Cracking the Champagne
Published: 24 Apr 2021
2YO bay or brown colt | Capitalist x Speedboat
The Snowden stable are looking forward to seeing their good-looking son of Capitalist back on firm ground today and so am I. He brings Group One form into the race and while his sire-line is focused on speed, he is racing like the mile should suit and a deeper look at the pedigree uncovers a second dam that won over the mile as a two-year-old. The twist to his tale is a four-day stint in the spelling paddock which was cut short when Sires Produce winner Anamoe pulled out of this race and the Captivant team sensed an opportunity. He is a beautifully balanced type that has been parading well all campaign and is a close watch in the yard again today as he tries to emulate the feats of stablemate King’s Legacy.
2YO bay colt | Fastnet Rock x Salma
The favourite for this year’s Champagne Stakes comes in the form of Hawkes-trained colt Hilal. A tough chaser with a defined athletic frame, we know he has the best form in the race, but the question is whether he can produce a peak performance on a firmer track. Like Captivant his stamina comes from the dam-side with second dam Salameh winning the Group Three Fernhill over the mile as a two-year-old in 2002. I was impressed with his final surge in the Group One Sires and he is steadily progressing in the yard. If there is some tempo in the race and he finds clear running, it is hard to see him being out of the finish.
2yo bay gelding | Frankel (GB) x Conversely (IRE)
On the quick back-up after a dominant win in the Fernhill last week is the son of Frankel (GB) Converge. Looking to continue the run of good results by the sire, the Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott trained gelding has already been proven over the 1,600 metres, a key advantage over his rivals. His pedigree and conformation always suggested he longer distance would suit and it is surprising he performed so well in the sprint races given his profile. The risk for me is the fact he is a slightly smaller and plainer type in the yard, one to watch closely after such a tough run seven days ago.
2yo chestnut filly | Rip Van Winkle (GB) x Tanqueray (NZ)
Standing in the way of the boys are two top class fillies littered with quality, the first a big-striding athletic filly from the John Sergeant yard in Gin Martini. The two-year-old daughter of Rip Van Winkle (GB) produced an eye-catching effort in the Baillieu over 1,400 metres where she was able to finish 3rd despite getting fractious behind the barriers, missing the start, and looking like she was going nowhere 300 metres from the finishing line. Out of a New Zealand staying mare who was a winner over 2,100 metres and an impressive son of Galileo there is no questions over her ability to run a strong 1,600 metres. If she behaves in the minutes leading up to the race, I expect her be one of the strongest late.
QUEEN OF WIZARDRY
2yo bay filly | Not a single doubt x Miss Hufflepuff
Annabel Neasham saddles up grinding filly Queen of Wizardry in the race she has targeted since a strong 4th in the Magic Millions early in the year. Bred from champion sire Not A Single Doubt and Miss Hufflepuff (a winner over 1,400 to 2,000 metres), she is a horse that can lack a turn-of-foot and maintains the one pace to the line. That was the pattern she showed in the Group One Sires when only getting warmed up late for a solid 5th over the 1,400 metres. The extra furlong is a huge positive for her today, she will love the dry ground and she is the horse that I marked as having the most improvement to come in the yard. Part-owned by mounting yard genius Lizzie Jelfs and ridden by Doncaster mile winner Jaime Kah, the Queen looks set to run the race of her life.
The mounting yard is key. A small play on QUEEN OF WIZARDRY each-way with a bet on CAPTIVANT or GIN MARTINI too if they parade well.
by Adrian Sciglitano