Glen Andrews hopes his horse Cane Champagne win the Ulton Cup tomorrow.
Glen Andrews hopes his horse Cane Champagne win the Ulton Cup tomorrow.

Champagne sparkles in comeback

A CHANCE taken on a skinny, shaggy thoroughbred grazing in a paddock near Taree is beginning to reap dividends for Bundaberg trainer Glenn Andrews.

Andrews will put seven-year-old gelding Cane Champagne through its paces in the $4000 Ulton Cup tomorrow after finishing second at Thangool — its first start for its new trainer last week.

With a glossy sheen and rippling muscle, Cane Champagne is a far cry from the horse which greeted Andrews upon purchase three months ago.

“It's taken a lot of work on my part, but he's come a long way,” Andrews said.

“I've put a lot of time into him but I think it will prove to be time well spent.”

The brown beauty had been retired from the race track – and put out to pasture on a property on the North Coast of New South Wales.

A nine-centimetre long coat draped from Cane Champagne's frame and its ribs stuck out a little too prominently, but there was something about the horse that made the decision easy for Andrews.

“He didn't look real flash, he didn't look real good at all too be honest,” Andrews said.

“But he was solid and he's temperament really shone through.”

The Class 5 horse performed well for its former trainer Stuart Phegan with five wins, three seconds and two thirds from 32 starts – and earning more than $38,000

Cane Champagne will step up a grade in the Ulton Cup, but it is a challenge Andrews believes the horse is ready for.

“It will be hard race for him, he's backing up in a week and he's facing open Cup horses,” he said.

“He's up to it though, he's eating hard, he's working well and he's doing everything right.”

Cane Champagne will face stiff competition from favourite Through The Waves who has recorded a win and a second at Gympie and a fifth on the Sunshine Coast in recent starts.

The Ulton Cup will be shorter than the long-distance specialist prefers, but Andrews said his galloper was versatility.

“I don't think it will worry him too much,” he said.

“He'll be out there giving it his very best, that I can be sure of.”

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