Local horseman Robert Smerdon looks to have a stranglehold on the Blue Diamond Stakes 2015 at Caulfield in a fortnight with the clear favourite Fontiton but he’s very wary of a late entry and a Godolphin-owned juvenile heading into the February 28 classic.
Turffontein filly Fontiton is now the outright $2.60 favourite through Ladbrokes.com.au in futures markets for the $1 million Group 1 Blue Diamond Stakes (1200m) after winning her third race from as many starts last weekend.
The six-length Inglis Banner debutant secured the Blue Diamond Preview – Prelude double, and her main danger Secret Agenda has been ruled out of the Group 1 with a broken leg bone suffered during a roughhouse edition of the Fillies Prelude.
The next best in Blue Diamond Stakes betting then is the currently not-nominated Pride Of Dubai at $4.80 who, along with the Godolphin-owned Sampeah, are on Smerdon’s radar.
An $8 chance to win the Blue Diamond, the John O’Shea-trained Exceed And Excel colt Sampeah won on debut at Rosehill last November and returned to run third in the Group 3 Blue Diamond Prelude (C&G) (1100m) on Saturday, an effort he’s sure to improve on when stepped up a little in distance.
“Godolphin’s colt (Sampeah) caught my eye on Saturday,” Smerdon told Sky Sports Radio on Monday.
“That’s what you want in a Blue Diamond horse, something that can switch off early and hit the line.
“Pride Of Dubai was the other one, he was very strong late.”
Connections of the Peter & Paul Snowden-trained Street Cry colt Pride Of Dubai are set to pay the $55,000 late entry by Monday to get the youngster into Blue Diamond calculations after his barnstorming effort in colts and geldings’ Prelude on the weekend.
He finished a nose off Of The Brave, the $7 third pick for the Blue Diamond Stakes now, having settled at the back of the back before calmly making his way through the field in an effort that certainly caught Smerdon’s attention.
The latest Blue Diamond Stakes order of entry is led by Fontiton with $363,750 in eligible earnings, the three-time winner ridden just off the pace in the Prelude for fillies on Saturday before powering home for a dominant one and three-quarter length victory.
Of The Brave ($163,250) is the only other two-year-old exempt from elimination for his Prelude success.
Sampeah ($62,250) is also assured of a start sitting eighth on the prize money order of entry meaning one of the gallopers Smerdon fears most is a likely rival in the Blue Diamond Stakes field.
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