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. 

Smart Missile's fast start to new season

Smart Missile’s plentiful store of talent is making the most of the new season’s early opportunities. He’s already posted six winners of seven races, including Saturday’s two-state double.

The John Thompson-trained Special Missile extended his record to four consecutive wins with a powerhouse performance over 1500 metres at Rosehill. He led the field into the straight and simply out-gunned his rivals to score by 1.5 lengths from Mapmaker and Nat King Cu.

Watch Special Missile win at Rosehill
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Special Missile’s likely next start will be in either the Rowley Mile LR at Hawkesbury on 24 August or the Premier’s Cup LR over 1900m at Rosehill on 26 August. 

The son of Quiet Meadow (by El Prado) was bred by Vinery Stud partner Greg Perry and bought for $180,000 by Bill Mitchell from the Stud’s draft at the 2015 Magic Millions Sale.

Another member of Smart Missile’s second crop Malkara validated trainer Michael Costa’s decision to take the short back-up from last weekend, and seek a second Gold Coast win. He won with even more authority this time and is clearly beginning to fill the promise he showed last year. 

Watch Malkara win at the Gold Coast.

A product of John & Trish Muir’s Milburn Creek Stud, Malkara (ex Midnight Wine by Black Minnaloushe) was a $90,000 Inglis Classic buy for New Breed Racing from Rheinwood Pastoral.

Smart Missile’s other winners in the first fortnight of the 2017/18 Australian season are Bombardier, Liffy and Missile Coda and 3YO Island Missile. As a result, the brilliant son of Fastnet Rock has compiled almost $200,000 prizemoney in the first fortnight of the season.  

Animal Kingdom's first stakes performer

First season sire Animal Kingdom posted his first stakes performer when 2YO Lord Cecil finished strongly for third in Saturday’s Gold Coast TC Ken Russell Memorial Classic 1200m G3.

Lord Cecil’s late surge took him within a length of the winner Taking Aim and runner-up Dissolution (by Snitzel), and under-lined the promise of his debut win at Muswellbrook on 21 April. Trained by Paul Messara for Arrowfield, Lord Cecil is nominated for the J.J. Atkins G1 on 10 June over what should be a very suitable 1600 metres.

The gelding was bred by Arrowfield in partnership with Klawervlei Stud and is a half-brother to the very good juvenile Time For War (by Snitzel). Their dam Lady Zabelia (by Zabeel), from the family of champion Might and Power, has a yearling filly by Snitzel bought for $170,000 by Darby Racing & De Burgh Equine at the Magic Millions Sale and a weanling colt, also by Snitzel. Lady Zabelia is in foal to Olympic Glory.

Animal Kingdom, whose second-crop yearlings have sold up to $340,000 in 2017, has three Australian winners (Earth Angel, Platinum & Lord Cecil) and six placegetters from 13 first-crop runners.

Right as Rain at Gold Coast & Moonee Valley

A new stakes performer and an easy city winner gave progressive young sire Manhattan Rain a mid-winter boost on Saturday.

At Moonee Valley in Melbourne 3YO filly Wild Rain scored an easy win over 1000 metres after settling in the trail behind the early leaders. Taken wide around the turn by jockey Glen Boss, she sped home to score by 2.5 lengths from Pilly’s Wish and It’s Poets Day.

It was the chestnut filly’s third city success and fourth win from 10 starts for trainer Mark Kavanagh who said she would be aimed at the popular series of 955-metre sprints held at Moonee Valley during the summer. “She’s a great little horse and we’ll just keep her going.”

Bred by the partnership of Arrowfield & Planette Thoroughbred, Wild Rain is from North Flower (by Rory’s Jester), herself a 2YO winner at Morphettville and a half-sister to Group winners North Boy and Northern Song, and to the dam of 2003 Horse of the Year Northerly.

North Flower has also left the stakes-placed city winner Flowerchild to Redoute’s Choice, and has an unraced 2YO filly by Starcraft named Tahlia Star and a weanling filly by Animal Kingdom.

Wild Rain was a $150,000 Kavanagh buy from Arrowfield at the 2013 Magic Millions Gold Coast Sale and is raced by Isobel & Levi Kavanagh, Brett Griffith & Tim Storey of Collins St Partners, Wade McKibben, Stan & Anna Hunt and Gary & Rhonda Ma.

A little earlier in the day Manhattan Rain’s 3YO son Right or Wrong continued his progress in good company with a hard-fought second in the $125,000 Qld Tatt’s RC Daybreak Lover S. 1800m LR.

It was the gelding’s first try beyond the 1600 metres of his second win at Ipswich last month, and only New Zealand filly No Tricks denied him a stakes victory, by a long neck. 

Bred by Steve Tregea’s Windemere Stud in Queensland, Right or Wrong is the third winner out of the Flying Spur mare Impulsive Lass, herself a city-winning half-sister to Blue Diamond G1 winner Reward For Effort, multiple stakeswinner Consular and Bahia, the dam of Overreach (Golden Slipper G1). 

Group 2 winner Moonovermanhattan (also from a Flying Spur mare) heads Manhattan Rain’s record of four stakeswinners and four other stakes performers among 33 worldwide first-crop winners.

Third by winners on the Australian 2nd Season Sires’ list, the half-brother to Redoute’s Choice has amassed 2014/15 earnings of more than $1.7 million. He has also achieved career-high yearling prices of $700,000 for the La Bamba colt and $360,000 for the Gibraltar Campion filly, both purchased from April’s Inglis Easter Sale.

Snitzel's fourth Ken Russell Classic winner

Snitzel’s 31st stakeswinner and 16th juvenile stakeswinner is also his fourth winner of the $125,000 GCTC Ken Russell Memorial Classic G3 in the past five years.

Surprise $61 winner Big Tree joined Hot Snitzel (2011 winner), Sizzling (2012) & Le Val (2013) on the race’s honour roll with a defiant neck defeat of Blueberry Hill. The favourite Regatta Rebel (by Redoute’s Choice) boxed on well to finish a half-neck away third, her second Group 3 placing in as many starts.

Big Tree, as strapping and solid as his name implies, was having only his second start for his Gold Coast owner, breeder & trainer Peter Balzen,  co-owner and breeder Tom Ware and owners R.J. Mckay & M.W. Buggy.

The 2YO colt is the fourth foal of the Octagonal mare Croft, a city-winning relative of Group 1 winners Benfica, Neroli and the top-class filly Riverina Charm who won the VATC 1000 Guineas, Rosehill  & Canterbury Guineas during the 1988/89 season.

Croft’s 2013 filly by Snitzel was purchased for $150,000 from the Newgate Farm draft by Wylie Dalziel Racing & Peter Moody at this year’s Magic Millions Gold Coast Sale.

Big Tree is the third juvenile stakeswinner this season for Snitzel, after Fireworks (ATC Widden S. G3) and Group 1-placed stakeswinner Odyssey Moon.