The Ben, Will & JD Hayes-trained Cox...
The Chris Waller-trained Fangirl is tipped to return to winning form when she takes on a diminutive but class field of rivals in the 2023 Champions Mile at Flemington this weekend.
The four-day Melbourne Cup Carnival concludes with Stakes Day on Saturday featuring a triple-shot of elite racing including the Group 1 $3 million Kennedy Champions Mile (1600m).
We may only have seven final acceptors in this year’s Champions Mile field but it is a stellar line-up and a wide-open edition of the event.
Current narrow favourite in Champions Mile betting at Ladbrokes.com.au is Waller’s $7.23 million earning Sebring mare Fangirl with the five-year-old paying $2.50.
She jumps from barrier seven with James McDonald back in the saddle.
J Mac rode her to a barnstorming 2.67 length victory over Mr Brightside two back at Randwick in the Group 1 King Charles III Stakes (1600m) before Zac Purton was aboard for her latest run.
She comes via the Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) when 1.6 lengths seventh to Romantic Warrior over the extra distance.
Back to 1600m will suit and she has won her only other Flemington assignment to date in another plus.
Two other genuine mile stars follow closely in the markets with Mr Brightside at $3.20 in gate two with Craig Williams riding and Alligator Blood at $3.50 to defend his title.
The Team Hayes-trained Mr Brightside has put together an outstanding record and was excellent early this prep winning both the Group 1 Memsie Stakes (1400m) and Group 1 Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m).
In the Makybe Diva at this track and distance he was an easy 1.5 length winner over Alligator Blood but he has been beaten at his latest two runs.
He was disappointing behind Fangirl when she went past him in the King Charles but won back admirers flashing late up the inside to nearly steal the Cox Plate in a photo.
Alligator Blood meanwhile gets the chance to go back-to-back in the race for the first time since Seascay right back in 1994 and 1995.
The cult galloper is prepared by Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott and has been typically excellent this campaign.
The seven-year-old son of All Too Hard is at his pet track (5:3-2-0) and won both the Group 1 Underwood (1800m) and Group 1 Might And Power (2000m) over further this time in before a third in that close Cox Plate trifecta.
Back to 1600m could be a challenge at this stage of his prep but he is going very well and can never be left out.
Pride Of Jenni meanwhile looks the potential dark horse in the mix for the Maher/Eustace stable with the $14 pop on a short turnaround after an upset in the Group 1 Empire Rose Stakes (1600m) at the track and distance on Derby Day.
2023 Champions Stakes Final Field & Barrier Draw
|No||Last 10||Horse||Trainer||Jockey||Barrier||Weight||Probable Weight||Penalty||Hcp Rating|
|1||5211×11122||MR BRIGHTSIDE (NZ)||Ben, Will & JD Hayes||Craig Williams||2||59kg||118|
|2||x140x42113||ALLIGATOR BLOOD||Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott||Tim Clark||5||59kg||118|
|3||111113×287||THE INEVITABLE||John Keys||Damien Oliver||4||59kg||107|
|4||362598×735||BANKERS CHOICE (NZ)||Michael Moroney||John Allen||6||59kg||103|
|5||241111×739||VICTORIA ROAD (IRE)||Ciaron Maher & David Eustace||Blake Shinn||1||58kg||109|
|6||x3227x1317||FANGIRL||Chris Waller||James McDonald||7||57kg||117|
|7||x4298x6261||PRIDE OF JENNI||Ciaron Maher & David Eustace||Declan Bates||3||57kg||108|
Table Credit: Racing Australia.
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