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Ding-dong battle

Fiesta turned the Golden Slipper tables on a brave Estijaab as a couple of Sydney’s best fillies waged a two-horse struggle in the $1 million Inglis Sprint.

Chris Waller and Star Thoroughbreds principal Denise Martin combined with Fiesta to wear down the returning Slipper heroine Estijaab, who was first-up since the world’s richest two-year-old race having undergone a throat operation.

Party time: Fiesta, right, gets the better of Estijaab in the Inglis Sprint.

Party time: Fiesta, right, gets the better of Estijaab in the Inglis Sprint.Credit:AAP

«It was two good fillies,» Waller said. «I’m sure it won’t be the last time they meet and hopefully they give the same spectacle they gave today.»

Fiesta’s rider Glyn Schofield bemoaned a slow tempo in the early stages, but Fiesta pulled out enough to start her campaign with a bang.

«Estijaab did give a kick because it did have a soft time in front,» Schofield said. «She was able to fill her tank. The first and second horses, you can’t take anything away from their past performances or today. This filly was way too strong today and I would presume and hope she would take benefit from today.»

Little beauty: Champagne Cuddles breaks a run of placings with a well-deserved win.

Little beauty: Champagne Cuddles breaks a run of placings with a well-deserved win.Credit:AAP

Champagne performance

Champagne Cuddles crashed through the $1 million prizemoney barrier and notched the biggest win of her career to date after fighting off Cool Passion in the group 2 Breeders Classic at Warwick Farm.Bjorn Baker’s pint-sized mare lived up to her billing as a perennial group 1 placegetter under Blake Shinn, edging out Cool Passion, with Alassio back in third.

«We had a wet track in the spring and I lost her for five or 10 minutes, I think she went into a pothole,» Baker joked of the mare’s daisy-cutting action.

«She’s just a pleasure to train. She’s got the greatest nature, she’s so relaxed and she’s such a lovely mare. She’s a special horse, that’s for sure. She’s worth a lot of money regardless. What she’s done already, she’s been a phenomenal mare. She’s been four-time group 1 placed.»

He’s a gem

Kris Lees will follow a traditional path to the Randwick Guineas after Gem Song waded through the worst part of the track to return a winner in the group 3 Eskimo Prince Stakes.

The Gooree product was forced to duck back to the inside under Jason Collett, scoring from the rank outside Purple Sector with a fresh Charge winding up in third.

«There were a few things probably against him, but I think he will be better suited as he gets out like last preparation,» Lees said. «He’s got plenty more to give. There’s better horses to jump into the pool, but he’s going to meet a few of the better ones with a run under his belt.»

Daylight second: Noble Boy puts a gap into them in the Highway Handicap.

Daylight second: Noble Boy puts a gap into them in the Highway Handicap.Credit:AAP

Boy oh Boy

Jess Taylor will take over on Noble Boy in the Goulburn heat of the Country Championships after the Queanbeyan-trained unbeaten sprinter strengthened his grip on the rich series.

Hugh Bowman didn’t have a moment of concern on Noble Boy as he circled the field to easily win the Highway Handicap. But he won’t be available to ride Todd Blowes  star in the qualifier in three weeks as   it clashes with Winx’s planned Chipping Norton Stakes assignment.

«That will top him off nicely for the Goulburn [heat] in a few weeks,» Blowes said. «Only being 90 per cent fit I didn’t want to see him make a long run like he did at Rosehill.»


McLaren’s L plates

Leading Golden Slipper hope McLaren was spotted in the Warwick Farm tie-up stalls as the third favourite for the world’s richest two-year-old race had an educational day out in Sydney’s south-west.

Last week’s Canonbury Stakes winner, which was a tad unruly in the yard, spent the afternoon soaking up another raceday environment.

«It’s all just part of the process,» co-trainer Paul Snowden said. «It was another chance to bring him out here and get him used to the environment. It wasn’t that he was bad last week, he just wasn’t great in the parade, so this will help him.»

Adam Pengilly is a Sports reporter for The Sydney Morning Herald.




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