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Trainer Bjorn Baker’s hopes of winning Saturday’s Group 1 $1.5m Stradbroke Handicap (1350m) at Doomben are still very high after his filly and favourite Champagne Cuddles galloped in fine style this morning.

Impending, above, is set to carry the top weight in the 2018 Stradbroke Handicap at Doomben. Photo by Steve Hart.

Impending, above, is set to carry the top weight in the 2018 Stradbroke Handicap at Doomben. Photo by Steve Hart.

Baker has reported that Champagne Cuddles has pulled up in great shape after completing her early morning gallop at the Gold Coast.

“Happy with the gallop of Champagne Cuddles this morning. Smooth throughout and recovered well,” Baker tweeted.

Champagne Cuddles was elevated to the top of the Stradbroke Handicap market order at $4.50 with Ladbrokes.com.au following her eye catching third behind Impending and Le Romain in the Group 1 $700,000 Altus Traffic Kingsford-Smith Cup (1350m) at Doomben on May 26.

Champagne Cuddles had to carry 55kg in the Kingsford-Smith Cup under the weight for age scale, only 4kg below the winner Impending but the Not A Single Doubt filly has only been handicapped with 50kg in the Stradbroke Handicap and will have a huge advantage over Impending who was handed 57.5kg in the original weights.

Champagne Cuddles jumped into the spotlight during the 2017 Sydney Spring Carnival with five placings from five starts, two at Group 1 level.

The Not A Single Doubt filly flashed home from back in the field to be runner up to Trapeze Artist in the Group 1 $1m De Bortoli Wines Golden Rose (1400m) at Rosehill and then at her next start finished second to Alizee in the Group 1 $500,000 Flight Stakes (1600m) at Randwick.

Champagne Cuddles brought her Spring form to the Autumn and returned to the race track with a very impressive first up win in the Group 3 $125,000 Brandons Gold Coast Guineas (1200m) at the Gold Coast on May 5 before finishing third to seasoned campaigners Impending and Le Romain in the Kingsford-Smith Cup.

The James Cummings trained Impending is on the second line of betting at $5.50 while trainer Kris Lees has decided against running Le Romain in the Stradbroke Handicap and the multiple Group 1 winner has been spelled before beginning his Spring Carnival preparation.

Early betting for the 2018 Stradbroke Handicap at Ladbrokes.com.au: $4.50 Champagne Cuddles, $5.50 Impending, $$6.50 Care To Think, $7.50 Perast, $8.50 Danon Liberty, $12 Invincible Gem, $14 Osburne Bulls, Santa Anna Lane, $16 Spieth, $18 Peaceful State, $21 Shillelagh, Voodoo Lad, $26 Crack Me Up, $31 Foxplay, Super Cash, The Monstar, $34 Burning Passion, Endless Passion, $41 or better the rest.

About The Author

Mark Mazzaglia

Mark is a passionate journalist with a life-time involvement in the racing industry. He spent many years as an analyst and form expert at the Courier Mail and also has hands-on experience working with some of Queensland’s top trainers.