Headline act at Caulfield tomorrow is the Blue Diamond Stakes, the first Group 1 race of the season for the juveniles, worth a juicy $1.5 million. This race regularly throws up champions and while this edition doesn't appear to have a dominant superstar in its ranks, it is a cracking betting race at 7.0 (6/1) the field.
To preview this particularly difficult contest, it's time to introduce some new blood to the blog.
Tim Guille, @timbguille, appears on SEN’s new Saturday morning racing show, Racing Fix, is a tipster for mypunter.com and a contributor to a number of publications including Racing Victoria’s industry magazine, Inside Racing.
Ladbrokes Blue Diamond Stakes
Group 1, 1200m, AU$1.5m for 2yo
1605 local, 0505 GMT
On Saturday at Caulfield racecourse in Melbourne one of the showpiece events on the racing calendar, the Blue Diamond Stakes, will take place. Whilst it is often the favoured runners that win, this year we probably see the most open race in its 48-year history.
It is a great race the Group One Blue Diamond Stakes. We some of the best 2YOs in the land chasing a share of the $1.5 million prize pool, on a day that also includes two other great Group One races, the Oakleigh Plate and the Futurity Stakes. But the prize extends far beyond just winning the race. You see the winner’s value will sky rocket in the breeding stakes, a prize definitely worth chasing, especially the colts.
So, what can history tells us when we are looking for a winner?
· Follow the money – five of last seven winners were favourite
· Be in form – the last 10 winners either won or came 2nd in their last start
· Know your turf –the last seven winners had their last start at Caulfield
· Gender bender – it’s fairly even between the boys and girls, in fact 50/50 in the last eight years
· Odd stat – no horse has ever won out of barrier six or 13
If you followed history then your money will be heading towards Long Leaf no doubt, or perhaps Oohood. Ok, history aside, let’s take a look at this epic race in a bit more detail.
Race favourite, Long Leaf, looked outstanding winning at Caulfield back in late January. The unbeaten colt seems to just be improving more and more each time he steps out onto the track. In that win he beat a few key competitors form this race in a quick time. Stepping up to 1200m will also only be a plus for him and he will be hard to beat. Oohood hasn’t had the chance to have a look at the inside of the winner’s stall in her three starts, but the way she has savaged the line late in her last two runs here have been eye-catching, including her last start over 1100m here. She is a smart filly and will be super competitive.
If you are looking for some value, then Crossing The Abbey could be your horse. She has had a tremendous campaign this 2YO Autumn, and if you watch her last start closely, she was completely untested to the line being blocked late so her sixth is far better than what it looks. Prior to that she won well in early January in a race that has some good form lines since and then ran a strong second, beating Oohood, here a few weeks back.
Encryption certainly has a case also. This colt gives the impression that he wants all of the 1200m and was impressive here last start running second to Ennis Hill. In that he ran the quickest last 200m which suggests he will be primed and ready to go on Saturday. Speaking of Ennis Hill, there is an absolute case for her to win also. She led and just ran away from them last start here, winning a race that included a number of these runners. The third horse from that race, Prairie Fire, has since won, so you have to like that form. And yes, then there is Prairie Fire. How can he not have a case also? His last start win at Flemington was dominant, and that was over 1100m, so 1200m is a big yes.
Of the rest, Run Naan has been quietly going about his business behind most of these runners this Autumn and you get the sense that he will be super fit after a really strong 1100m here last start, where he ran the quickest last 200m.
Kinky Bloom won her debut race in stunning fashion, so is in good form, and Lady Horseowner has flown a little under the radar you could say, winning both of her starts over 1000m really well, including last start where she beat a lot of these runners.
The chances don’t unfortunately end there. You could also make a strong argument for Plague Stone, Ollivander, Native Soldier and Written By to be honest, and then you are really looking at 16 chances in a 16-horse race!
So, after all of that, who is going to win? Ok drum roll please….. Oohood is on top. Big case for Crossing The Abbey at odds, and Long Leaf, Ennis Hill and Encryption are the big dangers. Good luck and happy selecting!