The countdown to the Sydney Spring Racing...
Maestro veteran trainer Bart Cummings will re-serve his untapped colt Salade at Randwick on Easter Saturday in a final bid to secure a Group 1 win this autumn carnival.
So far this Sydney carnival an elite level victory on the track has eluded Cummings, but he is hoping talented Sntizel two-year-old Salade can return to form and take out the $400,000 Group 1 Champagne Stakes (1600m) on Sydney Cup Day.
Salade burst onto the racing scene scoring a tidy two and a half length win over fellow Champagne Stakes hopeful Boys On Tour in the Group 2 Pago Pago Stakes (1200m) at Rosehill on March 26.
The stunning debut from Cummings’ up-and-coming colt saw Salade earn a start in the prestigious $3.5 million Golden Slipper on April 2.
Still green and having had little luck in the run, Salade could only manage to finish five and a half lengths back eighth to Peter Snowden’s Golden Slipper champion Sepoy.
Now Salade will reattempt Group 1 glory in the Champagne Stakes as Cummings’ vies for his fifth win in the two-year-olds’ mile feature.
Cummings has previously trained Champagne Stakes winners Storm Queen (1966), Vivarchi (1976) Sky Chase (1987) and most recently Full And By (1988).
After Salade was scratched from last week’s Listed Fernhill Handicap (1600m) due to the wet conditions at Royal Randwick, Cummings is confident the three-week break between runs won’t be a problem.
“I didn’t run him last week because he had topweight and it was a heavy track, it ended up being a heavy 10,” Cummings said.
“If it stays reasonable this week he’ll run and I’m very happy with the way he’s progressing.
“He’s a very promising horse.”
The rain-related scratching from the Fernhill may just turn out to be a blessing in disguise as Cummings said if Salade had run last Saturday, the Champagne would not have been considered.
“We would have turned him out, but after this he’ll go out for a break and come back for the Golden Rose,” he said.
Salade came up trumps with the inside running from barrier one in the Champagne Stakes draw, a nice advantage as he faces off against a quality field of 11 rivals, and is due to be ridden by Hugh Bowman for the first time.
On debut Salade was ridden by Corey Brown and then Luke Nolen was in the mount for the Slipper.
Brown is engaged to ride the David Payne-trained Cocky Raider (barrier 12) in the Champagne on Saturday.
Bowman is out for his second taste of Champagne having ridden 2008 winner Samantha Miss for Newcastle-based trainer Kris Lees, Lees represented this year by Uate.
Salade occupies the third line of Champagne Stakes betting at a current quote of $7.
Champagne Stakes markets are lead by clear $3 favourite Helmet, Snowden’s in-form Exceed And Excel colt coming off a win in the Group 1 AJC Sires Produce Stakes (1400m) at Randwick on April 9.
With the Blue Diamond and the Sires Produce in the bag, Snowden and the powerful Darley Stables are aiming for a Two-Year-Old Triple Crown clean sweep in the Champagne Stakes.
Along with Helmet the Darley operation will also be represented by $11 chance Disputes from barrier two.
Other juveniles in the market include the youngsters that finished two-three behind Helmet in the AJC Sires Produce, Kris Lee’s colt Uate ($6) and the John Thompson-trained filly Pane In The Glass ($7.50).
The Champagne Stakes is one of eight races running at Randwick’s closing Sydney Autumn Carnival meet on Saturday.
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