"She'll win by 100 yards": Breeder's faith in Stradbroke favourite

Champagne Cuddles didn’t draw a bid in the sales, not one, and breeder Stuart Ramsey wasn’t going to drop his price.

She was out of his group 1 winner Sky Cuddle, and Ramsey  liked her.

Heady stuff: Champagne Cuddles is the favourite for the Stradbroke Handicap.

Heady stuff: Champagne Cuddles is the favourite for the Stradbroke Handicap.

“I had $200,000 on her and didn’t get a bid, so I took her home and gave her to the girls to race,” Ramsey said. “I thought she was a nice filly – no one else did.”

After nine starts, Ramsey has been proven right. Champagne Cuddles is more than nice, she is a money spinner that has never missed a place, and goes into the group 1 Stradbroke Handicap at Doomben on Saturday as favourite.

Ramsey's daughters and wife, Trish, share in the ownership with his mother Alva and his aunty Oriel Hooton. He takes great pride in that.

“My aunt did a lot for me when I was boy and it took me more than 50 years  to give her something back, and it is this filly,” Ramsey said. “She has had nine bets in her life and collected every time, because she backs Champagne Cuddles each-way.

“They are having a great time, and it is good to see.”

Champagne Cuddles has won three times and raced at group 1 level three times, being the runner-up to Trapeze Artist in the Golden Rose then second to Alizee in the Flight Stakes in the spring before being third to Impending in the Kingsford-Smith Stakes at her last start.

However, this is this race that Ramsey told trainer Bjorn Baker   he wanted Champagne Cuddles to win.

“I told him I thought she could win the Stradbroke  six months ago,” Ramsey said. “I told him if she gets it right she’d win by 100 yards.

“She has come back and did actually what I thought she would, other than the other day when she was a bit soft, and the girls are very excited.

"I still think she'll win by 100 yards.”

Bjorn Baker has been happy with Champagne Cuddles’ record-breaking win in the Gold Coast Guineas and her game third in the Kingsford-Smith Cup, which has earned her the $4.20 favouritism with Ladbrokes.

“She has done everything right since getting up here, and she has kept improving,” Baker said. “She gets in with 50 kilos, but it is never easy taking on the older horses as a three-year-old.”

Champagne Cuddles’ preparation continued to go in the right direction at the barrier draw when she drew barrier one, and a soft track holds no fear.

“You never want to give away barrier one and  she can put herself in the race if she has too, but I’ll leave that to Corey Brown because he knows her so well," Baker said.

“I think she is going into the race at her top and it is going to take a good one to beat her.”

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