Champagne Stakes Preview – Saturday 15th September
Last updated: September 13, 2018 by Leon Marshal
There is a top class supporting card to the St Leger at Doncaster on Saturday, including the Group 2 Champagne Stakes at 3.00.
This is one of the top seven furlong juvenile races of the season and can provide clues to the following year’s Classic races. Derby winner Grundy (1974) and 2000 Guineas winners Wollow (1975), Don’t Forget Me (1986) and Rodrigo De Triano (1991) were all successful in this race. Other notable winners include Gorytus (1982), Warning (1987), Alhaarth (1995) and Toronado (2012). Seahenge won the race last year for Aidan and Donnacha O’Brien.
Too Darn Hot odds-on for Champagne glory
Very few will want to oppose Too Darn Hot after his recent four lengths victory in the Group 3 Solario Stakes at Sandown. The beautifully bred son of Dubawi had looked a potential star when winning by seven lengths on his debut at the same course last month. John Gosden pitted him against proven Group class performers next time but he treated them with disdain, drawing clear to beat Arthur Kitt by four lengths.
Too Darn Hot raced over a mile on his debut but had no problems dropping back to seven furlongs. He still showed signs of inexperience in the early stages but quickened in the style of a high class performer. He is already at the head of the market for the 2000 Guineas and the Derby next year.
It was almost the same distance back to third placed Confiding with Dunkerron trailing in a remote last. That casts a shadow over the form of the Group 2 Vintage Stakes at Goodwood won by Dark Vision. Mark Johnston’s colt came from last to first to beat Dunkerron and Confiding and he carries a 3lbs penalty at Doncaster. His impressive victory convinced Godolphin to purchase the Dream Ahead colt who will race in the famous all blue silks for the first time on Saturday.
Phoenix Of Spain chasing hat-trick
Charles Hills is represented by Phoenix Of Spain, a grey colt by Lope De Vega. He confirmed the promise of his debut fourth at Sandown when winning comfortably on the all-weather at Wolverhampton. He then stepped up in class to beat Watan by a length and a half in the Group 3 Acomb Stakes at York. That did not look a particularly strong renewal but he was well on top at the finish. James Doyle takes over the reins from Jamie Spencer on Saturday.
Aidan O’Brien is doubly represented with Van Beethoven and Cardini. The former won the Group 2 Railway Stakes at the Curragh in June. He then ran poorly at Newmarket in the July Stakes and was over five lengths behind Dark Vision at Goodwood. Cardini also looks fully exposed, getting off the mark at the sixth attempt at the end of last month. He finished fifth in the Listed Chesham Stakes at Royal Ascot and this looks a much tougher contest.
With only six runners, tactics will be interesting here. Too Darn Hot is likely to be prominent with Dark Vision stalking him under Silvestre de Sousa. The way that Too Darn Hot dismissed his rivals in the Solario Stakes suggests that he is an exceptional colt.
Too Darn Hot @1-2 bet365
The Champagne Stakes is due off at 3.00 at Doncaster on Saturday 15th September and will be televised live on ITV.