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Champagne Cuddles heads the Breeders Classic market

Two of the classiest mares in Bjorn Baker’s stable will be pitched against each other when Champagne Cuddles and Egyptian Symbol face off in the Breeders Classic at Warwick Farm.

“It’s a bit unfortunate to have two mares who I couldn’t be happier with against each other,” Baker said.

“But it’s a Group Two, neither of them has won a Group Two and it’s probably the next step on both of their CVs hopefully.”

Early markets suggest one of Baker’s duo will tick that box on Saturday with Champagne Cuddles favourite ahead of Egyptian Symbol.

Champagne Cuddles’ biggest win was in a Group Three race in Queensland but some of her best runs have been minor placings at the top level, including a third to Santa Ana Lane in last year’s Stradbroke Handicap and a second to Trapeze Artist in the 2017 Golden Rose.

Egyptian Symbol has also been an asset to the stable with her eight wins highlighted by Group Three victories in the 2016 The Nivison and the Toy Show Quality in the spring.

Pushed to split the pair on Saturday, Baker gives Champagne Cuddles a slight edge.

“They’ve been two stable stalwarts over the past couple of years and I’m reluctant to put one in front of the other,” Baker said.

“You might have to lean to Champagne Cuddles. On her day she’s very, very good and she has been placed at Group One level four times so if she runs up to that she’s going to be very hard to beat.”

Champagne Cuddles returns to Sydney after finishing third in a handicap race at her Victorian debut last month and appears much better placed under the set weights and penalties conditions of the Breeders Classic.

Egyptian Symbol is back from a hit-and-run mission to Queensland where she stormed home from last to win the Magic Millions Sprint at the Gold Coast.

The Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott-trained Alassio is among the leading contenders for the Breeders Classic, although Bott admits she faces a steep rise in grade from her last-start win in a Benchmark 78 race.

“On the ratings and weights scale she’s probably poorly treated against some better performed opposition, but she’s fit and really well within herself,” Bott said.

“I think that fitness will take her a long way in Saturday’s race and she deserves an opportunity to earn some valuable black-type.”

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