Champagne flows as Cuddles cracks the million

4 min read

By Bren O'Brien

Trainer Bjorn Baker paid tribute to his star mare Champagne Cuddles (Not A Single Doubt), after she broke through the $1 million mark with her win in Saturday's G2 Yarraman Park Breeders' Classic at Warwick Farm.

It was a special day for Baker on his home track, with Champagne Cuddles success part of a double on the day with another of Not A Single Doubt's progeny, Samadoubt, also showing his toughness with an all-the-way win in the Bowness Stud Mile.

Four-times place at Group 1 level, Champagne Cuddles' only previous stakes-win was in last year's G3 Gold Coast Guineas, but she was rewarded for her wonderful consistency with her career-best success on Saturday.

"It was great to watch. She's been a very special filly." - Bjorn Baker

"It was great to watch. She's been a very special filly. She's not the biggest but she is all heart and she tried her hardest," Baker told Sky Sports Radio.

Remarkably, Champagne Cuddles has only finished outside the first three in two of her 16 starts - both of them at Group 1 level.

Passed in short of her $200,000 reserve at the 2016 Magic Millions Gold Coast Sale, the Turangga Farm-bred Champagne Cuddles is leased by Champagne Ladies syndicate, which includes members of the Ramsey family.

She becomes the fifth horse Baker has trained to win more than $1m in prizemoney.

Baker described Saturday's narrow win over Cool Passion (Not A Single Doubt) as a special moment, and richly deserved for the four-year-old.

Champagne Cuddles

"If you knew her, she's an absolute pleasure to train. These sort of horses as a trainer, they make you look good. You don’t have to change anything, and she's just a really good mare," he said.

"These sort of horses as a trainer, they make you look good." - Bjorn Baker

Champagne Cuddles is the second last foal from Group 1 winner Sky Cuddle (Al Hareb), who has had three foals to race, all of them winners, including the city-winning full-brother Skytrek, while there is a younger, as yet unraced, 3-year-old full brother called Undoubted.

Sky Cuddle's first foal, Shantha's Girl (Redoute's Choice), has produced the stakes-winner Violate (Sebring).

All smiles for Bjorn Baker

Warhorse delivers from wire to wire

A winner of seven of his 31 starts, Samadoubt was a $40,000 Classic Sale buy who has now won over $370,000 for his owners at Darby Racing thanks to his latest success on Saturday,

"It’s funny how things go. He ran in the Breeders' Plate as a 2-year-old and he's still going now," Baker said.

"In that time, he's been up and down, but those are the sort of horses as a trainer, you really can't afford to underestimate. He's backed up every second Saturday for the last year and half. He's been really tough, he was super yesterday. There's nothing like a front runner letting it roll."

A day out at the Farm

It was a terrific day for Warwick Farm-based trainers on the inaugural Inglis Millennium raceday.

Baker's dual success was matched by fellow resident James Cummings, while young Warwick Farm trainer Richard Litt took out the $2m Inglis Millenium with Castelvecchio (Dundeel {NZ}).

"Warwick Farm has become the centre of the universe," Baker said.

"Warwick Farm has become the centre of the universe." - Bjorn Baker

"I’m biased of course, because it’s my home track and I've got to build the place up, but I like the track. I've had a lot of luck there."

Having had such a successful day with the progeny of Arrowfield's Not A Single Doubt, Baker then purchased an I Am Invincible filly out of that stallion's immediate family for $155,000 at Saturday night's opening session of the Inglis Classic Sale.

That filly's dam, Crystal Rock (Fastnet Rock) is out of Not A Single Doubt's half-sister Natural Is My Name (Naturalism {NZ}).

"Sales are an important time as a trainer," Baker said. "You have to re-arm and re-stock and you can't train empty boxes."