Trainer John Sargent remains quietly confident in the chances of his progressive filly Gin Martini who looks suited to the step-up to a mile as she chases her maiden victory in the Champagne Stakes 2021.

Converge Horse Form (Photo: Steve Hart) | HorseRacing.com.au

Converge is one of the best fancied two-year-olds in Saturday’s 2021 Champagne Stakes field. Photo: Steve Hart.

The final two elite level races of the autumn in Sydney take place at Royal Randwick on Saturday including a field of 14 two-year-olds in the Group 1 $500,000 Moet & Chandon Champagne Stakes (1600m).

Last year’s event was taken out by the Peter & Paul Snowden-trained Inglis’ Sires champion King’s Legacy (2020), but this season’s race looks a far more open affair with the winner of that key lead-up Anamoe sent to the paddock instead of chasing the double.

One of the double-figure fancies with genuine claims at an upset paying $11 in the current Champagne Stakes betting markets at Ladbrokes.com.au is Sargent’s Rip Van Winkle filly Gin Martini.

Drawn in barrier eight with Brenton Avdulla in the saddle, the up-and-coming chestnut has her fourth career start and is out to break her maiden status in the set weights feature.

She was last seen making her Group race debut when running out of her skin to come from last to third to Saif in the Group 3 Schweppervescence over 1400m at Rosehill on April 3.

The filly was brave at big odds that day only three lengths beaten after doing plenty of work from the outside alley (13 of 13).

The form out of that race was franked at Randwick last Saturday when the third-placed Converge backed-up to win his way into the Champagne Stakes field via the Listed Fernhill Handicap (1600m).

The Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott-trained Fernhill winner is at $6 in the Champagne Stakes odds at Ladbrokes.com.au, while Gin Martini shapes up as potential value at $11.

“I bought her for the Oaks in New Zealand and what she’s done now is a bonus,” Sargent told the media speaking of Gin Martini this week.

“But obviously it’s a Group 1 race and the black type will be worth a lot for her in breeding down the line. She’ll go into the race with a good chance, I think.

“It should be just nice for her now, out to a mile. She should be spot on.

“Brenton Avdulla galloped her on Tuesday morning over 1200 metres. She’ll go in (to the Champagne Stakes) a very fit horse on Saturday and be right at her peak.

“She’ll be at her peak next season. She’s still immature, but she’s shown she has the ability to mix it with the better two-year-olds and I think you’ll see that on Saturday.”

Favourite in the Champagne Stakes markets jumping from barrier four with Tommy Berry aboard is the Hawkes Racing-trained Hilal who came from last on the home turn to run second to Anamoe in the Group 1 Inglis Sires’ (1400m) a fortnight back.

The other best in betting for last year’s winning Snowden stable is the Inglis Sires’ third-placed Captivant drawn the inside alley in the Group 1 with James McDonald to ride the Capitalist colt.

The 2021 Champagne Stakes is scheduled to run as Randwick Race 6 at 2:55pm (AEST) on Saturday’s nine-race program.

About The Author

Lucy Henderson

Lucy is an experienced horse racing journalist that has been a crucial member of the horseracing.com.au team for the better part of a decade. She has taken great delight in covering champion mares Black Caviar and Winx throughout their careers and always has a soft spot for a winning filly.