Trainer loves his Cud­dles at Flem­ing­ton

The West Australian - - SUMMER RACING -

Cham­pagne Cud­dles is set to make her Mel­bourne de­but in the Listed Kens­ing­ton Stakes (1000m) at Flem­ing­ton in what could be a pre­cur­sor to the qual­ity mare chas­ing an elu­sive Group 1 win at the same track.

Trained by Bjorn Baker at War­wick Farm, the four-yearold head­lines nine nom­i­na­tions for Satur­day’s fea­ture, with en­tries ex­tended un­til to­day.

Baker en­joyed a suc­cess­ful day at the Gold Coast on Satur­day when sta­ble­mates Egyp­tian Sym­bol and Re­dou­ble both won $1 mil­lion races on the Magic Mil­lions pro­gram.

Now the trainer is look­ing for­ward to mul­ti­ple Group 1 placeget­ter Cham­pagne Cud­dles mak­ing her first ap­pear­ance of 2019.

Premier Mel­bourne jockey Craig Wil­liams has been booked to ride. “She’s in good or­der and she of­ten runs re­ally well fresh,” Baker said.

“I guess 1000m is the short­est dis­tance she has ever raced over and rac­ing down the Flem­ing­ton straight for the first time, you never know for sure.

“But I couldn’t be hap­pier with how she is go­ing. She’s a class mare on her day.”

The only time Cham­pagne Cud­dles has raced over 1000m in 14 starts was in her sec­ond race as a two-year-old which she won at Rand­wick on a heavy track.

Cham­pagne Cud­dles has tri­alled at War­wick Farm ahead of her first-up as­sign­ment which shapes as a test for big­ger tar­gets, with Flem­ing­ton host­ing two Group 1 sprints — the Light­ning Stakes (1000m) next month and New­mar­ket Hand­i­cap (1200m) in March.

Depend­ing on how she han­dles the straight course, Cham­pagne Cud­dles could con­test at least one of those races.

“That’s in the back of our mind and we’ll just see how she goes on Satur­day,” Baker said.

“If she was to run well then we would def­i­nitely look at some of them later. Pos­si­bly a race like the New­mar­ket, but she’s go­ing to have to run well and do ev­ery­thing right.”

Pic­ture: AAP

Bjorn Baker

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