West Wind Blows opens at short Champions Stakes odds

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West Wind Blows

The third and final Group 1 race at Flemington this Saturday will be the , where 11 runners will do battle over 2000m with A$3 million on the line.

After finishing second in back-to-back Group 1 races, West Wind Blows has opened as the clear +160 favourite with online bookmakers.

The Simon & Ed Crisford-trained galloper finished second in both the and Cup in his only two starts this preparation, respectively beaten by Gold Trip and Without A Fight.

Roger James & -trained (+450) returned to Australia with a nice win in the Group 2 Crystal Mile at Moonee Valley last start, which kept her unbeaten record on Aussie shores intact.

The daughter of Proisir is a two-time Group 1 winner throughout her career, and she will regain the services of Mark Zahra, who is fresh off winning a second consecutive .

Duais (+450) was unlucky in the Cox Plate, as she never saw clear air from the 300m mark; however, she did enough to claim fourth place, running only 1.3 lengths behind Romantic Warrior.

The daughter of took out the Group 1 Australia Cup at this track and trip in March of 2022, and with sticking after the Cox Plate, it must be seen as a positive for her chances.

The reigning champion, Zaaki (+700), will return to defend his title, but after finishing outside the placings in the Cox Plate, the jury is out as to whether the veteran gelding is going as well as he was last year.

(+650) will back up after running in the Group 1 Empire Rose Stakes seven days ago, where she attempted to chase down Pride Of Jenni but ran out of ground over 1600m, so the extra 400m should suit the Chris Waller-trained mare.

The 2023 VRC will be race eight on the Flemington card and is scheduled to jump at 5:10pm AEDT.

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