The Ben, Will & JD Hayes-trained Cox...
The Simon & Ed Crisford-trained UK raider West Wind Blows is tipped to return to winning form third-up down under as firm favourite in 2023 Champions Stakes betting at Flemington this weekend.
The four-day Melbourne Cup Carnival comes to a close on Saturday at headquarters with the card highlighted by three elite level races including the marquee event – the Group 1 $3 million Champions Stakes (2000m).
The five-year-old son of Teofilo is third-up and fit down under now well acclimatised and coming off two good seconds against the best of the spring.
He was runner-up fresh to last year’s Melbourne Cup winner Gold Trip at this track and trip in the Group 1 Turnbull Stakes (2000m).
Then he finished second best by a narrow margin to his former stablemate, Without A Fight, when up in distance for the Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) on October 21.
Without A Fight franked that form on Tuesday with his barnstorming two length victory in the 163rd edition of the Group 1 $8.41 million Lexus Melbourne Cup (3200m) becoming the first to do the double since Ethereal in 2001.
Now the markets suggest West Wind Blows can further frank the Caulfield Cup form when he comes back in distance with Jamie Spencer continuing associations from a favourable barrier two draw.
In an open market a further four runners are at single-figure Champions Stakes odds this spring including the $5.50 second elects Prowess and Duais drawn in barriers four and three respectively.
The New Zealand form from across the Tasman has been stacking-up well in Australia this spring and that could continue with the Roger James & Robert Wellwood-trained Prowess going well.
A winner of eight of her 11 starts to date the four-year-old daughter of Proisir still has plenty of upside and is a proven Group 1 winner in Australia.
She took out the Vinery Stud Stakes over the 2000m at Rosehill by over three lengths in the autumn and comes off a Group 2 Crystal Mile (1600m) victory at The Valley on Cox Plate Day.
Fitter now and back up to 2000m she looks a danger especially with Tuesday’s Melbourne Cup winning jockey Mark Zahra retaining the ride and full of confidence.
Damien Oliver continues his swansong Cup Carnival in the Champions Stakes aboard the talented Edward Cummings-trained Duais.
The six-year-old daughter of Shamus Award hasn’t won a race since completing the Group 1 Australian Cup – Tancred Stakes double in March last year.
She has been racing closer to her best this prep however with back-to-back thirds to Alligator Blood in the Group 1 Underwood Stakes and Caulfield Stakes before a slashing Cox Plate fourth at 30/1 only a length off the winner Romantic Warrior a fortnight back.
Rounding out the hopes under $10 for the win are the Chris Waller-trained Atishu ($7) and Annabel Neasham’s dual defending champion Zaaki ($7.50).
Waller ran second and third in the Melbourne Cup with Soulcombe and his triple-figure roughie Sheraz filling the placings in the world’s richest handicap and will be hoping his good run continues on Stakes Day.
He is yet to prepared a Champions Stakes winner but is well-represented by Empire Rose Stakes runner-up Atishu and fellow Group 1 winning mare Montefilia ($23) in the mix.
Zaaki meanwhile lines-up looking for his third win in the event as a nine-year-old from out in gate 10 with Jamie Kah hoping to deliver the fairy-tale on the evergreen veteran.
The 2023 Champions Stakes is scheduled to run as Flemington Race 8 at 5:10pm (AEDT) as the penultimate event on the card with full markets thanks to Ladbrokes.com.au available here.
2023 Champions Stakes Final Field & Barrier Draw
|No||Last 10||Horse||Trainer||Jockey||Barrier||Weight||Probable Weight||Penalty||Hcp Rating|
|1||41x217x326||ZAAKI (GB)||Annabel Neasham||Ms Jamie Kah||10||59kg||116|
|2||0653216×06||HUETOR (FR)||Peter & Paul Snowden||Kerrin McEvoy||11||59kg||110|
|3||746×403116||YOUNG WERTHER (NZ)||Danny O’Brien||Billy Egan||6||59kg||106|
|4||13×3123222||WEST WIND BLOWS (IRE)||Simon & Ed Crisford||Jamie Spencer||2||59kg||110|
|5||1735×45401||ZEYREK (FR)||Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes||Ben Melham||7||59kg||108|
|6||34113×2150||PINSTRIPED||Enver Jusufovic||Ben Allen||9||59kg||107|
|7||216x143x27||BUCKAROO (GB)||Joseph O’Brien||Blake Shinn||8||59kg||107|
|8||5229×86310||MONTEFILIA||Chris Waller||Michael Dee||1||57kg||112|
|9||0x43x79334||DUAIS||Edward Cummings||Damien Oliver||3||57kg||112|
|10||x216Px5202||ATISHU (NZ)||Chris Waller||James McDonald||5||57kg||110|
|11||3311111×21||PROWESS (NZ)||Roger James & Robert Wellwood||Mark Zahra||4||56.5kg||110|
Table Credit: Racing Australia.
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