After the scratching of odds-on favourite Yankee Rose the Champagne Stakes 2016 at Royal Randwick on Saturday has become a much more open affair.
The $500,000 Group 1 Moet & Chandon Champagne Stakes (1600m) is the first of two elite levels on the All Aged Stakes Day card this Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival and is due to run as Randwick Race 5 at 2:30pm (AEST).
The field is down to 10 two-year-olds with the updated Champagne Stakes odds at Ladbrokes.com.au now a battle between the lightly-raced Obscura ($4) drawn the rails with James McDonald riding and Prized Icon ($4.20) coming off a win in last weekend’s Listed Fernhill Handicap (1600m) at Randwick.
The other best fancied in the markets are Divine Prophet ($5.50) with a wide gate to overcome, Inglis Sires’ third placegetter Faraway Town ($7), New Zealand visitor El Sicario ($7.50) prepared by this year’s ATC Derby winning trainer Trent Busuttin and Chimboraa ($8.50) who has Hugh Bowman riding.
So which youngster will take it out? Will it be one of the hopes under $10 for the win or a roughie hope scoring the Champagne Stakes upset such as Mornington Sires’ winner Jaws Of Steel ($21) or the Fernhill Handicap runner-up Crown Him ($18)?
#1 Prized Icon ($4.20)
This well-tried son of More Than Ready has been the picture of consistency over his six starts to date and is yet to finish worse than third. James Cummings prepares the smart colt who was runner-up in the Baillieu Handicap over the 1400m at Rosehill two back before the big two length Fernhill win over the mile here last weekend. He’s on the quick back-up and has a jockey change, but if he handles the seven day turnaround he’ll be hard to beat again.
#2 Jaws Of Steel ($21)
Big odds offered for Robbie Laing’s Sharkbite colt who is drawn a treat in gate two for his hoop Tye Angland. He’s had just two runs in Victoria to date, so needs to handle the Sydney way of going and the step-up in class, but the Mornington Sires’ win over 1500m last start was solid and the form has held this time of year before. Don’t discount.
#10 Faraway Town ($7)
The best of the remaining fillies to make it four straight Champagne Stakes wins for the girls, this Matthew Smith-trained daughter of Not A Single Doubt was fifth in the Magic Night two back in a decent effort before the third in Group 1 class behind Yankee Rose in the ATC Sires’ over 1400m here on April 2. If that form holds, she’ll be in the money again getting out over 1600m.
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