Champagne Cuddles ridden by Jason Collett.
Champagne Cuddles ridden by Jason Collett.

Stradbroke on radar for Champagne Cuddles

BJORN Baker says "everything is on the table" this winter for Champagne Cuddles, who he expects to go close when she resumes in Saturday's Group 3 Gold Coast Guineas.

It sets up a tantalising clash with local flyer Whypeeo, with Ladbrokes marking the pair $3 and $2.90 respectively in opening markets on Wednesday.

Champagne Cuddles, a daughter of Not A Single Doubt, won her first two starts before placing in five consecutive Group races last spring, including seconds to Trapeze Artist in the Golden Rose and the same spot behind Alizee in the Flight Stakes at Group 1 level.

Baker is bubbling with confidence about Champagne Cuddles' return and said the injury incurred last spring that kept her out of the autumn may prove to be a blessing in disguise.

"Unfortunately she had a fetlock chip at the end of the spring and we had to give her a bit of time, but they were tough races over the autumn and she looks great now," he said.

"She's hard not to like (on Saturday). She has a great constitution, she's so relaxed and her last trial was really good. Drawn one, she should get a gun run."

If Champagne Cuddles lives up to expectations at the Gold Coast, Baker has his eyes on Queensland's biggest prizes.

"I wouldn't rule out anything at this stage," he said.

"We've got the Tatts Tiara at the end, but if she can qualify for the Stradbroke, I'd love to have a crack if she's going well.

Bjorn Baker could target the Stradbroke with Champagne Cuddles. Picture: Getty Images
Bjorn Baker could target the Stradbroke with Champagne Cuddles. Picture: Getty Images

"The Fred Best (on May 26) is a ballot-free race, but the other race that day is the Kingsford Smith, which I wouldn't rule out either.

"The form around her from the spring couldn't have been any better, highlighted by Trapeze Artist and Alizee. She's yet to win a Group race but I'd like to think we will get it under way on Saturday or at least go close."

Baker also has Test The World in Saturday's Silk Stocking and he gives her a good chance of turning the tables on her first-up conqueror Anatola.

"Last start they broke the track record. She only got out and made ground late," he said.

"Anatola is obviously a very good mare but I couldn't be happier with mine. She's got a good gate and she meets the other horse a touch better at the weights this time.

"She's super consistent and I've always thought she's up to stakes class. She gets her chance on Saturday."

Baker said Test The World and Champagne Cuddles had been stabled together for the past three weeks and the pair travelled up together on the float overnight.