An exciting day of horse racing takes place at Doncaster on Saturday September 11. It’s not all about the St Leger though, there’s also the Group 2 Champagne Stakes. Due off at 2.20 UK time, this is a race for two-year-olds over a distance of seven furlongs and six yards with a first prize of £71,336. The forecast ground for this race is Good to Firm.
This race goes all the way back to 1823 and for the past two years, the winner has been trained by Richard Hannon. Last year it was Chindit who was the winner and in 2021, Hannon has a good chance of making it a hat-trick of Champagne Stakes victories.
Hannon doesn’t have the favourite for this race though. Currently at odds of 4/6 is the hat-trick chasing Reach For The Moon, trained by John and Thady Gosden and ridden by Frankie Dettori. This is likely to be the third race in a row that Reach For The Moon has gone off odds-on, reports horsesandcourses.net
This runner came second in Class 5 on debut but was then moved up to a Listed race at Royal Ascot. Reach For The Moon finished second behind by Point Lonsdale who has never been beaten and since that race won in Group 2 and Group 3.
At Newbury in mid-July, this runner got off the mark at the third attempt, easily winning a Class 4 race. A big step up was then taken but it paid off. Reach For The Moon won the Group 3 Solario Stakes at Sandown on August 21. The winning margin was four lengths but could have been more as the winner was eased down in the final furlong. With a performance like that, it’s no surprise that the Daily Mail believes another win is on the cards at Doncaster this weekend.
One contender looking to stop that happening is Lusail. This is the runner that Richard Hannon hopes will give him a third successive Champagne Stakes win. Lusail is bidding to win a fourth successive race after two victories at Newmarket and a recent one at York.
July saw Lusail win the Group 2 Tattersalls July Stakes at Newmarket. That was followed another Group 2 win at York last month. Both those wins were over six furlongs, but Lusail has won over seven and also on Good to Firm ground. Current odds by William Hill for this runner are 4/1. The horse racing platform is also offering some bonuses to all new accounts.
Another leading horse contender is Native Trail. This runner is trained by Charlie Appelby and is unbeaten after two races. Native Trail made his debut in June and won going away at Sandown in a Class 4 race. That was followed by success in the Group 2 Superlative Stakes at racecourse Newmarket in July, getting up to beat Masekela by a short head over seven furlongs. More improvement is likely, but will it be enough to beat Reach For The Moon?
Masakela has won a Listed race at Newmarket since being beaten by Native Trail. It may well be close again with the Charlie Appelby runner in this race. At odds of 13/2, an each-way bet on this runner may produce a good return in what should be an entertaining renewal of the Champagne Stakes.