The Moonee Valley night racing action kicks off for the Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival this Friday night with a bumper evening scheduled, one of the four Group races on the program being the Champagne Stakes 2012.
The headline nominee for the $150,000 Group 3 Champagne Stakes (1200m) is Gerald Ryan’s smart Snitzel filly Snitzerland.
Runner-up to current Cox Plate betting favourite Pierro in the Golden Slipper last autumn, Snitzerland will be third-up for the season on Friday night and she has been dually nominated at the meeting also featuring in the early entries for the $300,000 Group 2 A.J. Moir Stakes (1200m).
With 15 AJ Moir Stakes nominations to the Champagne Stakes’ 10, connections are leaning towards keeping her against her own kind in the latter avoiding a showdown with the likes of Buffering and Tiger Tees who are entered for the Moir.
Snitzerland is heading towards the $500,000 Group 1 Coolmore Stud Stakes (1200m) at Flemington on Victoria Derby Day, Saturday November 3, as her grand final this spring and she has won her opening two starts so far including the Group 2 Danehill Stakes over the Coolmore track and distance on September 8.
“She looks terrific,” Ryan said of Snitzerland who had a gallop at Moonee Valley on Monday morning to prepare her for the Champagne Stakes.
Along with Snitzerland there are two other last-start winners in the Champagne Stakes nominations with Morphettville visitor Dashitude coming off a first-up victory at their home track, and the John O’Shea-trained Hoss Amor who won back-to-back stakes races in Brisbane during the winter.
Lightly-raced General Nediym filly Hoss Amor has had just six starts to date but has won four of those and is unbeaten first-up, which they will be here with their most recent run being at Eagle Farm on June 23.
The other notable hopefuls include Tony Vasil’s Quezette Stakes winner Elite Elle who was undefeated until her last start when a close fourth to subsequent Thousand Guineas Prelude winner Lady Of Harrods in the Group 3 McNeil Stakes at Caulfield on September 1, the Peter Snowden-trained Omniscient coming off a third to Members Joy in the Listed Cap D’Antibes Stakes at Flemington, and Robert Smerdon’s Fastnet Rock filly Saturn Rock.
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2012 Champagne Stakes Nominations
Moonee Valley – 28/09/2012
|1||ARMED FOR ACTION||Anthony Freedman||76|
|4||DINKUM DIAMOND||Leon Macdonald & Andrew Gluyas||84|
|5||ELITE ELLE||Tony Vasil||84|
|6||HOSS AMOR||John O’Shea||89|
|8||SATURN ROCK||Robert Smerdon||68|
|10||VALID CONTRACT||David Brideoake & David Feek||62|