Punters are getting closer and closer to knowing the 2012 Blue Diamond Stakes field after third declarations for the ace juvenile’s feature were taken by Racing Victoria on Tuesday.
One of the most popular Melbourne Autumn Racing Carnival races, the $1 million Group 1 Patinack Farm Blue Diamond Stakes (1200m) will run at Caulfield Racecourse on Saturday February 25.
Following the release of the Blue Diamond Stakes third declarations there are now just 64 two-year-olds heading towards the prestigious event, cut from 165 at second declaration stage.
Early favourite in the ante-post Blue Diamond Stakes odds is the Tony McEvoy-trained South Australian raider Jimando.
Prior to the third declarations being released the classy Commands colt, which won the Listed Inglis Debutants Stakes (1000m) at Caulfield on October 12 at their only career start to date, was paying $5 in the Blue Diamond Stakes betting markets at Luxbet.
Second elect in the Luxbet Blue Diamond futures odds is Gai Waterhouse’s More Than Ready gelding Raceway, a four length winner on debut at Warwick Farm on January 7.
Waterhouse has just two horses left in the Blue Diamond Stakes 2012 entries, Raceway joined by the very promising Redoute’s Choice filly No Looking Back.
No Looking Back’s record reads as one win and one second from two career starts.
They were, however, first past the post last start in the iconic Magic Millions 2YO Classic before being regulated to second behind their 2012 Golden Slipper-bound stablemate Driefontein upon protest.
Following Jimando, Raceway and No Looking Back the other best-backed 2012 Blue Diamond Stakes third acceptor is the Mick Price-trained Malasun.
The Red Ransom filly burst into Blue Diamond calculations on Australia Day with her upset one and a quarter length victory in the Blue Diamond Fillies Preview over 1000m at Caulfield.
Price has five youngsters still on the Blue Diamond path, the other most notable of which is More Than Ready filly Samaready whose only career start to date produced a tidy win at Flemington on December 17.
While Malasun won the Blue Diamond Preview fillies’ edition, the Blue Diamond Preview for colts and geldings was won by Matt Laurie’s Mornington galloper The Travelling Man, the Mossman colt another popular pick in the early Luxbet markets for the end-of-month grand final.
Leading Sydney horseman Peter Snowden and the Darley Racing operation combined to win the Blue Diamond Stakes last year with champion colt and subsequent Golden Slipper winner Sepoy, and they have six gallopers entered in 2012 as they attempt back-to-back victories.
Applegate is the most notable of the Darley contingent this year, the daughter of Exceed And Excel having narrowly won the Listed Emirates Airline Plate (1000m) at Flemington on Melbourne Cup Day, followed by Forget, another offspring of Exceed And Excel.
Another racing giant also well-represented in the 2012 Blue Diamond Stakes third acceptances is race sponsor, Patinack Farm with nine.
The best fancied of the Patinack Farm entries is Elusive Quality filly Real Stolle who broke her maiden status with a strong win in the Group 3 Maribyrnong Plate (1000m) at Flemington on Emirates Stakes Day.
Connections have until Monday February 20 to nominate or re-nominate any horse which was not a third acceptor, but cop a hefty late entry fee of $55,000.
The Blue Diamond Stakes final field will then be released on Tuesday February 21 and published right here at Races.com.au.
Updated Blue Diamond Stakes markets will be re-released at Luxbet shortly so make sure you are ready to back your favourites by opening your account with Australia’s favourite online bookie now.