Kiwi expat Jason Collett will reunite with the odds-on favourite Yankee Rose in Saturday’s 2016 Champagne Stakes at Royal Randwick, the young jockey jumping on the filly for the first time since the spring.
Collett guided David Vandyke’s young daughter of All American to back-to-back wins to kick off her career last year at Rosehill before being replaced this time in by the Hong Kong-based Zac Purton.
Purton rode Yankee Rose first-up for her brave second to Capitalist in the lucrative Group 1 Golden Slipper (1200m) and again for her commanding two and a half-length success in the Group 1 ATC Sires’ Produce Stakes (1400m) at Randwick on April 2.
The Sires’ Produce was always on the agenda for Yankee Rose, who has now won over $1.5 million in prize money from just four career starts, and the ease of the win suggested to Vandyke she could handle the step up to a mile for the Champagne.
In Saturday’s 1600m set weights feature, Yankee Rose will jump odds-on favourite in Champagne Stakes betting at Ladbrokes.com.au to continue the gun run of fillies in the race.
The last three Champagne Stakes winners have all been fillies with Guelph (2013), Go Indy Go (2014) and Pasadena Girl (2015).
Pasadena Girl improved on her lead-up fourth in the Inglis’ Sires, while the last to complete the double Yankee Rose is short-priced favourite to take out on Saturday was Guelph for Peter Snowden three years ago.
Collett is back aboard Yankee Rose and shoots for his first Champagne Stakes win, the hoop also picking up the ride reuniting with the Gary Portelli-trained Rebel Dane in the $600,000 Group 1 All Aged Stakes (1400m).
Adding even more New Zealand flair to the Champagne Stakes line-up this autumn meanwhile is the inclusion of the Trent Busuttin & Natalie Young-trained raider Sicario.
Runner-up in both his starts back home to date including the Group 1 Manawatu Sires’ Produce (1400m) in the wet on April 2, Sicario is out to score a Group 1 upset down under in the fashion of stablemate Tavago who won the Group 1 ATC Derby (2400m) running away during ‘The Championships’.
“It’s a massive step up,” Busuttin admitted, speaking to NZ AAP Turf about the task facing Sicario on Saturday.
“You can’t hide the fact that New Zealand two-year-old form is vastly inferior to Australian two-year old form.
“He [Sicario] was going to be racing in two weeks’ time in Auckland going around in a mile race for NZ$50,000, so we thought why not?
“We’re happy to take a chance. He’s a lovely horse and we think he is pretty smart.”
Final acceptances for all of the Randwick races this weekend are out shortly, with updated betting to follow online at Ladbrokes.com.au – home of the $500 first time depositors’ bonus bet offer when you sign-up and quote the code BETBONUS for a limited time only.