Third declarations closed for the Group 1 Blue Diamond Stakes (1200m) Monday afternoon, with 84 juveniles remaining in contention for the $1 million race – the largest number in the past six years.
Fillies continue to dominate the declarations, holding 43 of the 84 entries.
Following Blue Diamond Previews for each gender at Sandown on Monday, the winners of each race are non-surprisingly keen to back up to the main event on February 28 at Caulfield.
Robert Smerdon’s Fontiton was the $1.90 odds-on favourite to win the fillies race and held on to win a quarter of a length while Robbie Griffiths’ Burnstone was a $12 upset victor against the colts and geldings, storming home to win by three and a half lengths.
One surprising omission from the 2015 Blue Diamond third declarations is Godolphin’s Ottoman. The impressive filly who scored a great debut at Rosehill Gardens in December was not among the Godolphin artillery of eight juveniles but remains early favourite to take out the $3.5 million Group 1 Golden Slipper (1200m) one month later.
Godolphin have also decided to remove Mesa from its charge after the heavily-backed colt failed to make an impression in Monday’s Preview, finishing over five lengths behind Burnstone in fifth place.
The racing magnate will still be represented by a bevy of juveniles after leaving Sampeah, Calaverite, Igraine, Chamarel, Antelucan, Bantam, Pursuits, and Promenades in contention.
Demonstrate, Pursuits, and Promenades will all be given a chance to earn a start in the Blue Diamond via the Blue Diamond Preludes (1100m) on February 14.
David Hayes & Tom Dabernig lead the charge after declaring nine of their two-year-olds. The training duo has left in: Miss Idyllic, Air Apparent, Keen Array, Wind Force, Claudia Jean, More Than Most, Stay With Me, Hell Or Highwater, and Reemah.
Miss Idyllic remains without a win from her five career starts, although the filly has finished runner-up three times. She was unable to figure in the $2 million Magic Millions Classic (1200m) at the Gold Coast on January 10, finishing last of all 16 runners.
Claudia Jean also tackled the $2 million 2YO Classic at the Gold Coast, finishing just over two lengths behind winner Le Chef in seventh place.
Lonhro is the best-represented stallion in the third declarations with eight of his progeny remaining in contention following by Exceed And Excel with seven and Not A Single Doubt with six.
Late entries for the 2015 Blue Diamond Stakes will close at midday on February 23 followed by final declarations at 9am on February 24.
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