Darryl Hansen’s Magic Millions 2YO Classic winner Le Chef is the headline final acceptor for Saturday’s Champagne Classic 2015, which will be the youngster’s first run of the Brisbane Winter Racing Carnival.
A field of 15 two-year-olds is engaged to face off in Doomben Race 5 at 2:07pm (AEST) on Saturday in the $175,000 Group 2 Bollinger Champagne Classic (1200m).
Wearing the number one saddlecloth and drawn ideally in barrier two for apprentice hoop Luke Tarrant is Hansen’s Sunshine Coast-based Exceed And Excel gelding Le Chef.
The progressive youngster boasts three wins from four starts to date, the latest of which was in January’s lucrative $2 million Magic Millions 2YO Classic (1200m) at the Gold Coast.
Since then Le Chef has won a barrier trial at home over 850m in late April by a blistering 10.5 lengths, form he’ll be out to repeat in his first run at Doomben since he finished fifth on debut at the track last November.
The horse that beat Le Chef home in that 1050m two-year-old Doomben handicap during the spring, the Chris Munce-trained Wicked Intent is also in the Champagne Classic mix this weekend.
Munce’s Wicked Style colt didn’t fare as well in the barrier draw however with work to do out wide in barrier 12.
Damian Browne rides the galloper for the first time replacing jockey-turned-trainer Munce in the saddle of the Listed Phelan Ready Stakes winner who was also runner-up in the Group 3 BJ McLachlan Stakes at the Gold Coast in December before his last start sixth in the Magic Millions Classic.
Aside from the first two in the field the rest of the Champagne Classic hopefuls this weekend all have the fitness edge having had at least one previous run this time in, including the John O’Shea-trained Samepah who is also drawn wide.
James McDonald rides the Exceed And Excel colt from gate 11 this weekend, the Group 1 performed Sampeah last seen finishing a credible third to Jameka in the Group 2 VRC Sires’ Produce Stakes (1400m) at Flemington in mid-March.
Also in double digit draws are the likes of the Nick Olive-trained Magic Millions Classic third placed filly Single Gaze (13), lightly-raced colt De Lago Jet (14) having just his third career start on the weekend and the Clarry Conners-trained Look To The Stars (15).
Craig Williams rides Conners’ I Am Invincible filly from the outside alley in the Champagne Classic, Look To The Stars having run fifth two back in Rosehill’s Group 2 Magic Night Stakes (1200m) before a fourth behind Big Tree in the Group 3 Ken Russell Memorial Classic (1200m) at the Gold Coast on Hollindale Stakes Day.
Ken Russell Memorial Classic winner Big Tree also backs up in the Champagne Classic and will likely sit near the top of the odds to make it two on the trot through Ladbrokes.com.au.
The Peter Blazen-trained Snitzel colt won the Ken Russell at just his second career start and jumps from barrier seven with Michael Cahill retaining the mount this Saturday.
Liam Birchely’s Ken Russell runner-up Blueberry Hill is also running in the Champagne, the two-time winning Myboycharlie filly beaten only a quarter-length last time out but drawn in 10 for the rematch.
Other notable Champagne Classic hopes this winter include Chris Waller’s last start Warwick Farm winning colt Counterattack drawn ideally in gate three for jockey Hugh Bowman and It’s Vegas Baby on the rails.
Check out the full Champagne Classic 2015 field, barriers and jockeys below.
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2015 Champagne Classic Final Field & Barrier Draw
Doomben Race 5 (2:07pm) – 09/05/2015
|#||Form (Last 10)||Horse||Trainer||Jockey||Br.||Wgt.|
|1||5111x||LE CHEF||Darryl Hansen||Luke Tarrant (a)||2||57kg|
|2||11126x||WICKED INTENT||Chris Munce||Damian Browne||12||57kg|
|3||1×383||SAMPEAH||John O’Shea||James McDonald||11||57kg|
|4||51||BIG TREE||Peter Balzen||Michael Cahill||7||57kg|
|5||3x22x1||COUNTERATTACK||Chris Waller||Hugh Bowman||3||57kg|
|6||238×4||IT’S VEGAS BABY||Brad Herne||Kerrin McEvoy||1||57kg|
|7||02||DE LAGO JET||Tina Cotsiopoulos||Andrew Spinks||14||57kg|
|8||81||DESERT MAN||Gillian Heinrich||Ryan Wiggins||4||57kg|
|9||1420×1||PEPPERANO||Liam Birchley||Tye Angland||5||55kg|
|10||13320||SINGLE GAZE||Nick Olive||Tommy Berry||13||55kg|
|11||21x64x5||MADOTTI||Matthew Dunn||Glen Colless||6||55kg|
|12||112||BLUEBERRY HILL||Liam Birchley||Larry Cassidy||10||55kg|
|13||151||SECRET SAGA||Tony Gollan||Tegan Harrison||9||55kg|
|14||229154||LOOK TO THE STARS||Clarry Conners||Craig Williams||15||55kg|
|15||214||SEMPRE LIBERA||Gai Waterhouse||Blake Shinn||8||55kg|