Trainer Chris Munce is predicting that his smart colt Ours To Keep will strip a much fitter race horse when he lines up in the Group 2 $175,000 Moet Champagne Classic (1200m) at Doomben on Saturday.
Munce admits that Ours To Keep might have been underdone for his first up assignment when fourth in the Listed $100,000 Dalrello Stakes (1200m) on April 29 but added that the Seidnazar colt wasn’t very comfortable on the shifty Eagle Farm surface.
“He just struggled on the shifty track first-up. I think you will see a fitter horse on Saturday and would be shocked if he didn’t run a good race,” Munce told AAP.
Munce is happy with barrier four in the field that has been reduced to twelve runners with the early scratchings of Sydney youngsters Icon Of Dubai and Pricing Power but would like the rain to stay away and let the track improve from its current heavy 8 rating.
“The only thing is we want the rain to go away. On a good track he will give them something to catch from barrier four,” Munce said.
Jockey Damian Browne takes the ride again on Ours To Keep and was happy with his first up run even though he was beaten three and a quarter lengths when fourth behind his stablemate Saint Patricks Day in the Dalrello Stakes.
“The barrier didn’t help much either last start and it was a good run,” Browne said.
Ours To Keep was one of the stars of the early two year old season and scored a hat trick of wins with his victory in the Group 3 $200,000 Lilivale Stud B.J. McLachlan Stakes (1200m) at Eagle Farm on December 31.
Our To Keep was then sent out as one of the top fancies for the $2m Jeep Magic Millions 2yo Classic (1200m) at the Gold Coast on January 14 but had come to the end of his campaign with a ninth to Gold Coast filly Houtzen.
Betting for the Champagne Classic at Ladbrokes.com.au has Ours To Keep as the second pick at $5 behind the Kelso Wood and Patricia Gesler trainer Snitzkraft at $3.30.
Co-trainer Kelso Wood is also hoping for a better racing surface after Snitzkraft ran a game third in the Dalrello Stakes.
“He has done well since his first-up third on an unsuitable track and I am pleased with his work,” Wood said.
On the third line of betting is the well supported Tony Gollan trained She’s Our Star at $6 just ahead of Sydneysiders All Too Huiying and Tangled at $7.50.