Baker rolls dice with Champagne Cuddles in Stradbroke bid
AFTER mulling over the decision for 2½ weeks, Bjorn Baker eventually decided that two bites of the cherry is better than one and that's the reason Champagne Cuddles is among the acceptors for Saturday's Group 1 Kingsford-Smith Cup.
Baker had stated the Fred Best Classic was the more likely run for Champagne Cuddles, who set a track record in winning the Gold Coast Guineas first-up earlier this month.
The Best winner gets a ticket in the Stradbroke, but Baker felt with numbers dwindling in the Kingsford-Smith, it was worth rolling the dice.
"The Stradbroke will be a big field and she might draw out, so it's not easy," he said.
"I guess I don't want to put all the eggs in one basket so we decided to have a crack at this while it's there. It's not an easy race but you have to be in it to win it."
Champagne Cuddles will go into the weekend sitting at about 30 in the order of entry for the Stradbroke and in recent years at the same time, that has always been high enough to secure a Stradbroke run.
But Baker is keen to either win or run well to boost her rating, just to make sure she does make the Stradbroke cut.
"She is genuine Group 1 class for sure and she's in great order. She's done exceptionally well since the first-up win," he said.
"The gate's not ideal (she will jump from nine of 10 runners), but we will just see how the day plays before deciding on tactics. Corey (Brown) is a big-time rider and he's got a good feel of her now, so we will trust him with getting it right."
Now Champagne Cuddles is in the mix, it shapes as a tremendous betting race, with the Doomben 10,000 trifecta of English, Impending and Le Romain all back for a return stoush.
James Cummings said Impending had "tightened up nicely" since the 10,000.
"I think the extra 150m will allow the horse to travel into the race more strongly," Cummings said. "He's really set up for a big run this time.
"He galloped on the course proper at Doomben on Tuesday morning. He hit the line well but was still very well held together in the style of a horse who's in the best form of his career."