Trainer Bjorn Baker says he cannot fault race favourite Champagne Cuddles (Not a Single Doubt-Sky Cuddle, by Snippets) heading into tomorrow's $1.5 million Group 1 Stradbroke Handicap (1350m) at Doomben. Champagne Cuddles, the only 3YO filly in the race, is in terrific form having resumed from a 7 month break with a brilliant win in the Group 3 Gold Coast Guineas (1200m), before proving herself at weight-for-age level when an excellent third behind Impending in the Group 1 Kingsford-Smith Cup (1300m) two weeks ago. Champagne Cuddles has been well supported in Stradbroke betting and is currently the $4.20 favourite with TAB ahead of Impending at $5, Perast at $7, Care To Think at $9, and Danon Liberty ($9.50) and Osborne Bulls ($9.50), who are the first and second emergencies respectively. The filly has drawn the inside gate and is proven on wet ground, two factors Baker views as advantages. "At the end of the day its the shortest way home, so I guess from that point of view we'd rather have barrier one than the outside," Baker told Sky Sports Radio. "She won on a heavy track as a two-year-old and she's bred a bit to go in the wet, so whatever the state of the track it won't be too much of a concern." Baker added: "Her work was very good on Tuesday and she did a little bit this morning [Thursday] and I'm really happy with her. She's ready to run a good race. She gets in with a good weight, she's got a good gate and she's fit and well, so she gets her chance."
The final field has been declared and the barrier draw conducted for the showpiece event of the Queensland winter carnival - the $1.5 million Group 1 Stradbroke Handicap (1350m) to be run at Doomben racecourse in Brisbane this Saturday. First run in 1890, the Stradbroke has established itself as a genuine top-class event with past winners including Winfreux (1965), Imposing (1979), Campaign King (1988), Rough Habit (1991 & 92), All Our Mob (1994), Dane Ripper (1997), Show A Heart (2002), Private Steer (2003), and Thorn Park (2004). This year, the race favourite is the Bjorn Baker-trained Champagne Cuddles, the only 3YO filly in the race. TAB have Champagne Cuddles listed as the $4.20 market elect, ahead of defending champion Impending at $5, Perast at $7.50, and Care To Think, Danon Liberty (1st emergency) & Osborne Bulls (2nd emergency) all at $9.
Well-bred colt Perast will be out to secure his future at stud when he lines up in Saturday's Group 1 Stradbroke Handicap (1350m) at Doomben. By incumbent champion Australian sire Snitzel out of stakes winning Zabeel mare, Perast would be a highly sought after stallion prospect were he able to win Queensland's $1.5 million winter showpiece. The 3YOs chances were not helped when he drew barrier 12, but assistant trainer Shannon Perry remains optimistic about he will acquit himself well. "We weren't originally planning on running in the Stradbroke but his last two wins have shown that he deserves his chance in the race," Perry told Sky Racing. "He is ticking over nicely. He's spot on for the race." Perry added: "That gate is fine. He will probably come in to barrier nine if the emergencies fail to get a start, but dad [trainer Paul Perry] was saying the other day barrier 12 or under would be fine...it could be worse." Connections will no doubt be keen to adopt the same front-running tactics that have seen Perast win the Gr3 Fred Best Classic (1350m) and Listed Queensland Day Stakes (1350m) at his past two outings.
Thirty horses have been listed in the first acceptances for the $1.5 Group 1 Stradbroke Handicap. Group 1 Kingsford-Smith Cup winner and defending champion Impending is set to carry the top weight with 57.5kg. Group 1 Goodwood winner Santa Ana Lane has also accepted, alongside Group 3 Fred Best Classic winner Perast. Chris Waller could dominate both the Queensland Derby (for 3YOs) and JJ Atkins Plate (for 2YOs) with multiple runners among the first acceptors for both Group 1s. Waller is considering running Queensland Oaks winner Youngstar against the boys in the Derby, while in the JJ Atkins he is likely to start Zousain, The Autumn Sun and impressive Dalrello Stakes winner, Lean Mean Machine. Click here to view first acceptances.
Racing Queensland has released the weights and ballot order for the $1.5 million Group 1 Stradbroke Handicap (1350m) to be run at Doomben racecourse on 9 June. Defending champion Impending, Santa Ana Lane, English, and 3YO colt Perast are the only four horses exempt from ballot. Click here to view entries and weights. Click here to view ballot order.
At Doomben racecourse in Brisbane, Arrowfield Stud's incumbent Champion Australian Sire Snitzel (Redoute's Choice-Snippets' Lass, by Snippets) added a Group race success when 3YO Australian-bred colt Perast (Snitzel-Thousand Veils, by Zabeel) adopted his usual front-running tactics to great effect when leading throughout to land the $150,000 Gr3 Fred Best Classic (1350m) for 3YOs, defeating Assimilate & Mishani Bullitt. Perast advanced his record to 4 wins (including the Gr3 Caulfield Guineas Prelude & Listed Queensland Day Stakes) and 2 placings (including the Gr2 Run To The Rose) from 14 starts for $397,666 in earnings. Purchased by his trainer Paul Perry for $100,000 at the 2016 Inglis Premier Yearling Sale, Perast is out of the Listed SAJC St Leger (2400m) winning mare Thousand Veils (Zabeel) and hails from the successful US family of 4-time Gr1 winner Versailles Treaty and dual Gr1 winner General Assembly. Assistant trainer Shannon Perry said the stable would give serious consideration to running Perast in the $1.5 million Gr1 Stradbroke Handicap (1400m) at Doomben on 9 June. "He is in the Stradbroke field now and we will have to have a very big think. Three-year-olds have a great record in the Stradbroke and he is a stallion," Perry told Sky Racing. "I suppose to win a Group One race is a high priority." Perast is one of Snitzel’s 26 individual Australian stakeswinners this season – one short of a new outright record – and his Fred Best Classic success takes Snitzel’s tally for 2017/18 to 43 Group and Listed wins.
At Doomben racecourse in Queensland, Arrowfield Stud's incumbent Champion Australian Sire Snitzel (Redoute's Choice-Snippets' Lass, by Snippets) added a black-type success when 3YO Australian-bred colt Perast (Snitzel-Thousand Veils, by Zabeel) appreciated a huge drop in class when scoring a strong front-running win in the $100,000 Listed Queensland Day Stakes (1350m) for 3YOs, defeating Marsupial & Mishani Bullitt. Perast advanced his record to 3 wins (including the Gr3 Caulfield Guineas Prelude) and 2 placings (including the Gr2 Run To The Rose) from 13 starts for $303,383 in earnings. Purchased by his trainer Paul Perry for $100,000 at the 2016 Inglis Premier Yearling Sale, Perast is out of the Listed SAJC St Leger (2400m) winning mare Thousand Veils (Zabeel) and hails from the successful US family of 4-time Gr1 winner Versailles Treaty and dual Gr1 winner General Assembly.
The connections of Summer Passage have decided to bypass the Gr1 Caulfield Guineas (1600m) after the classy Kiwi colt drew the outside gate for Saturday's $2 million 3YO feature, reports NZ Racing Desk. Summer Passage will now be re-routed to the Gr3 Blue Sapphire Stakes (1200m) at Caulfield next Wednesday as a final prep for the Gr1 Coolmore Stud Stakes (1200m) at Flemington on 4 November. "It's just too hard from out there in a race like that," said Lance O'Sullivan, who prepares the son of Snitzel with Andrew Scott. "I spoke with his owner and he's obviously disappointed, but understood how tough it would be so we're going back to our original plan." A winner of the Gr1 Sistema Stakes (formerly Diamond Stakes) at Ellerslie in March, Summer Passage was lasts seen finishing a close-up second to Perast in the Caulfield Guineas Prelude over 1400m.
Trainer Tony McEvoy is adamant that Royal Symphony is the horse to beat in Saturday's $2 million Gr1 Caulfield Guineas (1600m) in Melbourne. McEvoy hasn't lost faith in his stable star, despite Royal Symphony relinquishing his unbeaten record when 4th to Perast in a slowly run Caulfield Guineas Prelude (1400m) eleven days ago. "I said at the 1000m that he couldn't win and for him to get as close as he did, when they were going so steady, to my eye it said it was a very good run and the clock backed it up," McEvoy told racing.com. "He ran a faster last 600m than Santa Ana Lane and Mr Sneaky (1st and 2nd in the Gr1 Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes), and faster 600m, 400m and 200m than Bonneval and Hartnell [1st and 2nd in the Gr1 Underwood Stakes]." McEvoy added: "It was probably the best run of his career and his first defeat…we just need a good, even speed." Royal Symphony is currently the $4 TAB favourite for the Guineas.
Meanwhile, trainers Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott believe the Sydney colts may have the edge on their southern rivals ahead of Saturday's Gr1 Caulfield Guineas (1600m) in Melbourne. The Tulloch Lodge stable will saddle up Gold Standard in the $2 million 3YO feature, and are bullish about his prospects. A winner of 2 of his 5 starts, Gold Standard (Sebring-Coniston Gem, by Greig) was a strong winner of the Gr2 Stan Fox Stakes two starts ago before finishing fourth in the Gr1 Golden Rose at his most recent outing. "Perast finished behind Gold Standard in the Golden Rose and he's gone down to Melbourne and won the Guineas Prelude," Bott told racenet. "The Sydney colts might just have an edge." Bott said the stable had always had a big opinion of Gold Standard and that he believes he is still on an upward trajectory. "He's a hugely talented colt," Bott said. "For any horse in their first preparation to go through from a maiden to running a credible race in the Golden Rose, through to competing in the Caulfield Guineas, it speaks volumes of his natural talent.'' He added: "In the autumn he'll be a really nice colt for us but he's a great chance for us on Saturday."
The final field has been declared and the barrier draw conducted for the $2 million Gr1 Caulfield Guineas (1600m) for 3YOs to be run at Caulfield racecourse in Melbourne this Saturday. The stallion-making feature - which boasts top stallions on its honour roll such as All Too Hard (2012), Starspangledbanner (2009), Lonhro (2001), Redoute's Choice (1999), and Luskin Star (1977) - has attracted a capacity field of 16 horses with the Mick Price-trained Mighty Boss the lone emergency. Current race favourite Royal Symphony has drawn midfield in barrier 9, while others to draw a good gate include the only filly entered in the race, Catchy, in barrier 3, Levendi (7), Salsamor (8), Caulfield Guineas Prelude winner Perast (2), Gold Standard (6), and Showtime (1). In a competitive market, Royal Symphony is the most popular runner at $4 with TAB, ahead of Catchy at $5, Kementari ($5.50), and Perast next best at $10. Click below to view the Caulfield Guineas field.
At Caulfield in Melbourne, Arrowfield Stud's incumbent Champion Australian Sire Snitzel (Redoute's Choice-Snippets' Lass, by Snippets) added Group race success when 3YO bay colt Perast (Snitzel-Thousand Veils, by Zabeel) put up an excellent Caulfield Guineas trial when scoring a determined front-running win in the $175,000 Gr3 Caulfield Guineas Prelude (1400m) for 3YO colts & geldings, defeating Summer Passage & Kementari. This was the first stakes victory for Perast who improved his record to 2 wins and 2 placings (including the Gr2 Run To The Rose) from 8 starts for $181,000. Purchased by his trainer Paul Perry for $100,000 at the 2016 Inglis Premier Yearling Sale, Perast is out of the Listed SAJC St Leger (2400m) winning mare Thousand Veils (Zabeel) and hails from the successful US family of 4-time Gr1 winner Versailles Treaty and dual Gr1 winner General Assembly. Given his stamina laden pedigree, Perry said he expects Perast to improve even more when he steps up to a mile in the $1 million Gr1 Caulfield Guineas (1600m) on 14 October. "He's a nice colt," Perry told racing.com. "He did well to hang on because they went hard in that race." He added: "I think the mile will suit him much better than today. The way he's bred, he's out of a Zabeel mare so I can only see him improving."
At Rosehill Gardens in Sydney, Arrowfield Stud's incumbent Champion Australian Sire Snitzel (Redoute's Choice-Snippets' Lass, by Snippets) added a Group success when star colt Menari (Snitzel- Isurava, by General Nediym) stamped himself as the best 3YO sprinter in the country with yet another classy win in the $200,000 Gr2 The Run To The Rose (1200m) for 3YOs, defeating Pariah & Perast. A flashy looking colt with a striking white blaze, Menari improved his record to 3 wins (including the Listed Rosebud) and 1 placing (including the Gr3 ATC Canonbury Stakes) from 7 starts for $520,550 in earnings. Menari is now the dominant $2.60 favourite for the $1 million Gr1 Golden Rose (1400m) at Rosehill on 23 September. Trainer Gerald Ryan compared Menari to his sire Snitzel who he also trained. "I thought I was lucky enough to have a horse like Snitzel who I thought was a very good horse," Ryan said. "Probably the best horse I had since Snitzel was Snitzerland, then along came Rubick. We never saw the best of Rubick, but this horse in the autumn, what he showed us before he raced I thought 'this is a fair dinkum, genuine horse'". Ryan added: "He is 16.3 hands and weighs 570 kilos and I think his fitness will improve even further." A homebred for George Altomonte's Corumbene Stud, Menari is by Snitzel out of the stakes-winning mare Isurava (General Nediym-Cut A Dash, by Whisky Road), a full sister to Gr2 Magic Night Stakes winner Ichihara and Listed winner Au Chocolat.
At Caulfield in Melbourne, Arrowfield Stud's high profile Gr1-winning stallion Snitzel (Redoute's Choice-Snippets' Lass, by Snippets) celebrated a Restricted black-type success when 2YO colt Jukebox (Snitzel-Jestatune, by Rory's Jester) scored by 2-lengths for trainer Ciaron Maher in the $250,000 Restricted Listed Inglis 2YO Premier (1200m), over fellow colts Coppergate (Helmet-Umoya, by Nashwan) and Perast (Snitzel-Thousand Veils, by Zabeel). A $200,000 Inglis Easter yearling consigned by Blue Gum Farm, Jukebox took his record to 2 wins from 2 starts for $150,150 earnings. He is currently on the second line of betting at $8 for the $1.5 million Gr1 Blue Diamond Stakes (1200m) at Caulfield on 25 February. "He's always been our benchmark two-year-old. He's very professional and very natural," Maher told Racing.com. "Fitness wise he improved out of his first run, but I still think there's a bit of improvement there also." He added: "It's three weeks into the Diamond which is a nice spacing."
A final field of 10 runners has been declared for tomorrow's $250,000 Listed (restricted) Inglis Premier (1200m) at Caulfield. The Inglis Premier is restricted to horses purchased at the 2016 Melbourne Premier Yearling Sale and VOBIS Gold Yearling Sale. This will be the 18th edition of the Inglis Premier, a race in which prize money is taken into account in the ballot conditions for the Gr1 Blue Diamond Stakes. The race has proven to be a launching pad for future stars, with previous winners Snitzerland and Twilight Royale progressing to win Group One races during their careers. The two undefeated Snitzel colts Jukebox (Ciaron Maher) and Perast (Paul Perry) will be out to keep their perfect race record intact on Saturday, while four of the runners in this year's race are on debut. Jukebox is the $2.35 favourite for the race ahead of Perast at $3.40 and Coppergate (Helmet) at $9.50. The final Inglis Premier field is:
1. JUKEBOX (Ciaron Maher-Craig Williams) 57kg (5)
2. PERAST (Paul Perry-Stephen Baster) 57kg (3)
3. BEAVERBROOK (Robbie Griffiths-Ben Thompson) 57kg (7)
4. FULLY MAXED (Shane Nichols-Michael Dee) 57kg (10)
5. CAPTIVATOR (Lee & Anthony Freedman-Damien Oliver) 57kg (6)
6. COPPERGATE (Tony McEvoy-Dwayne Dunn) 57kg (1)
7. EVIL CRY (Robbie Laing-Mark Zahra) 57kg (8)
8. WANTED HARMONY (Shawn Mathrick-Luke Currie) 57kg (2)
9. FALLING WATERS (Michael Moroney-Patrick Moloney) 55kg (4)
10. ALICE ISLAND (David & B Hayes & T Dabernig-Regan Bayliss) 55kg (9)