Mornington’s Mark Riley has confirmed plans to target the 2015 Blue Diamond Stakes next February with his progressive juvenile Of The Brave who is on the mend after a recent paddock accident.
The nicely-bred Starspangledbanner colt debuted at Caulfield Racecourse on October 11 and enjoyed a tough 1.8 length victory in the Listed Inglis Debutant Stakes (1000m).
That smart win put Of The Brave on the radar for a $1 million Group 1 Blue Diamond Stakes (1200m) shot back at the track on February 28 during next year’s Melbourne Autumn Racing Carnival.
A subsequent mystery accident however saw the young colt left with a hole above his knee that Riley feared would stop him from returning early enough to prepare for the Blue Diamond showdown.
“I don’t know how it happened, I went all over the paddock and couldn’t find anything,” Riley told TVN’s Racing Ahead on Monday.
Riley’s initial worries were eased after he viewed the horse last week, Of The Brave mending quicker than expected putting the Blue Diamond Stakes bid was back on so long as things continued to go that way.
“I’ll bring him back into work this week and we’ll see how he is,” Riley said.
“I saw him on Friday and he looked magnificent. The improvement has been remarkable.”
At this stage Riley is looking at bringing Of The Brave back on February 14 at Caulfield, re-opening on that day, for the $150,000 Group 3 Blue Diamond Prelude (1100m) a fortnight out from the Group 1.
While that’s ‘Plan A’, Riley also said that should the colt need more time he would simply shelve Blue Diamond plans and target Sydney’s 2015 Golden Slipper instead.
“If he’s not right then we’ll just go for the (Golden) Slipper,” he added.
The richest race for two-year-olds in the world, the $3.5 million Group 1 Golden Slipper Stakes (1200m) runs at Rosehill Gardens in the first week of April and is one of the major Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival features.
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