Champagne Cuddles sets Gold Coast track record

Every so often a horse comes along that earns widespread affection for consistent effort unrewarded by victory.

Not A Single Doubt’s 3YO daughter Champagne Cuddles is a great example. 

Her career started well, in fact even better than it seemed at the time, with a debut win as a 2YO, defeating subsequent Derby winner Ace High at Rosehill in October 2016.

She returned to score again at Randwick last June and looked set for a successful Spring after trials where she kept pace with Trapeze Artist, Dixie Blossoms and Russian Revolution. 

And indeed she did have a successful Spring, never out of the frame in five Group races, the Golden Rose and the Flight among them, earning $375,000 and winning hearts, if not black type.

There was plenty for breeder & part-owner Stuart Ramsey and trainer Bjorn Baker to look forward to in the Autumn. The only problem was that Champagne Cuddles missed the Sydney Autumn Carnival because of bone-chip surgery.

The filly quickly – very quickly – put everything right in Saturday’s $125,000 Gold Coast Guineas 1200m G3. She showed all of her trademark determination to challenge the high-rolling leader Whypeeo, and then sprinted past him, setting a new track record of 1:07.65 in the process.

Watch Champagne Cuddles win the Gold Coast Guineas G3.

As Bjorn Baker said, “She’s hard not to love. She’s got a great attitude and a great racing pattern.”

Champagne Cuddles is the third winner produced by Sky Cuddle, whose five wins included the 2004 VRC Emirates S. G1. The filly’s pedigree features a 3×3 double-up of Easy Date, through Not A Single Doubt’s dam Singles Bar and Sky Cuddle’s sire Snippets. 

Sadly, Sky Cuddle died in January 2016, a few months after foaling a Not A Single Doubt colt later bought by Singapore trainer Stephen Gray for $70,000 at the 2017 Magic Millions National Sale.

Champagne Cuddles is Not A Single Doubt’s 56th lifetime stakeswinner, and his 15th this season, a figure that equals his career-best tally of 2016/17. 

These are statistics the filly will have a chance to increase again, with the Kingsford-Smith Cup G1 and the Fred Best Classic G3 at Doomben on 26 May both being considered for her. 

Snitzel plucks the Golden Rose

In its brief eight-year history as a Group 1 Sydney 3YO feature the Golden Rose had eluded Arrowfield’s stallions. 

But that all changed on Saturday when Trapeze Artist led home Champagne Cuddles and Menari to land a sensational Golden Rose trifecta for Snitzel and Not A Single Doubt. 

Watch Trapeze Artist win the ATC Golden Rose S. G1.

The $1 million race over 1400 metres was a triumph for “Mr. Snitzel”, Gerald Ryan, trainer of both the favourite Menari and Trapeze Artist, who slipped off the punters’ radar and started at 40/1. A Group 3 winner and Group 1-placed at two, Trapeze Artist left no doubt about his class when he overcame barrier 14 and a four-wide run to romp home by 4.3 lengths. 

The Bjorn Baker-trained Champagne Cuddles earned her own round of applause when she sprinted out of the pack to nab second from the valiant Menari. It was the fourth Group placing this season for the tough and talented Not A Single Doubt filly, who backed up after a similar late-dash run for second in last week’s Tea Rose S. G2.

Ryan has now trained 13 stakeswinners by Snitzel, they have won 31 Group & Listed races, and the Golden Rose is his second Group 1 victory with Snitzel’s tribe, after Snitzerland’s 2014 VRC Lightning S. G1 success.

Trapeze Artist is Snitzel’s 12th individual Group 1 winner and the result was the second Arrowfield-sired Group race trifecta in a fortnight, after the ATC Run to the Rose G2 won by Menari from Pariah (by Redoute’s Choice) and Perast (also by Snitzel).

Trapeze Artist is raced by the Vieira family headed by Bert Viera who paid $190,000 for the Domesday mare Treppes in foal to Snitzel from Edinburgh Park at the 2014 Magic Millions National Broodmare Sale. Two years later, the yearling Trapeze Artist was passed in for $300,000 at the Inglis Easter Sale – a disappointment that was well and truly forgotten as Bert Vieira celebrated his first Group 1 success after several years of substantial investment. 

Treppes is a non-winning member of a distinguished family that includes the Woodlands Stud graduates Crawl, Marching & Gait, and descends from 1971 Golden Slipper winner Fairy Walk. Go back another four generations and there’s Raphis, one of the several full sisters to Phar Lap that have extended his family’s influence into the 21st century. 

Less than two months after winning his first General Sires’ title, Snitzel is once again leading every Premiership category with $3.1 million prizemoney, 40 winners, 50 wins, 9 stakeswinners and 11 stakes wins. Eight other stallions have broken through the $1 million mark, including Not A Single Doubt, who holds down sixth spot with just over $1.2 million.