Darley-owned filly Shaumari is tipped to improve on her maiden Black Type assignment last time out and beat them home in her Brisbane debut in Saturday’s Champagne Classic 2014.
Kicking off the Group racing action of BTC Cup Day on the weekend, this year’s $175,000 Group 2 Bollinger Champagne Classic (1200m) runs as Doomben Race 4 at 1:55pm (AEST).
A final field of 11 two-year-olds are set to contest the race that can serve as a lead-up to the $500,000 Group 1 JJ Atkins (1600m) at Eagle Farm on Stradbroke Handicap Day next month.
Drawn in gate five with Kerrin McEvoy to ride, the John O’Shea-trained Shaumari is the early Champagne Classic betting market mover and favourite paying $3.60 to post her second victory from three career starts.
She won on debut by three lengths at Warwick Farm on April 9 from the outside barrier (12) before going up in class for a shot at the Group 3 Royal Randwick Stakes (1200m) on April 19.
There she finished third behind Eloping in a luckless run having been found three wide without cover and forced to run home up the slow part of the track and still be beaten only one and a quarter lengths.
Saturday then she gets the chance to turn the tables as she once again faces off against Choisir filly Eloping.
Well tried with seven starts, for four wins already, to her name the Peter Morgan and Craig Widdison-trained Eloping is the current $4.50 second pick for the Champagne Classic this weekend.
She’s drawn in gate seven with Stephen Baster to ride, Baster aboard for all but one of her runs to date including her brave Royal Randwick Stakes success she’ll be out to repeat here.
In a wide open Champagne Classic market there are then four other single figure chances.
Equal $6.50 third favourites are Time For War and Mohave, both high up the futures markets for the 2014 JJ Atkins on June 7.
The Gerald Ryan-trained Snitzel colt Time For War won their opening two starts including the Group 2 Pago Pago Stakes first-up in March before being beaten by nearly seven lengths last time out.
That run was a fourth behind Peggy Jean in the Group 1 ATC Sires’ Produce Stakes (1400m) in the wet, a run they’re sure to improve on here on firmer ground over less distance against an easier field.
Mohave meanwhile also represents Darley and their new trainerO’Shea, the Exceed And Excel colt not having raced since their credible sixth behind the fellow Darley-owned Earthquake in the Group 1 Blue Diamond Stakes (1200m) back in February.
Rounding out the single figure chances are then the undefeated Collate gelding Furbish ($7.50) coming off back-to-back Eagle Farm wins from last month and Brazen Beau ($8) for Sydney’s Chris Waller.
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