This Saturday a group of promising two-year-olds are nominated for the Champagne Classic 2014 on BTC Cup Day in Brisbane, a key lead-up to next month’s $500,000 Group 1 JJ Atkins (1600m).
One of the major support races on Saturday’s Brisbane Winter Racing Carnival program, this year’s $175,000 Group 2 Bollinger Champagne Classic (1200m) has attracted 14 juveniles at nomination stage.
Many of those are looking to book a 2014 JJ Atkins bid for the Eagle Farm classic on Stradbroke Handicap Day, Saturday June 7.
The bookies already have the likes of John O’Shea’s Hawkesbury Cup Day winner Meursault, the undefeated Mick Price-trained Pressing last seen winning the Listed Redoute’s Choice Stakes (1200m) at Caulfield and Group 1 Champagne Stakes runner-up Zululand earmarked to win the JJ Atkins.
But further down the futures JJ Atkins odds are many of the Champagne Classic nominees including Gerald Ryan’s Snitzel colt Time For War.
A winner of two of their three starts to date, Time For War is best known for their Group 2 Pago Pago Stakes (1200m) triumph two back at Rosehill where they thrived on a Heavy (9) track.
At their latest start they stepped up to Group 1 company for a shot at the ATC Sires’ Produce Stakes over 1400m at Randwick on April 12 where they got another rain-affected track.
This time however they could only manage to finish six and a half lengths away fourth to Peggy Jean, an effort they’ll be out to improve on if accepted for the Champagne on Saturday.
Another top fancy is then the Chris Waller-trained Brazen Beau.
The I Am Invincible colt is yet to race in Group company but enjoyed a win at Canterbury on debut in early February.
Brazn Beau was then last seen on March 8 when fifth to Alpha Miss in the Listed Lonhro Stakes (1100m) making their assignment on Saturday their first in two months, first outside of Sydney and also their first over further than 1100m.
The other major Champagne Classic entry in the JJ Atkins betting markets is then O’Shea’s Exceed And Excel colt Mohave.
Mohave has had four runs for one win to date when they won the Listed Blue Diamond Preview (1000m) in January.
After that they were a disappointing 10th tin the BD Prelude before going out as a $71 roughie in the Group 1 Blue Diamond Stakes (1200m) last time out on February 22.
They were far from disgraced in the Group 1 however when three and a half lengths away sixth behind Earthquake.
As for the Queenslander’s in the mix, the likely best fancied is the Bryan Guy-trained Stroak.
The Gold Coast-based Real Saga filly has good lead-up form having won two from four so far, but none since early December.
Runner-up to Unencumbered in the Group 3 BJ McLachlan Stakes (1200m) on December 28 she backed up to run fifth to the same top two-year-old in the $2 million Magic Millions Classic on the Gold Coast in early January.
While she hasn’t run since she has had two trials, most recently finishing third over 1000m at Doomben on April 29 so has the fitness and the Brisbane experience to feature in the Champagne and then possibly in the JJ Atkins too.
The other most notable Queensland-trained runner is then Tony Gollan’s Looks Like The Cat, the Husson colt having had the one run for one win to date when taking out a 1200m handicap at Eagle Farm on February 8.
See below for the full Champagne Classic 2014 nominations that will be cut to a final starting line-up on Wednesday.
Whether it is a BTC Cup Day race this weekend or an upcoming showdown like the JJ Atkins, make sure you have an account open at Ladbrokes.com.au to access all the best odds and markets this winter.
2014 Champagne Classic Nominations
Doomben Racecourse – 10/05/2014
|2||ASTER BLOOM||Kelly Purdy|
|3||BRAZEN BEAU||Chris Waller|
|5||ELOPING||Peter Morgan & Craig Widdison|
|7||GROOMED FOR GLORY||Len Treloar|
|8||I’M CHILLIN’||Desleigh Forster|
|9||LOOKS LIKE THE CAT||Tony Gollan|
|11||PINCH RIVER||Robert Heathcote|
|14||TIME FOR WAR||Gerald Ryan|