After a narrow but speedy win in the Blue Diamond Fillies Preview on Monday the bookmakers remain confident Robert Smerdon’s smart filly Fontition still has what it takes to win the 2015 Blue Diamond Stakes next month.
The Turffontein filly jumped as the odds-on favourite in Monday afternoon’s $150,000 Group 3 Blue Diamond Preview (Fillies) (1000m) and didn’t disappoint despite being stretched for her quarter-length win over last start Ballarat winner Haybah ($21).
In third two lengths off the quinella was then the John O’Shea-trained debutant Pursuits, the daughter of Lonhro catching the eye after a nice trial at the track earlier in the month.
Fontiton won on debut at Moonee Valley last October on Cox Plate Day leading all-the-way in an impressive six length victory in the Inglis Banner.
She retained her undefeated status then in the BD Preview for fillies but jockey Mark Zahra wanted to settle her off the pace second-up.
Soon after jumping though she was unbalanced but recovered quickly to take up a spot behind the leaders.
She loomed early on the straight and took about the task of running down the frontrunner Haybah and only just got there by a neck in an impressive victory that Zahra said displayed her versatility.
“She jumped up in the air at the start a little bit and I wanted to get away from a couple that were on the fence and had I stayed in she probably would have won a bit more comfortably but I wanted to make a good thing of her,” Zahra told Racing Victoria on Monday.
“I reckon she’d probably had enough 100 metres out but class prevailed in the end.
“It’s easy to just go out and lead every start and then you’re susceptible in the Blue Diamond but for her to come from behind today and still pick up like she did was great.
“It’s only her second start and even with the boom on her she’s still very green but I couldn’t ask for much more from her today.”
Despite the narrowness of the win she retains top spot in the futures odds at Ladbrokes.com.au for the $1 million Group 1 Blue Diamond Stakes (1200m) at Caulfield Racecourse on February 28.
She is installed as the $4.60 favourite just ahead of Secret Agenda ($5), while Blue Diamond Colts & Geldings Preview winner Burnstone has been slashed from $34 into $11 in the same early Blue Diamond Stakes odds.
While trainer of the Redoute’s Choice colt Robbie Griffiths could take Burnstone straight into the Group 1 without another run, Smerdon definitely plans to run Fontiton in the $200,000 Group 2 Blue Diamond Fillies Prelude (1100m) at Caulfield on February 14.
“At the furlong (200m mark) she was going to cruise up and win by two (lengths) then over the last 100 her fitness gave out,” Smerdon’s stable representative Stuart Webb said after the Preview win.
“I think we’ll go to the Prelude and the Blue Diamond will be her third run in, they’re hard races and you don’t want to go there unfit.”
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2015 Blue Diamond (F) Preview Results
Sandown Race 4 – 26/01/2015
|1||1||FONTITON||Robert Smerdon||Mark Zahra||–||5||57.5kg||$1.90F|
|2||3||HAYBAH||David Hayes & Tom Dabernig||Stephen Baster||0.3L||1||55kg||$21|
|3||14||PURSUITS||John O’Shea||Craig Williams||2.05L||10||55kg||$26|
|4||4||HELSINGOR||Chris Waller||Glen Boss||2.25L||6||55kg||$8|
|5||13||PROMENADES||John O’Shea||Damian Browne||2.65L||13||55kg||$5.50|
|6||6||TIZ MY VIEW||Sam Pritchard-Gordon||Damien Oliver||2.85L||2||55kg||$41|
|7||10||BAND ON THE RUN||Shane Nichols||Jack Hill||3.35L||7||55kg||$91|
|8||7||COMPRENDE||Phillip Stokes||Ben Melham||3.55L||4||55kg (cd 55.5kg)||$20|
|9||8||QUEEN OF WANDS||Clarry Conners||Patrick Moloney (a)||5.8L||9||55kg||$101|
|10||16||WOOGIE||Chris Hyland||Nicholas Hall||7.05L||14||55kg||$71|
|11||9||LE GRAND CRU||Andrew Noblet||Ms Michelle Payne||7.45L||15||55kg||$101|
|12||2||TAKE PRIDE Super Vobis Bonus Scheme||Murray Johnson||Cory Parish||7.55L||8||56kg||$7|
|13||15||TIA (NZ)||Byron Cozamanis||Damian Lane||9.05L||3||55kg||$101|
|14||5||STYLEMAKER||Robbie Laing||Chad Schofield||9.45L||11||55kg||$101|
|15||11||BOOMGAL||Robbie Laing||Dwayne Dunn||10.2L||12||55kg||$101|
|–||12||LITTLE INDIAN||Robbie Laing||Dwayne Dunn||–||0||–||–|