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The bookies are having a hard time separating the top two youngsters in markets for Saturday’s Group 1 $500,000 Moet & Chandon Champagne Stakes (1600m) at Royal Randwick.
All Aged Stakes Day is host to the final two elite level races of the Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival including the two-year-old mile types doing battle in a Champagne Stakes field that perhaps lacks its usual depth.
The two are both graduates out of the Group 1 Inglis Sires’ (1400m) a fortnight ago having run second and third respectively behind Anamoe and are hoping to improve getting out over the 1600m in Saturday’s set weights showdown.
Drawn well in barrier four with Tommy Berry aboard, Fastnet Rock colt Hilal chases his first Randwick win after two seconds at the track.
He was well-beaten when nearly three lengths away second in the Inglis Sires’ and, despite having winning form up to 1100m, is tipped to handle the rise in distance on the weekend.
The Sires’ run however was better than it looks on paper, Hilal doing his best work late when coming from last on the turn to run in the quinella.
Father and son training duo Peter & Paul Snowden took out last year’s Champagne Stakes with King’s Legacy (2020) and return looking to go back-to-back this weekend with the progressive Captivant.
James McDonald replaces English hoop Tom Marquand in the saddle of the Capitalist colt who will need to stay out of trouble from the inside alley in the Group 1.
Captivant has been strong withing winning this campaign running a first-up third to O’president and Hilal in the Group 2 Skyline Stakes (1200m0 before a Golden Slipper fifth at 50/1 and the last start third in the Sires’.
He has had a few tardy starts and luckless runs and deserves a chance at the title with improvement expected.
Occupying the third line of Champagne Stakes betting this season at $6 is the early market mover, Converge, also drawn well in barrier three for Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott.
Converge made the field via a win in last weekend’s Listed Fernhill Handicap (1600m) when carrying 58kg to a strong victory at the same track and distance.
Coming down in weight to 56.5kg for the Champagne Stakes, the nicely-bred son of Frankel is out to complete the double for the first time since Prized Icon (2016).
Co-trainer Waterhouse has an excellent record in the Champagne Stakes, but is hoping to secure her first victory in the event since Pierro (2012) who was her fifth winner since 1999.
The Fernhill Handicap runner-up Maurice’s Medad ($18) and third placed Akahata ($18), both prepared by Bjorn Baker, are also backing-up in the tougher assignment on Saturday drawn at opposite ends of the field in barriers two and 12 respectively.
Baker also saddles-up a third horse in the Champagne Stakes field with roughie hope Woflburn ($51) in gate five with Joshua Parr to ride.
Of the double-figure hopefuls the most likely to score an upset at an equal $11 quote are the Annabel Neasham-trained Not A Single Doubt filly Queen Of Wizardry coming off a fifth in the Sires’ and Gin Martini.
2021 Champagne Stakes Field & Barriers
|No||Last 10||Horse||Trainer||Jockey||Barrier||Weight||Probable Weight||Penalty||Hcp Rating|
|1||14×353||CAPTIVANT||Peter & Paul Snowden||James McDonald||1||56.5kg|
|2||1272||HILAL||Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes||Tommy Berry||4||56.5kg|
|3||1×621||CONVERGE||Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott||Tim Clark||3||56.5kg|
|4||12016||DAILY BUGLE||Robbie Griffiths & Mathew de Kock||Luke Currie||10||56.5kg|
|5||2×351||I’VE BEAN THERE||Stuart Kendrick||James Orman||7||56.5kg|
|6||7×83312||MAURICE’S MEDAD||Bjorn Baker||Ms Rachel King||2||56.5kg|
|7||14||ARNAQUEUR||Jean Dubois||Andrew Adkins||6||56.5kg|
|8||7523||AKAHATA (NZ)||Bjorn Baker||Craig Williams||12||56.5kg|
|9||16||PATTON||Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes||Jason Collett||13||56.5kg|
|10||32||PORT LOUIS||Ciaron Maher & David Eustace||Hugh Bowman||14||56.5kg|
|11||552||WOLFBURN||Bjorn Baker||Joshua Parr||5||56.5kg|
|12||9×35||LEASE||Anthony Cummings||John Allen||11||56.5kg|
|13||14×05||QUEEN OF WIZARDRY||Annabel Neasham||Ms Jamie Kah||9||54.5kg|
|14||623||GIN MARTINI (NZ)||John Sargent||Brenton Avdulla||8||54.5kg|
Table Credit: Racing Australia.
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