Blueberry Hill Wins 2015 Champagne Classic

Hoop Larry Cassidy enjoyed a good Group 2 win on Doomben Cup Day in Brisbane with promising young local filly Blueberry Hill suited to a hot pace in the Champagne Classic 2015.

Blueberry Hill

Local Brisbane filly Blueberry Hill could be 2015 JJ Atkins bound after winning the Champagne Classic on Doomben Cup Day. Photo: Daniel Costello.

Winning the early speed battle in this year’s $175,000 Group 2 Bollinger Champagne Classic (1200m) was the Gillian Heinrich-trained Desert Man before Wicked Intent, having his first start for former champion hoop Chris Munce, moved up to lead the field around.

Diminutive in size but big in heart and stamina, the Liam Birchley-trained Myboycharlie filly Blueberry Hill was one of a host of young hopes settled off the hot pace set by the leader with Cassidy riding her without cover.

“She’s only a pony so she’s all heart,” winning hoop Cassidy said post-victory.

Wicked Intent ($7) sat up front around the home turn into the straight and was still up there with 200m left to travel, initially looking to have enough in the tank to hit another gear and race off.

The early pace and tempo however bought him undone in the last little bit, the Phelan Ready Stakes winning colt holding on to finish a brave second to Birchely’s barnstorming winner.

Blueberry Hill ($19) arrived late on the scene but made a big impact bursting through to beat Munce’s returning runner with Birchely’s other runner Pepperano ($17), the Court Command filly coming off a win at the Sunshine Coast from a fortnight ago, finishing off fast down the outside to snare third.

The Champagne Classic winner Blueberry Hill has now won three of her four career starts, her only defeat being a luckless second to Big Tree last time out at the Gold Coast in the Group 3 Ken Russell Memorial Classic (1200m).

Cassidy was also aboard that day and said the beaten filly had plenty of excuses and should have won, not being suited to the wide run she got stuck with in the Ken Russell.

“She should have won at the Gold Coast,” he said after the Champagne win.

“The way they race down there wide…she surely should have won.

“She’s improved a bit because today was a better field.

“The good speed helped…at about the 650m to 700m I was able to tap into the race just beautifully.”

Cassidy confirmed he thought the versatile Blueberry Hill would handle further ground, making her a nice hope to follow a similar path to last year’s Champagne Classic winner Brazen Beau.

“She will (run further),” he said.

“She handles any kind of track.”

Waller’s now Royal Ascot-bound colt Brazen Beau won this race 12 months ago before a second behind Time For War in the Group 2 BRC Sires’ Produce Stakes (1350m) and a second to Almalad in the Group 1 JJ Atkins (1600m).

Blueberry Hill is currently nominated for the 2015 JJ Atkins, run at Doomben Racecourse over the mile on June 6, and will likely run next-up in the BRC Sires’ Produce on Doomben 10,000 Day in a fortnight.

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2015 Champagne Classic Results & Finishing Order

Doomben Race 5 – 09/02/2015

Place # Horse Trainer Jockey Margin Br. Wgt. SP
1 12 BLUEBERRY HILL Liam Birchley Larry Cassidy 10 55kg $16
2 2 WICKED INTENT Chris Munce Damian Browne 0.4L 12 57kg $6.50
3 9 PEPPERANO Liam Birchley Tye Angland 1.4L 5 55kg $15
4 5 COUNTERATTACK Chris Waller Hugh Bowman 1.6L 3 57kg $8
5 15 SEMPRE LIBERA Gai Waterhouse Blake Shinn 2.1L 8 55kg $5.50
6 3 SAMPEAH John O’Shea James McDonald 2.3L 11 57kg $12
7 8 DESERT MAN Gillian Heinrich Ryan Wiggins 2.5L 4 57kg $21
8 4 BIG TREE Peter Balzen Michael Cahill 3.5L 7 57kg $31
9 10 SINGLE GAZE Nick Olive Tommy Berry 3.6L 13 55kg $13
10 14 LOOK TO THE STARS Clarry Conners Craig Williams 3.7L 15 55kg $41
11 11 MADOTTI Matthew Dunn Glen Colless 4.5L 6 55kg $16
12 13 SECRET SAGA Tony Gollan Tegan Harrison 5L 9 55kg $10
13 1 LE CHEF Darryl Hansen Luke Tarrant (a) 5.8L 2 57kg $4F
14 6 IT’S VEGAS BABY Brad Herne Kerrin McEvoy 10.6L 1 57kg $91
15 7 DE LAGO JET Tina Cotsiopoulos Andrew Spinks 11.4L 14 57kg $151

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