Champagne Sally’s upset all-the-way victory in the Group 2 TAB Topgun Stayers (725m) was the highlight of an unforgettable Saturday night at The Meadows for Queenslanders Ray and Mary Burman.
The Burmans celebrated a memorable family double at the showpiece Topgun meeting, courtesy of their homebred Barcia Bale – Bizarre Barbie litter.
Champagne Sally ran her hand-picked rivals ragged in the $75,000 to-the-winner Stayers invitational, one race after litter sister Magic Hornet had also led throughout in a heat of the Group 1 Hume Cup over 600m.
“I thought it was good winning the last race (with Magic Hornet) and getting a runner in the Hume Cup, but this tops it off,” Ray Burman said.
The Burmans will now be chasing their second Hume Cup victory at The Meadows’ traditional Melbourne Cup Eve meeting on Monday week, having owned 2007 winner Technoman, which was trained by leading Victorian mentor Kel Greenough, when the event was held over 725m.
Champagne Sally was making her second appearance in an invitation-only distance race at The Meadows, having also started at huge odds ($33.80) in the Group 1 Zoom Top in February.
On that occasion she also made the running and was far from disgraced when finishing a close third to champions Fanta Bale and Rippin’ Sam.
Drawn in box four in the Topgun Stayers, Champagne Sally started at $27.60, with in-form NSW visitor Poco Dorado, winner of her previous five starts in her home state, the $2.70 favourite from box five.
Champagne Sally led Poco Dorado and produced a faultless front-running exhibition to defeat the favourite by 2.33 lengths in 42.36sec, leading home a rare interstate feature race trifecta on Victorian soil, with another NSW female in Ebby Ripper filling third place.
It was a breakthrough success at Group level for Champagne Sally, which has now won 26 of her 84 starts.
“I’ve never trained a Group 2 winner before and Champagne Sally is a deserving winner,” Burman said.
“I’m not surprised she won like she did. I expected her to lead or be close to it.
“We bred and owned Technoman, who won the Hume Cup. He was trained by Kel Greenough. We’ve bred a lot of good, honest dogs for more than 20 years and it’s all the same bloodline.
“I’d like to thank my wife, Mary, for putting up with my training endeavours.”
Champagne Sally’s litter sister, Magic Hornet, which ran fifth to Fanta Bale in the Group 1 Super Stayers over 725 at The Meadows in March, started at $7.50 from box two in the third of six Hume Cup heats and took advantage of her inside draw in an all-the-way 34.58sec success, her 23rd win from 91 starts.
* Compiled by Gerard Guthrie and Andrew Copley.