Premier Victorian trainer Peter Moody will be out at Caulfield on Saturday hoping his Blue Sapphire runner Highly Recommended can continue a career that in some way matches that of his unbeaten superstar Black Caviar.
Two years ago Bel Esprit mare Black Caviar, currently ranked the world’s highest-rated racehorse, stormed home to win the 2009 Blue Sapphire Stakes by a forceful six lengths.
It was the now four-year-olds’ second career start, second career win and Black Caviar remains unbeaten since having won all 12 of her races to date including an incredible five successive Group 1 showdowns.
Black Caviar came into the Blue Sapphire on the back of a similarly emphatic five length victory in a 1000m handicap showdown at Flemington two weeks earlier.
This year the $100,000 Listed Blue Sapphire Stakes (1200m) at Caulfield has drawn a field of 10 promising two-year-olds including an up-and-coming stablemate to Black Caviar, the fellow Moody-trained Highly Recommended.
Well-bred Fastnet Rock colt Highly Recommended comes into Saturday’s Blue Sapphire unbeaten having won their sole career start to date when crossing half a length clear of Whitlam in the $70,000 Lort Smith Animal Hospital Handicap (1000m) at Flemington on April 16.
His debut win came in the same race Black Caviar won as a debutant, Highly Recommended now out to continue on the same proven path as his $3.2 million earning stablemate.
“It took us a while to get him to the races and this (the Blue Sapphire) is just the way the cards have fallen,” Moody said.
Drawn in barrier five and due to be ridden by Luke Nolen, replacing Noel Callow in the saddle, Highly Recommended is the $3.50 second favourite to win the Blue Sapphire Stakes behind the Lee Freedman-trained Lonhro colt Spatha, who blitzed their rivals at Morphettville by five and a half lengths last start, paying $3.30.
Freedman also has Redoute’s Choice filly Baptism lining up in barrier 10 for the Blue Sapphire while other notable acceptors for the juveniles feature include classy metro winner City Of Song, who is by the same sire as Black Caviar Bel Esprit, and Peter Snowden’s unraced Viscount colt Haut Normandie.
Moody, although hesitant to make comparisons between Highly Recommended and his celebrity sprinter Caviar, is confident the colt has a promising future on the track.
“There’s no comparison between the two, but he is a nice horse and I’m hoping after this he might make a spring horse,” he said of Highly Recommended.
“He’s a big robust horse and he’ll be better at 1200 and he’ll be better at home (Caulfield) around the bend.”
Highly Recommended, purchased for $235,000 as a yearling from the Sydney Easter Sales, is a full brother to the Mark Kavanagh-trained sprinter Undeniably and is also a half-brother to Moody’s Group 1 Emirates Stakes winner in 2004 Sky Cuddle.
“We have had a lot of success with the family with Sky Cuddle and Sky Love, so hopefully this bloke will keep it going for years to come,” Moody’s racing manager Jeff O’Connor said.
A strong performance in the Blue Sapphire on Saturday will have Moody considering a Brisbane Winter Carnival campaign with Highly Recommended joining Black Caviar up in Queensland.
Black Caviar has been nominated for three Group 1 features in Brisbane with the BTC Cup at Doomben on May 14 first on the cards.
The Caviar comparisons are unavoidable but Moody thinks chances are slim that Highly Recommended will reach the same heights as his stable frontrunner.
“Hey, they can’t all be Black Caviar,” he said.
“But this is a really nice colt and at this stage I’d say he’s my Guineas horse.”
Meanwhile, Flemington trainer Nigel Blackiston will be represented by two of his stable youngsters in the Blue Sapphire as he looks to secure a second successive stakes race in less than a week.
On Monday at Flemington’s Anzac Day meeting Blackiston’s promising three-year-old Right Of Refusal emerged as a genuine Cups horse for the spring winning the Listed VRC St Leger (2800m) by an effortless four lengths.
In the Blue Sapphire Blackiston has his Snippetson colt Daneson in barrier four and unraced Captain Rio gelding Deodoro in gate eight.
Of the pair Daneson looks Blackiston’s best shot at Blue Sapphire success having raced twice before including a credible second over 1170m at Wangaratta last start.
“He is going super,” Blackiston said of Daneson.
“He has improved with each run and I’m quite pleased where we are with him at this stage.
“I am sure he will run a nice race and won’t disgrace himself.”
2011 Zaidee’s Blue Sapphire Stakes Field & Barriers
|1||1||HIGHLY RECOMMENDED||Peter G Moody||Luke Nolen||5||57kg||70|
|2||41||SPATHA||Lee Freedman||Jason Maskiell (a)||6||56kg||68|
|3||027X1||THE COUNTERFEITER||Matt Laurie||Danny Nikolic||3||56kg||65|
|4||1||THE NEW BOY||Danny O’Brien||Jamie Mott||1||56kg||64|
|5||42||DANESON||Nigel Blackiston||Michael Walker||4||56kg||61|
|6||–||DEODORO (NZ)||Nigel Blackiston||Ms Lisa Cropp||8||56kg||–|
|7||–||HAUT NORMANDIE||Peter Snowden||James Winks||7||56kg||–|
|8||0X||LIEUTENANT COLONEL||John P Thompson||Craig Newitt||9||56kg||61|
|9||133||CITY OF SONG||John Moloney||Jason Benbow||2||54kg||68|
|10||4||BAPTISM||Lee Freedman||Chris Symons||10||54kg||63|