The Mick Price trained colt has faced the starter twice and comes into the race as the only runner on the one week back-up. Tackling the G3 Chairman’s Stakes on debut, a race Price won with Extreme Choice on the way 2016 Blue Diamond, Prairie Fire settled at the rear and was doing his best work at the line when finishing 3rd behind Ennis Hill and Encryption. Needing a win to force his way into the Blue Diamond field, Price set the Snitzel colt for the Listed Talindert at Flemington down the straight. He found the line strongly to come clear for a one length victory. The Talindert has historically been used a Blue Diamond lead-in, with Star Witness and Sleek Chassis both able to secure the double in the past 12 years. Mark Zahra keeps the ride, having ridden the colt in both starts with the pair to jump from gate 1..
David Hayes knows what it takes to snare the Blue Diamond and has been able to prepare the winner of this race on 6 occasions, one of those under his current partnership with Ben Hayes and Tom Dabernig. Long Leaf is undefeated in 3 career starts with his versatility highlighted with each win coming at a different track. Starting his career in late October at Morphettville, the son of Fastnet Rock hit the line strongly to defeat La Pomme de Pin by a narrow margin. Second up at Sandown in the Listed Merson Cooper he was too good once again, this time narrowly defeating the Tony McEvoy trained Oohood. Given a short break he was next seen in the Colts & Gelding Preview when starting favourite and again finished hard to score by a half-length over Ollivander. Kerrin McEvoy will take the ride and was aboard in the Sandown victory.
The Godolphin colt will be second-up this preparation and will have to overcome a bit of history, as maidens don’t have the greatest record when it comes to winning the Blue Diamond. Impeccably bred, the colt is by Lonhro out of the multiple G1 winner Guelph, who finished 9th in this race in 2013. Debuting in the Listed Debutant Stakes at Caulfield back in October when finishing one length from the winner Qafila, he was given one more start in the G3 Maribyrnong Plate when closing strongly to be a long neck from the winner Run Naan. Sent for a break, trainer James Cummings opted for the Chairman’s Stakes, a race won by Extreme Choice on the way to Blue Diamond success, to for his return. Starting favourite he was beaten 1.5 lengths behind the filly Ennis Hill. Damian Lane has ridden the colt in all 3 starts and will be up again.
Another maiden looking to breakthrough on the biggest stage is the Tony McEvoy trained filly. While she may be yet to taste victory, with a small turn-around, the I Am Invincible filly could quite easily be coming into the race undefeated in her three appearances. Debuting in the Merson Cooper at Sandown, she was only a head away from victory when she charged home to just fall short behind Long Leaf. Second-up in the Fillies Preview, Luke Currie slid back to settle at the rear and once again came charging late, this time falling three-quarters of a length short. Starting favourite in the Fillies Prelude, Currie again had her near the rear and was again doing her best work in the closing stages in finishing a half-length from the winner Enbihaar. The rise to 1200m should be to her benefit and from gate 10 Currie can keep her out of trouble.
A race for 2 Year Olds of both sexes, the Blue Diamond is the first Group1 for the ‘babies’ in the racing season. It was first held in 1971 and has been a feature of the Melbourne Racing Club’s Autumn carnival in a bumper day of racing at Caulfield.
The race has traditional lead-up events separated by sex with Listed Blue Diamond Previews and Group 3 Blue Diamond Preludes held in successive fortnights leading into the Blue Diamond Stakes. The race is run over 1200m and held under the conditions of set weights with colts and geldings to carry 56.5kg and fillies carrying 54.5kg.
Total prizemoney on offer is $1.5m with the winner to receive $900,000, making it the richest 2YO race conducted in Victoria. The 2017 winner was the Hayes/Dabernig trained Catchy, ridden by Craig Williams. Some great horses have been successful in the past and it has also been a good race to win for prospective stallions with winners such as Manikato (1978), Zeditave (1988), Hurricane Sky (1994), Redoutes Choice (1999), Bel Esprit (2002) and Sepoy (2011).
Odds and previews are available for all the major Autumn Racing Carnival races at UBET's Autumn Racing Betting Hub.
|Date:||Saturday 24th February 2018|
|Race Time:||16:05 AEDT|
|2018 Blue Diamond Stakes Odds|
|2015||Pride Of Dubai|
|2013||Miracles Of Life|
|2009||Reward For Effort|