Baker could target Group 1 with Champagne Cuddles


Sydney trainer Bjorn Baker is likely to chase a Group 1 with smart sprinter Champagne Cuddles after her record breaking win on the Gold Coast.

Champagne Cuddles smashed the 1200m track record when she clocked 1.07.65 in the Group 3 Gold Coast Guineas. She beat the previous best time by 0.30 seconds, which was set by El Cambio in the 2008 Guineas.

Jockey Corey Brown had something in hand on the line as the filly cruised home buy a length from Whypeeo, with Marble third.

“She’s hard not to love. She’s got a great attitude and a great racing pattern,” Baker said. “The last thing I said to Corey before I legged him up was ‘enjoy’ because I was very confident. We’ve had a bit of a flat run and you need these good horses to put their hand up and that’s what she did.”

Baker has to decide whether Champagne Cuddles runs against her own age group in the Group Three Fred Best Classic (1350m) at Doomben on May 26, but on today’s win she would be right at home in the Group 1 Kingsford-Smith Cup (1350m) the same day.

Bet on the Kingsford Smith Stakes here.

“We’ll have a think about it in the next three weeks but her formlines coming into this race were amazing with a second to Trapeze Artist in the Golden Rose and chasing home Alizee in the Flight Stakes,” he said.

In other winter carnival news Melbourne mare Oregon’s Day has passed her first test at a middle distance with ease, scoring an impressive win in the Group 2 Hollindale Stakes (1800m).

Trainer Mick Price said Oregon’s Day booked herself a place in the Group 1 Doomben Cup (2000m) with the win. Perennial bridesmaid Tom Melbourne finished second and Man Of His Word third.

Improving colt Sesar has emerged as a genuine Group 1 contender during the winter carnival after winning the Group 3 Ken Russell Memorial Classic.

Sesar finished strongly to beat Boomsara and the $2.80 favourite Lean Mean Machine was third.

Trainer Steve O’Dea said Sesar had earned a shot at the Group One JJ Atkins Stakes (1600m) at Doomben on June 9.

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