It’s all in the Jeans

By Shayne O’Cass
The Sportsman

Champagne filly up with the best.

Peggy+Jean+Kerrin+McEvoy+(Vinery)

Peggy Jean will be pushing her claims for Champion Two-Year-Old honours when
she lines up in the Champagne Stakes at Randwick on Saturday.

Would victory in Saturday’s $400,000 ATC Champagne Stakes (1600m) at Royal Randwick be enough to see Peggy Jean be crowned Australia’s Champion two-year-old this season?

Golden Slipper winners are traditonally “marked up” which has Team Hawkes filly Mossfun in the  boxseat for the title.

Many others think the crown should go to Darley miss Earthquake, who won the Blue Diamond and was runner-up in the Slipper.

But could Triple Crown Syndicate filly Peggy Jean make a bold last-ditch effort this weekend and blouse them both?

“I am not aware of any other horse that has won a couple of Group 1’s in the season so far so Peggy Jean would have to be a prime contender for Champion Two-Year-Old (if she won Saturday),” Triple Crown  co-founder Michael Ward said.

Peggy Jean’s prospects of being crowned Champion Two-Year-Old are somewhat diminished given she bypassed the Golden Slipper to concentrate on the last two legs of the Grand Slam, but Ward said the  team has “no regrets” about passing up on the big one.

“She would have been extremely competitive but having said that we always knew that she’s better  suited to the 1400m and 1600m,” he said.

Peggy Jean vindicated that strategy laid out by trainer Gerald Ryan with a dominant win in the ATC  Sires’ Produce Stakes, rounding up her rivals with her now trademark whirlwind finish.

“She’s come through the Sires’ very well and ate up straight after the race. She’s bright and doing well so it’s all systems go,” Ward said.

Nash (Rawiller) said straight after the race that the 1600m of the Champagne will suit her better than the Sires’ Produce did, so we are very positive about that.”

The daughter of upwardly mobile Vinery resident, Myboycharlie, has proven to be a whiz on wet tracks  but the prevailing sunshine in Sydney in the lead-up to Saturday’s meeting should dry out the track  somewhat from the Heavy 9 Peggy Jean so revelled in two weeks ago.

“Gerald believes she’ll be equally as good, if not better on a dry track, so that presents no worries for us,” Ward countered.

Peggy Jean has been a fabulous advertisment for her sire, trainer and managing owners – brothers  Micahel and Chris Ward of Triple Crown outfit.

They paid just $46,000 for the filly at the 2013 Inglis Classic Yearling Sale and have so far spread close  to $900,000 among her lucky owners.

“We’ve got about 12 people in the syndicate and they’re absoutely thrilled with the result that we’ve had with her,” Ward said. “We have had a number of people in contact with us saying that she’s given them the best experience of their life so far.” And it’s not over.