Hampton Court Relation in 2015 Blue Diamond Mix

Sydney’s Gai Waterhouse estimates she will be accepting for around 20 juveniles when Blue Diamond Stakes 2015 first declarations close on Tuesday including an exciting three-quarter sibling to her Spring Champion Stakes winner Hampton Court.

Gai Waterhouse

Gai Waterhouse’s best early 2015 Blue Diamond Stakes hopeful is Lucky Fish. Photo: Daniel Costello.

Back in July the Melbourne Racing Club (MRC) took over 1200 nominations for next year’s $1 million Group 1 Blue Diamond Stakes (1200m).

Running at Caulfield Racecourse on February 28 as one of the early highlights of the Melbourne Autumn Racing Carnival, 2015 will mark the 45th edition of the Blue Diamond Stakes.

While she boasts a modern-day record of five Golden Slipper winners, Waterhouse’s trophy cabinet remains absent of a Blue Diamond winner.

From her eight starters in the race she’s prepared two runners-up and a third placegetter but never the first past the post.

Having originally entered 74 yearlings, Waterhouse is hoping a 20-strong contingent of youngsters will include the one to hand her with her maiden Blue Diamond Stakes success this February.

One of her early picks of the team she’s already sent down to Melbourne to prepare for the classic, it is Exceed And Excel colt Lucky Fish who is getting lots of attention at her Flemington base.

“I have a few two-year-olds down here shooting the breeze before we get them ready for the Blue Diamond,” Waterhouse told Racenet.

“Lucky Fish is a very nice colt and he’s been pleasing me with everything he’s been doing.”

Purchased for $225,000 as a yearling, the colt was snapped up for under half the price John Warren forked out for the older three-quarter sibling Hampton Court who won this year’s Group 1 Spring Champion Stakes (2000m) at Randwick in October.

It proved a challenge for Waterhouse to find a willing owner for Lucky Fish despite the connections to Hampton Court who took his time getting into the winner’s circle.

“I couldn’t sell him,” Waterhouse said.

“Hampton Court only really hit his hopples when he won the Listed 1900m race, the Dulcify Quality (on October 4), and then of course the week after, he won the Spring Champion.

“I went to Hong Kong and a group of Chinese owners, one or two of which had horses in the past, said ‘we like that’ and bought him.

“That’s why he was called Lucky Fish.”

Her other headline Blue Diamond Stakes first acceptor will be Right Of Way.

The Denman filly won her Randwick trial on October 31 then backed up and performed again on debut at Rosehill on Saturday when a brave second behind Paceman in the $85,000 Cellarbrations Appin Plate (1100m).

The Peter & Paul Snowden-trained Paceman was an impressive winner of that race and is now being prepared with a 2015 Golden Slipper campaign in mind.

Stay tuned to Races.com.au to view Tuesday’s official Blue Diamond Stakes first declarations closing at midday (AEDT).

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