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Tactics Key To Champagne Result For Collett

By Ray Hickson

Jockey Jason Collett says it’s important to get the tactics right on iron filly Champagne Cuddles at Randwick on Saturday.

Champagne Cuddles will be backing up for the third week on end in the Group 1 $500,000 Flight Stakes (1600m) and Collett has the outside in the 11 horse field to contend with.

The filly reacted to being ridden cold in the Golden Rose last week, running the fastest last 600m of the race (34.76) into second behind Trapeze Artist, and Collett’s instinct is to not change anything.

“My first thoughts are the barrier probably does mean that, if you go off her last run,’’ he said.

“We’ll look at the form and dissect it a bit more to make sure that’s the best option.’’

Champagne Cuddles runs second in the Golden Rose - September 23

The Bjorn Baker-trained filly has been consistently breaking the clock this preparation with late surges - aside from her second in the Tea Rose when she was a sitting shot for Flight Stakes favourite Alizee.

Collett didn’t ride her on that occasion but said there were significant excuses for her defeat in that race.

“I wonder how much shifting that plate behind the barrier had on her that day,’’ he said.

“I don’t like it when a horse has to be redone before the start, especially when they sweat up like she did. It can’t be good for them.

“Besides that performance, every run this prep she’s run home in great sectionals and just been unlucky due to her field position.’’

Nobody would begrudge Champagne Cuddles a win this preparation, especially in a Group 1, and the same could be said for Collett at the top level.

He said the logical question mark is the three tough runs in a row but aside from that couldn’t have more confidence in the filly’s ability.

“Her constitution is good so she has that in her favour and if anything it will help her come through the run,’’ he said.

“You could say she’s backed up before and it’s worked but it’s three weeks in a row.’’

Collett is keen to continue his winning association with front-runner Embley in the Group 2 $500,000 Hill Stakes (1800m).

Embley, whose dam Dashing Eagle dead heated in the 1996 Flight Stakes at this meeting, scored easily over a mile on September 16.

“I think he’s building confidence doing what he does and the 1800m will be no worries,’’ Collett said.

“It looks a really good race for him. We don’t have to lead but it’s worked the last two starts.’’

The in-form jockey is also expecting a solid debut from two-year-old filly Greyt Love in the Listed $150,000 Gimcrack Stakes (1000m).

Check out the fields, form and replays for Royal Randwick on Saturday

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