group 1 Champagne Stakes (1600m).
Drawn in barrier six of nine with their flying regular rider Nash Rawiller retaining the ride the son of Lonhro has opened top of the Champagne Stakes betting odds at bookmaker.com.au paying a short $1.35 to salute in their sixth career success.
There are two other runners under double figures in the latest markets with Pierro’s stablemate Raceway paying $7 and the Peter Snowden-trained Limes at a quote of $8.50.
More Than Ready rig Raceway has been just off the best of them this season their two most recent runs being a fifth in the Golden Slipper and fourth in the Sires Produce when outclassed by their star stablemate.
Unlikely to turn the tables on Pierro in the Champagne Stakes, Raceway is still a top place chance from barrier three with Hugh Bowman riding and is sure to make an excellent three-year-old.
Commands colt Limes meanwhile has also been a competitive youngster this season, their most recent finish being two lengths away third to Pierro and All Too Hard in the Sires Produce.
“There was a lot of merit in his last start, to finish as close as he did to the two best colts around,” Snowden said.
“He did a lot of things wrong; I’d like to think Saturday will be his best run.”
Snowden shoots for his third straight Champagne Stakes victory following those of Skilled (2010) and Helmet (2011) and while he knows Limes is a talented two-year-old, he is also very well aware of Pierro and how hard they will be to beat on Saturday.
“The signs are there he’s still improving,” Snowden said of Limes.
“It’s whether he’s got the class to beat a very, very good colt that remains to be seen.
“You don’t want to take anything away from this horse (Pierro).
“He’s really good and he’s shown that.
“He’s a fighter, he’s very tough.
“He just keeps pulling something out and those horses are always hard to beat no matter how many runs they’ve had.”
Snowden’s other hopeful in the field is the $201 roughie Tatra, the Hussonet colt beaten eight lengths when failing to beat home any of their rivals in the Sires Produce on April 14.
“He just went a mile too hard,” Snowden said of Tatra’s last start.
“There was a breakneck speed in the race and he got tangled up in a duel with two other horses.
“He’s a nice horse. A mile won’t be a problem for him.
“Even though he was beaten a long way the other day if he’d settled he wouldn’t have been beaten that far.
“It’s just a matter of him going a bit easier in the first half of the race and I’m sure he’ll find the line better than he did the other day.”
Following the top three are promising fillies Flying Snitzel ($11) and Dear Demi ($21).
Gerald Ryan’s Snitzel filly Flying Snitzel comes off a good win over Dear Demi in the Group 3 The Schweppervescence (1400m) at Rosehill on Golden Slipper Day, the Clarry Conners-trained Dear Demi having gone on to win the Listed Fernhill Handicap over the Randwick mile last Saturday.
For their Fernhill win and their Schweppervescence second Dehere filly Dear Demi was ridden by ace young New Zealand jockey James McDonald, who rode Temple Of Boom to victory in the Group 1 The Galaxy last weekend, and McDonald stays on them in the far outside draw nine on Saturday.
Rounding out the Champagne Stakes field and markets are then Paul Messara’s lightly-raced Flying Spur colt Rowie ($51), the John Thompson-trained Schweppervescence third placed Strength ($51) and Fernhill runner-up Trophies ($101) also from Thompson’s Gold Coast stables.
Full fixed win odds on the Moet & Chandon Champagne Stakes are listed below, prices courtesy of bookmaker.com.au.
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2012 Champagne Stakes Odds
Randwick Race 3 – 1:40pm – 28/04/2012
|8||FLYING SNITZEL (1)||11.00|
|9||DEAR DEMI (9)||21.00|
*Fixed Win odds provided by bookmaker.com.au and subject to change