Prized Icon and Obscura joint favourites for Champagne Stakes

The James Cummings trained Prized Icon and Godolphin’s Obscura are the race morning joint favourites for the Group 1 $500,000 Moet & Chandon Champagne Stakes (1600m) at Randwick today.

Prized Icon, above, is the joint favourite with Obscura in the Champagne Stakes at Randwick. Photo by Steve Hart.

Prized Icon, above, is the joint favourite with Obscura in the Champagne Stakes at Randwick. Photo by Steve Hart.

Prized Icon is backing up in seven days after winning the Listed $150,000 TFE Hotels Fernhill Handicap (1600m) at Randwick last Saturday and has firmed in overnight  to join Obscura at $4 at Ladbrokes.com.au.

The betting for the Champagne Stakes had to be drastically reshaped after the odds on favourite Yankee Rose was scratched on Friday after failing a veterinary check after suffering some bruising to her front feet during the week.

The new market saw six of the ten two year olds marked under $10 with the John O’Shea trained Obscura being elevated to the top spot before being joined by Prized Icon.

Obscura has only been to the races on two occasions for a third in a 1200m Kembla Grange two year old maiden followed by a fifth to Attention in the Group 3 $150,000 The Schweppervescence (1400m) at Rosehill on March 26.

Trainer John O’Shea is happy to step the Street Cry colt up to Group 1 company and the task will be lot easier with Yankee Rose out of the way.

“He is a lovely horse. I really like him,” O’Shea said.

But O’Shea thinks the market framers have got it wrong and he doesn’t believe he should be listed as equal favourite.

“I think the market is well wrong there in that race. I don’t think he is entitled to be that price to be fair,” O’Shea told Racing HQ Saturday.

“He is a lovely horse and has a bright future but there is now way he is entitled to be favourite in a Champagne Stakes. He was 50-1 the other day and ran fifth.”

“I know it is not an overly strong version of the Champagne but I think there are horses there with superior form going into it but he will acquit himself very well.”

“I think he has a lovely future coming into the Spring and he will get a beautiful run today but I think the market has probably got it wrong there.”

Obscura has drawn the inside gate in the ten horse field and O’Shea can see jockey James McDonald giving the Street Cry colt the run of the race.

“We won’t be too far away from them and I suppose that that is one of the enduring qualities to give him a chance in the race and he will run a strong mile, but he just probably lacks that little bit off seasoning.”

Prized Icon won’t have any concerns with the 1600m after having won over the Champagne Stakes course and distance last week in the Fernhill Handicap.

Champagne Stakes market order at Ladbrokes.com.au: $4 Obscura, Prized Icon, $5.50 Faraway Town, $7 Divine Prophet, El Sicario, $8 Chimboraa, $21 Crown Him, $26 Jaws Of Steel, Pop, $61 North Sky.

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.

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