Champollion failed to fire in the 2013 Spring Racing Carnival, but the Darley operation are hoping that talented galloper can recapture his best form in the Inglis Bonus Handicap (1400m) at Randwick on Saturday after he was gelded during his stint away from the races.
Champollion made his racing debut with an eighth place finish in the Listed New South Wales Thoroughbred Breeders Plate (1000m) at Royal Randwick on October 6 in 2012 and was sent for the Group 1 Golden Slipper (1200m) during the 2013 Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival.
The Exceed And Excel gelding started his autumn campaign with a win in the Darby Racing Handicap (1200m) at Warwick Farm on February 23 and trainer Peter Snowden opted to skip the Golden Slipper with the two-year-old after he failed to fire in the Group 2 Henry Bucks Sires Produce Stakes (1400m) at Flemington on March 9.
Champollion started the Group 3 The Schweppervescence (1400m) at long odds and his winning chances looked to be over when he blundered at the start of the race, but he stormed home in the final stages of the race to score an upset win.
He made his Group 1 debut with a credible seventh place finish behind Guelph in the Group 1 Sires Produce Stakes (1400m) at Royal Randwick on April 13, but beat home just a single runner when 12th in the Group 1 Champagne Stakes (1600m) at Royal Randwick on April 27.
Champollion started his 2013 Spring Racing Carnival with a 13th place finish in the Group 3 Ming Dynasty Quality (1400m) and did not perform against a poor field in the Sydney City Toyota Handicap (1200m) at Royal Randwick.
The three-year-old returned to a semblance of his best form with a third place finish in the Listed Vintage Stakes (1410m) at Flemington, but was unable to replicate that form in the Listed Gothic Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield, the Group 3 Carbine Club Stakes (1600m) and the Group 2 Sandown Guineas (1600m).
Darley are generally hesitant to geld their horses, but have had recent success with horses who have undergone ‘the ultimate gear change’; with Knoydart winning the Listed Canterbury Classic (1100m) and Listed Hareeba Stakes (1200m) and performing strongly at Group 1 level after he was gelded at the end of his winter campaign last year.
Champollion is currently available at odds of $18 to return to the races with a win in the Inglis Bonus Handicap, while the in-form Impulsive Spirit has been backed into clear favouritism at a quote of $3.80.