Mornington’s Matt Laurie will throw his progressive colt Aberro in the deep end at Royal Randwick on Saturday stepping the maiden up in class for the 2017 Champagne Stakes.
One of two elite level races on the last Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival feature meeting, the $500,000 Group 1 Moet & Chandon Champagne Stakes (1600m) offers plenty of prize money and often attracts a below capacity field.
This has put it Laurie’s radar for the nicely-bred All Too Hard two-year-old Aberro who has had just the two non-stakes runs to date.
“It’s usually a small field and worth a lot of money,” Laurie told the Herald Sun.
“Our horse has come through his only two runs really well and I think the mile looks like it would really suit him.”
The up-and-comer has pedigree on his side being a three-quarter brother to Escado who won the Group 1 South Australian Derby in 2013.
Aberro is also a half-brother to Group 2 Edward Manifold Stakes winner from that year Se Sauver and if he steps up early in his career, Laurie will keep him as a colt.
“Given he’s related to two Group winners, obviously we’ll give him an opportunity as a colt to put his hand up,” Laurie said.
“If he’s not able to do that, he’ll be gelded.
“But if he was to win a Group 1, he’s certainly got a good enough pedigree to stand somewhere for sure.”
He debuted at Pakenham on March 2 for a second behind Merchant Navy over 1200m, before running at his home track on March 25 in the Mornington Sires’ (1500m).
There he came within a neck of the winner Eshtiraak who is also among the Champagne Stakes nominations for this weekend.
The Lindsay Park-trained Eshtiraak, a $400,000 buy at the 2016 Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling Sales, is rated a $12 chance at Ladbrokes.com.au to frank the form out of the Mornington race in futures Champagne Stakes odds.
Aberro meanwhile is at $19 in those all-in Champagne Stakes betting markets that are firmly led by the Peter & Paul Snowden-trained Group 1 ATC Sires’ Produce winner Invader.
Laurie though remains hopeful his colt can score the upset, looking like he’ll enjoy getting out over the mile after a winning Canberra trial over 900m on April 7 the Sydney way of racing.
“I would have liked there to have been some more experienced horses in there [the hit-out] to give him a chance to settle a little bit and finish off,” Laurie said.
“He was up against horses who hadn’t had the experience that he’s had and he ended up controlling it, but it was just a nice, soft trial.
“I’m happy to put him in it [the Champagne Stakes] and see where we stand but also acknowledge he’s going to be a lot better next time around.
“I don’t think we’ve got anything to lose.”
Single-figure fancies have dominated the Champagne Stakes results over the past 30 years with the last roughie hopes to score an upset being Onemorenomore ($12 in 2009) and Carry On Cutie ($26 in 2005).
To check the latest Champagne Stakes 2017 odds ahead of final acceptances on Wednesday morning head to Ladbrokes.com.au.