Champagne Stakes Tips - the Secret is out – Cummings filly has some talent

  • Favourite might find 1600m on wet track a stretch.
  • Cummings following similar path to last year.
  • Confidence rating: 85%
Prized Icon is the most recent winner of the Champagne Stakes

Although the Sires’ Produce is historically the best guide to finding the Champagne Stakes (1600m) winner, a filly with different form lines is the one to beat.

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Having tipped Invader in the Sires’ – and being impressed with his convincing win - I’m steering clear of him this time for a couple of reasons.

Firstly, co-trained Peter Snowden rated him most likely of the stable’s pair (which included Gunnison before he was scratched) to be better suited when stepping up to 1400m. 

I think that was his grand final, and on breeding, 1600m would be his absolute limit. His sire, Snitzel, predominantly throws sprinters, while his dam, Flame Of Sydney, won up to 1400m and did finish runner-up in the Sandown Guineas (1600m) on a Good 3.

Running 1600m on rain-affected ground is whole different game so I’m inclined to steer clear of the favourite.

Esthiraak is another that I tipped last start when he won the Mornington Sires’ (1500m), but I’d be surprised if this wasn’t an afterthought, and from barrier 7 of 10, he’ll have to work forward and will be a sitting duck down the long Randwick straight as opposed to the short Mornington straight.

A few others appeal too, but none look as impressive, or appear to have been set for the race like the James Cumming-trained Whispered Secret is.

The daughter of High Chaparral came to attention with a 1350m maiden win at Newcastle at her second run this campaign, and then looked most impressive taking out the Fernhill Handicap (1600m) last start on a Heavy 8 at Randwick.

She was forced to face the breeze out three wide for the entire trip, and while she should have weakened to finish with the also-rans, she finished the race off powerfully to claim victory. 

The Fernhill was run in 1:41.45 with the last 600m in 36.34, while Foxplay defeated the older horses in the Coolmore Legacy Stakes (1600m) in a time of 1:39.65 with the last 600m in 37.02.

They simply went slower in the early stages of the Fernhill, which in turn aided those up on the speed, but with a more genuine tempo in Saturday’s race, Whispered Secret will be able to slot in around midfield and should be better suited swooping like she did in her Newcastle victory.

Cummings won this race last year with Prized Icon who also won the Fernhill before claiming the Champagne Stakes.

This filly hasn’t been worked as hard as Prized Icon was, and with only three runs under her belt this time, she should be open to more improvement and can handle the seven-day back-up.




2019 Champagne Stakes

DateSaturday, April 20, 2018
TrackRoyal Randwick
Distance1600m
ClassGroup 1
Race TypeSet weights
Prizemoney$500,000
Age2YO


Champagne Stakes Facts:

Held alongside the All Aged Stakes (1400m), the Champagne Stakes is a set-weights race for two-year-olds and run on the final day of the Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival. 

Exeter, who was trained by Etienne de Mestre, won the inaugural Champagne Stakes in 1861 when the race was run over five furlongs (1000m).

Although the race has endured eight distance changes throughout its history, it was traditionally run as a sprint race until the inception of the Golden Slipper in 1957 caused a clash between the two feature sprint races.

In 1972 the race distance was raised to its current 1600m and became part of the two-year-old Triple Crown which includes the Golden Slipper Stakes (1200m), Sires’ Produce Stakes (1400m) and Champagne Stakes.

Six two-year-olds have claimed the two-year-old Triple Crown. They are Baguette (1970), Luskin Star (1977), Tierce (1991), Burst (1992), Dance Hero (2004) and Pierro (2012).

With $500,000 in prizemoney the Champagne Stakes is a natural progression for Golden Slipper and Sires’ Produce runners that can run a mile or further.

The Group 1 Sires’ Produce Stakes (1400m) held at Royal Randwick Racecourse two weeks earlier is the most reliable guide to the Champagne Stakes, with 25 of the last 33 winners coming through the Sires.

Of those 25 winners, 11 of them claimed victory in their respective Sires’ Produce Stakes events whilst another nine had been minor placegetters.

Some of Australia’s most talented horses have won the premier set-weights event with the most recent being Prized Icon in 2016 for trainer James Cummings.

Winners of the Champagne Stakes have generally run their grand final for the season but in the spring, possible targets are the Caulfield and Thousand Guineas, or for the more adventurous trainer with a good horse, the Cox Plate.

Notable winners of the Champagne Stakes include Robinson Crusoe (1876), Chester (1877), Heroic (1924), Ajax (1937), Flight (1943), Todman (1957), Noholme (1959), Sky High (1960), Storm Queen (1966), Vain (1969), Baguette (1970), Luskin Star (1977), Rose Of Kingston (1981), Red Anchor (1984), Tierce (1991), Burst (1992), Dance Hero (2004), Samantha Miss (2008), Helmet (2011) and Pierro (2012).



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Champagne Stakes Tips - the Secret is out – Cummings filly has some talent

Although the Sires’ Produce is historically the best guide to finding the Champagne Stakes (1600m) winner, a filly with different form lines is the one to beat.

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