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Champagne Stakes - 13th September, 2014

Richard Hannon's Estidhkaar was a mightily-impressive four-and-a-half lengths winner of the Superlative Stakes at Newmarket in July and the exciting juvenile will look to enhance his 2000 Guineas claims for next season by landing victory in the Champagne Stakes at Doncaster on Saturday.

One of the highlights on the Ladbrokes St Leger card, this race has often thrown up a Classic contender and the manner in which Hannon's two-year-old eased clear of subsequent Solario Stakes winner Aktabantay in that Group 2 suggest there could be a lot more to come and he will set the standard in a fascinating renewal.

Roger Varian's Belardo was a fine three-and-three-quarter length winner of the Listed Washington Singer Stakes and the manner in which he quickened away from his three rivals that day suggested that he is more than capable of landing a blow in Group company and will be a lively adversary to the hot favourite.

Aidan O'Brien's War Envoy has competed in a number of Group races this season, but has often found a few too good and was last seen finishing third in a Curragh Group 3 event and will need to improve on that, whilst Karl Burke's Glenalmond and Charlie Hills's Aces will need career bests if they are to land a blow in this event.

Latest Betting for 2014 Champagne Stakes

11/8 Estidhkaar

11/4 Belardo

6/1 Glenalmond

7/1 War Envoy

9/1 Room Key

14/1 Belle Vue

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Champagne Stakes History

The Champagne Stakes is a Group Two race run at Doncaster over seven furlongs for two-year-old colts and geldings and makes up part of the St Leger Festival.

Established in 1823, it was originally run over six furlongs before in 1961 it was extended to seven furlongs and having allowed both genders to contest the race it became restricted to males only in 1988.

Often used as a stepping stone for bigger and better things, horses contending the Champagne Stakes often venture on to Newmarket to race in the group One Dewhurst Stakes, which often serves up Classic potential.

Grundy, arguably one of the greatest thoroughbreds of recent times in horse racing history, won the Champagne Stakes in 1974 before winning the Dewhurst the same year.  Peter Walwyn's stable star then progressed to win the Irish 2000 Guineas, Irish Derby, Epsom Derby and beat Bustino in the King George VI & Queen Elizabeth II Stakes, in what has been labelled the 'Race of the Century'.

More recently, Rodrigo de Triano built on his 1991 Champagne Stakes success to win both the English and Irish 2000 Guineas before winning the Champion Stakes and Juddmonte International Stakes.

Frankie Dettori has an excellent record in the race and the jovial Italian has amassed five victories in the race during his illustrious career.  A hat-trick of wins came at the turn of the Millennium with Noverre, Dubai Destination and Almushahar all for trainer David Loder and he then bagged back-to-back successes in 2009 with Poet's Voice and Saamidd,

Recent Winners of Champagne Stakes

  • 2000 - Noverre
  • 2001 - Dubai Destination
  • 2002 - Almushahar
  • 2003 - Lucky Story
  • 2004 - Etlaala
  • 2005 - Close to You/Silent Times (Dead Heat)
  • 2006 - Vital Equine
  • 2007 - McCartney
  • 2008 - Westphalia
  • 2009 - Poet's Voice
  • 2010 - Saamidd
  • 2011 - Trumpet Major
  • 2012 - Toronado
  • 2013 - Outstrip