A soft track at Randwick on Saturday and the absence of Sydney’s two year old stars will boost the chances of Reckless Russell in the Group 1 $400,000 Moet & Chandon Champagne Stakes (1600m).
Trainer Noel Mayfield-Smith is expecting Reckless Russel to figure in the finish again after the 100-1 outsider handled the wet conditions well when third to Champagne Stakes rival The Barrister in the Listed $150,000 Adina Apartment Hotels Fernhill Handicap (1600m) at Randwick last Saturday.
“I wouldn’t normally back a horse up so quickly but the top horses aren’t in the Champagne,” Mayfield-Smith told AAP.
“Maybe it’s time for a new superstar. He handled the wet.”
Reckless Russel had a slow start to his career and was unplaced from is first three runs before producing his best effort on a heavy 8 over the 1600m of The Fernhill Handicap.
“Reckless Russell has always shown above average ability and the jockeys who have ridden him said he just needed to get into a race over ground,” Mayfield-Smith said.
“His work before the Fernhill was very good and he finds the line strongly.”
Veteran jockey Jim Cassidy, fresh off a win in the Group 1 Sydney Cup on Grand Marshall last Saturday at Randwick, has picked up the ride on Reckless Russell, replacing Jay Ford who had prior commitments at Kembla Grange this Saturday.
Reckless Russell has drawn the inside barrier in the nine horse Champagne Stakes field.
This year’s Champagne Stakes is lacking a bit of depth with Golden Slipper winner Vancouver and Pride Of Dubai, winner of the Group 1 $1m Blue Diamond Stakes (1200m) at Caulfield and the Group 1 $1m Inglis Sires (1400m) at Randwick, already in the spelling paddock.
The Barrister had no trouble handing the wet conditions when he led all of the way in The Fernhill Stakes, has Tommy Berry replacing Hugh Bowman and will jump from barrier seven.
Bowman has picked up the ride on the Peter Moody trained Pasadena Girl who is coming off a fourth to Pride Of Dubai in the Inglis Sires.
Pasadena Girl, with Vlad Duric aboard, made up plenty of ground in the straight coming from last on the home turn to finish one and a half lengths behind the winner and Moody is looking forward to the Savabeel filly stepping up to the 1600m.
“The 1600m will be ideal for her,’’ Moody said.
“She has done everything right since the Sires.”