Trainer Bjorn Baker’s high-class mare Champagne Cuddles is on trial for a start in the Group 1 $1.25m Lexus Newmarket Handicap (1200m) at Flemington on March 9 when she lines up in the Kensington Stakes on Saturday.
Champagne Cuddles will be having her first look at the Flemington straight in the Listed $140,000 Kensington Stakes (1000m) and a good performance could see her return there for the Newmarket Handicap.
“That’s in the back of our mind and we’ll just see how she goes on Saturday,” Baker told AAP.
“If she was to run well then we would definitely look at some of them later.”
“Possibly a race like the Newmarket. But she’s going to have to run well and do everything right.”
Champagne Cuddles has performed well at Group 1 level in the past with four placings but is yet to win at the elite level.
“She’s knocking on the door and she has won just under a million dollars (prize money),” Baker said.”
“So it would be nice to break through the million-dollar barrier with her as well.”
During her three year old season Champagne Cuddles chased home Trapeze Artist when second in the Group 1 $1m De Bortoli Wines Golden Rose (1400m) at Rosehill during the 2017 Spring Carnival and was then runner up against the fillies in the Group 1 $500,000 Flight Stakes (1600m) at Randwick.
Baker then aimed Champagne Cuddles towards a 2018 Queensland Winter Carnival campaign which resulted in third placings in both the Group 1 $700,000 Altus Traffic Kingsford-Smith Cup (1350m) and in the Group 1 $1.5m Stradbroke Handicap (1350m) at Doomben.
Champagne Cuddles has drawn barrier four in the nine horse Kensington Stakes field with Craig Williams taking the mount.
Victoria’s leading trainer Darren Weir will saddle up two runners in the Kensington Stakes, the top weight Thermal Current, barrier five with Damian Lane in the saddle, and Snitzkraft for John Allen.
Early betting at Ladbrokes.com.au has Champagne Cuddles marked as the $2 favourite for the Kensington Stakes ahead of Glenall at $4 and Thermal Current at $6.