After being defeated by this autumn’s Blue Diamond Stakes favourite Fontiton by eight lengths on Cox Plate Day last spring, trainer Robbie Laing is hoping his improving filly Stylemaker can cut down that margin when the two meet again in Monday’s 2015 Blue Diamond Fillies Preview at Sandown.
The $150,000 Group 3 Blue Diamond Preview (Fillies) runs over 1000m this Australia Day long weekend and features a bumper field of 16 two-year-old fillies.
Odds-on favourite in the Ladbrokes.com.au markets paying a short $1.80 is the Robert Smerdon-trained Fontiton in barrier five who won the Inglis Banner by a blistering six lengths on debut last season.
She’s first-up here and looking to remain undefeated and also retain her $4.80 favouritism in the futures odds at Ladbrokes for the $1 million Group 1 Blue Diamond Stakes (1200m) at Caulfield on February 28.
Stylemaker meanwhile is one of three in the field for Cranbourne’s Laing, who also saddles up three more youngsters in the Blue Diamond Colts & Geldings Preview the race before.
Suffering an early blow with a wide barrier 12 draw, Charge Forward filly Stylemaker will be ridden by Chad Schofield who takes over from Kerrin McEvoy.
McEvoy rode her on debut last October at Moonee Valley when she finished eight lengths away fourth to Fontiton in the $250,000 Inglis Banner (1000m).
Since then she’s had one official trial at Sandown on January 13 finishing fifth behind Belhamage, with Laing expecting improvement again this weekend from Stylemaker who pays $67 as a roughie shot for Monday.
Laing’s two other Blue Diamond (F) Preview hopes are also at long odds with Boomgal and Little Indian drawn in barriers 13 and 11 respectively.
Vlad Duric rides Beneteau filly Boomgal who has had two runs for two unplaced efforts when 12th in the Group 3 Emirates Airline Plate (1000m) at Flemington on November 4 and ninth when beating home just one other runner in the Listed Merson Cooper Stakes (1000m) here at Sandown-Hillside a fortnight later.
She’s at $81 to score a massive upset on Monday while at $31 Little Indian is the best fancied of Laing’s trio.
The Not A Single Doubt filly had Dwayne Dunn, staying on for her resuming run in the Preview, aboard when she debuted at Flemington during the Melbourne Cup Carnival running ninth to Prompt Return in the Group 3 Maribyrnong Plate (1000m).
She trialled very well at Sandown earlier this month however when second behind Belhamage over 800m, an effort that had Laing a little more confident about how she’ll go this autumn.
“They are three very nice fillies who are all going to win races,” Laing said of his Fillies’ Preview runners.
“But the topweight (Fontiton) looks very hard to beat.”
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