Champagne Stakes: Too Darn Hot and Dark Vision add fizz

Fri 14 Sep 2018

Watch our expert analysis of the big wins achieved by Too Darn Hot, Dark Vision and Phoenix Of Spain, plus read what connections have to say ahead of the Champagne Stakes at Doncaster.

A mouthwatering clash of juvenile talent is set for Doncaster on Saturday with Too Darn Hot and Dark Vision headlining the Howcroft Industrial Supplies Champagne Stakes.

Both colts bring unbeaten records into the Group Two showpiece, with the beautifully-bred Too Darn Hot the ante-post favourite for both the 2000 Guineas and Derby following his two wins at Sandown, most recently in the Solario Stakes.

Dark Vision, meanwhile, is also prominent in the Guineas market, having recorded an impressive triumph in the Vintage Stakes at Goodwood, after which he was snapped up by Godolphin.

The John Gosden-trained Too Darn Hot will be ridden by Frankie Dettori, who is seeking a sixth success in the race, his first coming through Noverre in 2000.

"This is an amazing horse" Watch what our experts made of Too Darn Hot's Solario success

Adding to the excitement for the ever-popular Dettori is the fact he will ride Too Darn Hot’s sister, Lah Ti Dar, in the St Leger on the same card.

The Italian said: “You’ve got the brother and sister running half an hour apart in two Group races.

“He’s very exciting. It’s nice that I’m able to ride him on a Flat track as that is the only time you get to feel a horse going through the gears.

“Sandown is a very steep track and more of a grinding, galloping track.

“I’m curious to see how he goes. It’s a very select field that will test him, but I’m very excited.”

Dark Vision had been on course to run in the Goffs Vincent O’Brien National Stakes this weekend, but his change of ownership has led to him being rerouted, as Sheikh Mohammed has Quorto for the Curragh.

Speaking to At The Races earlier in the week, Charlie Johnston, assistant to his father, Mark, said: “When we left Goodwood, our natural reaction was the next start would be in the National (Stakes).

What did Dark Vision achieve at Goodwood?

“The horse was already a Group Two winner and that’s the obvious progression, to go up to Group One level on his next start, but you have to take these factors into account.

“Sheikh Mohammed doesn’t want these two horses running against each other and that’s perfectly understandable.

“The horse did his final piece of work this (Monday) morning, he’s never one to blow you away at home, he’s a very laid-back individual, but he seems in good order.

“Giving away a penalty to Too Darn Hot will be difficult, we’re well aware of that, but this horse is unbeaten and we still haven’t got to the bottom of him.”

Not to be discounted is the Charlie Hills-trained Phoenix Of Spain, who has progressed with racing and looked potentially smart himself in the Acomb Stakes at York.

Hills said: “He’s been really good since York, his work has been nice. Doncaster should suit him, as it’s a nice level track.

David Cleary and Oli Bell analyse the Acomb Stakes.

“It looks like it’s going to be a hell of a race, but it’s the right stepping stone for him and the obvious race to run him in. You have to take on the best to be the best.

“It should be a good race.”

Aidan O’Brien saddles two in his bid for a third victory in the race after Seahenge 12 months ago and Westphalia in 2008, calling on Van Beethoven (Ryan Moore) and Cardini (Seamie Heffernan).

The field is completed by the Andrew Balding-trained Bye Bye Hong Kong, who steps up markedly in class after winning a novice contest at Windsor.

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