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Champagne Cuddles to resume at Flemington

Sydney mare Champagne Cuddles is set to race in Melbourne for the first time when she resumes from a spell in the Listed Kensington Stakes at Flemington.

Champagne Cuddles is set to make her Melbourne debut in the Listed Kensington Stakes at Flemington in what could be a precursor to the quality mare chasing an elusive Group One win at the same track.

Trained by Bjorn Baker in Sydney, four-year-old Champagne Cuddles headlines nine nominations for Saturday's 5 f straight-track sprint with entries extended until Tuesday.

Baker enjoyed a successful day at the Gold Coast on Saturday when stablemates Egyptian Symbol and Redouble both won $1 million races on the Magic Millions program.

Now the trainer is looking forward to multiple Group One placegetter Champagne Cuddles making her first appearance of 2019 and he has booked Melbourne's premier jockey Craig Williams to ride.

"She's in good order and she often runs really well fresh," Baker said.

"I guess 5 f is the shortest distance she has ever raced over and racing down the Flemington straight for the first time, you never know for sure.

"But I couldn't be happier with how she is going. She looks great and she's a class mare on her day."

The only time Champagne Cuddles has raced over 5 f in 14 starts was in her second race as a two-year-old which she won at Randwick on a heavy track.

Champagne Cuddles has trialled at Warwick Farm ahead of her first-up assignment which shapes as a test for bigger targets.

Flemington plays host to two Group One sprints in the next two months, the Lightning Stakes (1000m) in February and Newmarket Handicap (1200m) in March.

Depending how she handles the straight course, Chamapgne Cuddles could contest at least one of those races.

"Possibly," Baker said.

"That's in the back of our mind and we'll just see how she goes on Saturday.

"If she was to run well then we would definitely look at some of them later.

"Possibly a race like the Newmarket. But she's going to have to run well and do everything right."

Champagne Cuddles was placed four times at the elite level during the 2017/18 season in the Golden Rose (2nd), Flight Stakes (2nd), Kingsford-Smith Cup (3rd) and Stradbroke Handicap (3rd).

"She's knocking on the door and she has won just under a million dollars (prize money)," Baker said."

"So it would be nice to break through the million-dollar barrier with her as well."

A win on Saturday would take the mare past the $1 million mark.


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