Last season, Champagne Mile winner Games Without Frontiers came from far off the pace in the mud to win by two and half lengths while putting up a 128.40 in his first start as a four year old. This year’s 8th edition of the GIII Champagne Mile will be run under sunny skies as seventeen four and five year olds parade to the post in search of top honors. A stellar field has been assembled led by defending Champion Games Without Frontiers and includes last season’s EQ.Net Derby second place finisher Grey’s Pal among several other Cup winners and placers. With $150,000 and 40 Credits on the line, let’s take a look at the top contenders in this ultra competitive field;
Grey’s Pal (Omasan Farm) a 4 Year Old by ISLAND Sorrell Pal Chex comes into the Champagne off a career best 129.95 while winning an Allowance affair at 10 furlongs. I expect he’ll be forwardly placed early in an effort to play catch me if you can. He turns back to a mile in this spot but does his best running on an off track so he will be vulnerable late.
Reply GB (RowdyRacing23) is a 5 Year Old that has not won in six weeks but does come into the Champagne off a 3rd place finish in the GI Equination.net Mile while putting up a 128+. His stalking style may serve him well today though but his latest TW’s are going in the wrong direction.
Flying Seven (Flying Seven Farms) is a 4 year old Create with only 11 career starts on his record to date. He has blossomed over the last six weeks having reeled off 3 consecutive wins however all on the mud. He has won on a fast track before in 127+ and given his current form is capable of an upset.
Games Without Frontiers (Rivertown Crossing) now 5 Years Old comes into the Mile as the defending Champion. He’s improved his RR’s now in his last four consecutive races having put up a 128+ in his latest victory in the mud. Unlike last year he finds a fast track today which compromises his chances.
Magical Sunrise (Triple Crown Racing) is an interesting contender. This former top 3 Year Old and winner of the GII Silver Platter Stakes has done his best running on today’s surface. In his last two races he has put up consecutive 130+ runs and has not run slower than 128 in his last five. All indications are he’s primed for a huge run and will be charging. The one caveat is that he’s a closer turning back to a mile however he has done that before with success.
Mustard At War (March Farm) begins his 4 Year Old campaign in a very competitive spot. Coming off a huge effort while posting a 131+ over 9 furlongs he turns back to a mile here and like another contender in here is a closer. Considering the recent leap in his race rating a bounce in his next start is always a concern. However his most recent prep’s indicate that he’s in fine fettle.
Appas Tappas Says ...
1. Magical Sunrise
2. Flying Seven
3. Mustard At War
4. Grey’s Pal
- Former winners read like a Who’s Who of EQ’s older division including GHEERULLA, King’s Theatre GB, URILA, Justa Superstar, Live It Up and ISSEKA.
- History suggests it will take a 128+ RR to come away with Champagne honors as only one previous edition ran slower (Live It Up - 126.50 RR). Given the quality of this year's field we may see the Stakes Record fall.
- AAA Horse Stables has won the Champagne Mile twice previously with GHEERULLA and URILA. The mare Out Day carries the AAA colors in here as they look to hit the trifecta.