The Tony McEvoy-trained Manhattan Blues leads a quality field of a dozen two-year-olds facing off in the Blue Diamond Colts & Geldings Preview 2015 field at Sandown Racecourse on Monday.
While the fillies’ edition of the Preview is a Group 3 worth $150,000, the boys will only be vying for Listed honours in the male race worth $120,000.
The headline acceptor for the 1000m showdown is promising Manhattan Rain gelding Manhattan Blues who won his debut over the distance at Morphettville Parks on January 10.
He steps up in class second-up then with Steven King to ride him from a nice mid-field barrier five draw.
While showing lots of potential, Manhattan Blues is not targeting the $1 million Group 1 Blue Diamond Stakes (1200m) at Caulfield Racecourse on February 28 – a decision McEvoy regrets.
Manhattan Blues is also the only non-maiden in the Blue Diamond Preview (Colts & Geldings) field with all 11 of his rivals yet to win a race.
Four have had a previous start however including two that have suffered early blows with Mesa and Call Me Anything to jump from barriers 11 and 12 respectively.
The John O’Shea-trained Lonhro colt Mesa may be out wide but he is sure to still be near the top of the betting at Ladbrokes.com.au following a good debut during the spring and an impressive recent trial win.
On November 15 he raced here at Sandown-Hillside on Zipping Classic Day and crossed just a neck away third behind Thurlow in the Listed Merson Cooper Stakes (1000m).
To prepare him for his return this Australia Day long weekend, Mesa ran in a trail at the track over 800m on January 13 that he won impressively by three lengths.
Unlike Manhattan Blues, Mesa is 2015 Blue Diamond Stakes-bound and pays $26 in the all-in markets on the classic at Ladbrokes.com.au.
Call Me Anything is then prepared by David Hayes & Tom Dabernig and also ran third on debut.
The Redoute’s Choice colt was beaten three and a half lengths by Magic Millions 2YO Classic runner Claudia Jean, a current $21 Blue Diamond chance, over 1000m at Flemington on December 20.
He was in barrier four that day but has plenty more work and improving to do here from the second widest gate with Michael Walker in the saddle.
The other two BD Preview (C&G) hopes with official race experience are then Denman colt Trench Fighter (barrier eight) who was sixth behind Of The Brave in the Inglis Debutant Stakes back in October and the Ciaron Maher-trained Well Sighted (barrier four) last seen running fifth at Bendigo on December 21 behind the promising Parcel.
Of the unraced runners rounding out the field some of the headliners include O’Shea’s other runner Demonstrate, Kentucky Flyer coming off a second to Mesa in the January 13 trial and the Mick Price-trained Kirabo.
See below for the full Blue Diamond Preview (C&G) 2015 field, barriers, jockeys and set weights plus penalties.
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2015 Blue Diamond Preview (Colts & Geldings) Final Field & Barrier Draw
Sandown Race 3 (2:30pm) – 26/01/2015
|1||1||MANHATTAN BLUES||Tony McEvoy||Steven King||5||55kg||67|
|2||3x||MESA||John O’Shea||Damian Browne||12||55kg||64|
|3||3||CALL ME ANYTHING||David Hayes & Tom Dabernig||Michael Walker||11||55kg||63|
|4||6x||TRENCH FIGHTER||Robbie Laing||Craig Williams||8||55kg||61|
|5||5||WELL SIGHTED||Ciaron Maher||Chad Schofield||4||55kg||–|
|7||–||DEMONSTRATE||John O’Shea||Nicholas Hall||7||55kg||–|
|8||–||EAGLES DARE||Robbie Laing||Vlad Duric||6||55kg||–|
|9||–||KENTUCKY FLYER||Robbie Laing||Ben Melham||9||55kg||–|
|10||–||KIRABO||Mick Price||Damien Oliver||1||55kg||–|
|11||–||TOP ME UP||Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes||Dwayne Dunn||10||55kg||–|
|12||–||VON VACHERON||Matt Laurie||Luke Currie||3||55kg||–|