By Ray Hickson
Tye Angland says he’s in for a tactical challenge on promising filly Champagne Cuddles at Randwick on Saturday but is adamant she can prove herself one of Sydney’s best fillies.
Champagne Cuddles has drawn the outside alley in the seven horse Group 2 $200,000 Furious Stakes (1200m) in her rematch with Formality and Alizee after three fillies hit the line together back on August 19.
Angland said he hasn’t come up with a definitive plan and will discuss tactics with trainer Bjorn Baker but indicated he’s unlikely to ride the filly for speed.
“It is a tricky gate and some of the chances have drawn well, she’s not the sort of horse I feel you can jump and put her in a position,’’ he said.
“I’ll see how she jumps but I’ll probably be in the second half of the field hopefully not too far from them.’’
Champagne Cuddles charges home in the Silver Shadow Stakes
Champagne Cuddles hit a flat spot when the other two fillies sprinted early in the straight in the Silver Shadow before reeling off her last couple of sectionals in 10.52 and 10.73 to get within a neck of the winner.
It was Angland’s first ride on her and came away impressed with the way she closed off the race.
“They went steadily early and just before we got to the corner Kerrin (McEvoy on Formality) cranked up the tempo and she dropped the bit,’’ he said.
"They got away from me a bit quicker than I wanted and she did go through a flat spot but I think that was her trying to build up her revs.
“I thought I was going to run a clear third and then she attacked the line very strongly.
“I think she is one of the better fillies. You always like to see them do it twice, though, against these better horses to get a line on where they are at.’’
Punters will notice a fresher faced Angland, and fellow jockey Brenton Avdulla for that matter, having shaved off the beard he spent the last few months growing to raise money for Bears Of Hope – dubbed Beards Of Hope – which provides support for Pregnancy and Infant Loss.
Between Angland, Avdulla and Tommy Berry the Sydney jockeys raised over $23,000 with the likelihood that they’ll do it again next year.
“I don’t mind a beard, I’m still not used to having it off,’’ Angland said.
— Tye Angland (@tyeangland) August 31, 2017
While all eyes were on Winx in the Warwick Stakes, Angland reported he was pleased with the return of The Metropolitan equal second favourite Antonio Giuseppe in running fifth behind the champ.
The five-year-old was beaten three lengths there and will naturally appreciate the step up to the mile.
“I thought he went well, his run came to an end probably the last 75m,’’ Angland said.
“He was entitled to get a bit tired late and I’m sure Chris (Waller) is training him to peak for his grand final.
“You’ll see a much fitter horse, he feels bigger and stronger this prep and is an up and coming stayer.’’
You have to ask the question – can Antonio Giuseppe do the unthinkable in the Group 2 $250,000 Chelmsford Stakes (1600m)?
“Can we beat Winx? Probably not, being realistic,’’ he said.
Group 1 winning mare Heavens Above makes her spring return in the Group 2 $200,000 Tramway Stakes (1400m) and Angland said he wouldn’t be surprised to see her run a cheeky race.
The mare is yet to win first-up but does have an imposing second-up record including winning the Group 1 Coolmore Classic second-up in the autumn.
“I thought her second trial was great for her,’’ Angland said.
“Her form first-up is not the best, she peaks second, third and fourth-up but I am sure she’s going to run really well. She’s going to land in a good spot and give herself every chance to perform.’’
Tye Angland and Brenton Avdulla shaved off their beards on Thursday
Of his other mounts at Randwick, Angland warned to be forgiving of Super Star Bob for his last start failure at Canterbury.
The four-year-old was originally scheduled to run in a Highway at Randwick on August 5 but had to be scratched so went around four days later.
He has since trialled and pleased Angland, who has a solid opinion of the gelding.
“He’s still a raw horse, he does a handful of things wrong but he has a lot of ability and he is slowly putting it together,’’ he said.
“My concern is that he gets on the bridle a bit so what I have to do is get him to relax straight away. I think he maps well for this race, I’m confident we are going to be right here in the finish.’’