Trainer loves his Cuddles at Flemington
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.”