The injury-forced withdrawal of Champagne Cuddles from next month’s Magic Millions 3YO Guineas on the Gold Coast has left trainer Bjorn Baker with just the one hope Goodfella for the $2 million Queensland feature.
Not A Single Doubt filly Champagne Cuddles was considered a livewire chance heading into the Restricted Listed $2 million Magic Millions 3YO Guineas (1400m) on January 13 following her outstanding spring racing season.
The perennial placegetter ran second in her four latest starts across four weekends in September including in the Group 1 $1 million Golden Rose Stakes (1400m) behind upset winner Trapeze Artist at Rosehill and Alizee in Randwick’s Group 1 $500,000 Flight Stakes (1600m) over the mile.
Her Warwick Farm-based trainer Baker however has had to shelve Magic Millions Race Day plans following the filly undergoing surgery to remove bone chips from a fetlock joint.
“We’ll just take it one step at a time with the filly and see if we can target a race in the autumn,” he told the media this week speaking about the immediate racing future of Champagne Cuddles, already a winner of over $550,000 in prize money.
Stablemate Goodfella is now Baker’s last chance at Gold Coast Magic Millions Guineas success in 2018.
The Snitzel colt has won three of his 10 career starts to date, most recently saluting at Randwick on October 21 in the Listed BR Crowley Stakes (1200m).
Goodfella was tested in tougher company down the Flemington straight last start during the Melbourne Cup Carnival, but was outclassed running 13th to Merchant Navy in the Group 1 $1 million Coolmore Stud Stakes (1200m) on VRC Derby Day.
Last Magic Millions Racing Carnival as a two-year-old he finished a close fourth under three lengths beaten by the impressive filly Houtzen in the $2 million Magic Millions 2YO Classic (1200m) so has form at the Gold Coast track.
“Goodfella is a tough horse and cops his racing really well,” Baker said.
“He’s as strong as he’s ever been and without Champagne Cuddles in the race hopefully it opens it up for him now so maybe that’s the silver lining.”
Goodfella was last in the public eye on December 8 at Rosehill finishing under a length away fourth in a 900m trial and currently pays $10 through Ladbrokes.com.au in their all-in Magic Millions 3YO Guineas markets.
The Magic Millions 3YO Guineas odds pre-field are led by the Gregory Hickman-trained Pierro colt Pierata ($5) and the Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott-trained Star Witness filly Our Crown Mistress ($7).
Our Crown Mistress has won her last four straight races in Victoria, the latest of which was the Listed Lexus Hybrid Stakes (1400m) at Flemington on Melbourne Cup Day.
She will be out to go back-to-back in the Magic Millions Gold Coast Guineas for the fillies following the success of Flying Jess (2017) last summer.