Leading Guineas contenders head 92 entries for Champagne Stakes

ivawoodExciting juveniles IvawoodFaydhan and Richard Pankhurst feature among 92 entries (up from 76 in 2013) for this year’s £75,000 Group Two Champagne Stakes, run over seven furlongs on the final day of Doncaster’s Ladbrokes St Leger Festival, Saturday, September 13.

 The trio currently head the market for next year’s Classic, the 2,000 Guineas, following impressive starts to their careers, withIvawood having stormed to a decisive victory in the Group Two July Stakes at Newmarket’s July meeting.

 Faydhan posted a six-length victory on his debut for John Gosden in a Haydock Park maiden on July 3, while his stable companion Richard Pankhurst easily captured the Listed Chesham Stakes at Royal Ascot on his latest appearance.

 Ivawood’s trainer Richard Hannon is responsible for eight entries in all, with Kool Kompany, a Group Two winner in France and Ireland already this season, Group Two Norfolk Stakes hero Baitha Algaand Group Two Superlative Stakes scorer Estidhkaar also among a formidable team from the first-season handler.

A total of 18 entries from Aidan O’Brien include debut maiden winners Gleaneagles and East India, the regally-bred John F Kennedy and recent Group Three Anglesey Stakes scorer Dick Whittington.

 Trainer Karl Burke has made three entries headlined by the once-raced Glenalmond, who is a full-brother to Group One winner Wootton Bassett. The son of Iffraaj was all the rage ahead of his debut in a six-furlong maiden at Ayr on July 21, starting the 11/8 favourite, and duly obliged with a decisive half-length victory.

Burke reported: “We were very pleased with Glenalmond at Ayr. It’s hard to know what he beat but the runner-up had previously finished second in a maiden that is working out well.

“The Acomb Stakes or Gimcrack Stakes at York are definitely possibilities for him now. He has got an entry in the Gimcrack, but I think the owner is keen to step up him up a furlong and we certainly think he will stay.

 “Obviously, if he came through one of those race in good order then the Champagne Stakes will be on the agenda.

 “He has a very nice pedigree, being a full-brother to Wootton Bassett, and is very much one for the future. Wootton Bassett had quite a hard time of it as a two-year-old, but Glenalmond won’t and we think he will train on.”

 The Middleham handler has also entered Group Two Superlative Stakes fourth Natural Order andToocoolforschool, who was third on debut in a six-furlong maiden at Nottingham on July 18.

 “Natural Order ran very well to be fourth in the Superlative Stakes,” added Burke. “He is having a little break at the moment and will be out again at the end of August. We will see how he gets on there, but he would have to improve to go for another Group Two.

 “Toocoolforschool is potentially a very nice horse and possibly goes for a maiden at York this weekend. It’s early days yet but they are all potentially nice colts.”

 Charlie Appleby, successful in the 2013 Champagne Stakes with subsequent Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf scorer Outstrip, has a quartet of contenders including Newmarket winner Zephorus andHawkesbury, who posted a seven-length success in a Doncaster maiden.

 Flaming Spear (Kevin Ryan) made an impressive start to his career with a decisive victory in a York maiden on July 12, while Aktabantay (Hugo Palmer) and William Hill Download The App Brocklesby Conditions Stakes winner Cock Of The North (Scott Dixon) have both run well in Group company this season.

There is a scratchings stage for the Champagne Stakes on Tuesday, August 26 with the five-day confirmation and £7,500 supplementary stage on Monday, September 8.

The Champagne Stakes

£75,000 Total Prize Fund, Group 2. Doncaster, Saturday, September 13, 2014, 7f. For two-year-old colts & geldings. Weights: 9st; Penalties: a winner of a Group 1 or Group 2 race 3lb. Entries closed July 22, entries revealed July 24 (92 entries). Scratchings deadline August 26, five-day confirmation & £7,500 supplementary entry stage September 8, final declarations 10am September 11.