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Brilliant three year old filly Champagne Cuddles will take on the older sprinters quicker than anticipated when she steps up to weight-for-age company for the first time in the Group 1 $700,000 Altus Traffic Kingsford-Smith Cup (1350m) at Doomben on Saturday.

Le Romain, above, is the favourite for the 2018 Kingsford-Smith Cup at Doomben. Photo by Steve Hart.

Le Romain, above, is the favourite for the 2018 Kingsford-Smith Cup at Doomben. Photo by Steve Hart.

Trainer Bjorn Baker had the option of keeping Champagne Cuddles against her own age in the Group 3 $150,000 Sky Racing Fred Best Classic (1350m) at Doomben on Saturday before hoping to gain a start in the Group 1 $1.5m Stradbroke Handicap (1350m) at Doomben in a fortnight.

The winner of both the Kingsford-Smith Cup and the Fred Best Classic will be exempt from the ballot for the Stradbroke Handicap.

“The Stradbroke will be a big field and she might draw out, so it’s not easy,” Baker told The Courier-Mail.

“I guess I don’t want to put all the eggs in one basket so we decided to have a crack at this while it’s there. It’s not an easy race but you have to be in it to win it.”

“She is genuine Group 1 class for sure and she’s in great order. She’s done exceptionally well since the first-up win.”

Champagne Cuddles showed her Group 1 credentials during the 2017 Sydney Spring Carnival against the three year olds with a second to Trapeze in the Group 1 $1m De Bortoli Wines Golden Rose (1400m) at Rosehill followed by a second to Alizee in the Group 1 $500,000 Flight Stakes (1600m) at Randwick.

The Not A Single Doubt filly returned for the 2018 Queensland Winter Racing Carnival in dynamic form with a first up win in the Group 3 $125,000 Brandons Gold Coast Guineas (1200m) at the Gold Coast on May 5 and Baker has been agonising since whether to keep the filly up against her own age for another run or test her out at weight for age level straight away.

Champagne Cuddles will jump from gate nine in the Kingsford-Smith Cup field that has been reduced to ten runners following the early scratching of the Lindsay Park trained Spieth due to a hoof injury and Baker said that he would leave the riding tactics up to Melbourne Cup winning jockey Corey Brown.

“The gate’s not ideal, but we will just see how the day plays before deciding on tactics. Corey is a big-time rider and he’s got a good feel of her now, so we will trust him with getting it right,” Baker said.

Champagne Cuddles is sharing the third line of betting for the Kingsford-Smith Cup at Ladbrokes.com.au at $5 with the Doomben 10,000 winner English behind the Kris Lees trained Le Romain at $3.50 and Doomben 10,000 runner up Impending at $4.50.

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.