After a tense wait for connections of Blue Diamond Stakes 2015 hopeful Of The Brave, disqualified trainer Mark Riley has overnight been granted a reprieve from the VCAT leaving him free to train the horse for this weekend’s Group 1 major.
Yesterday there were serious concerns whether the Starspangledbanner colt would be allowed to line-up in Saturday’s $1 million Group 1 Blue Diamond Stakes (1200m) at Caulfield Racecourse following the hefty three year ban placed on his trainer Riley on Monday.
The owners, who also suffered a blow when Riley’s offsider Logan McGill was rejected by Racing Victoria stewards to take over training, had until 10am today to place the Blue Diamond Colts & Geldings Prelude winner in the care of another trainer.
Overnight however at 7pm Riley was granted a stay of proceedings in the 11th hour until Tuesday March 3 at the VCAT hearing.
Riley, who informed the horse’s owners via email about the events of the hearing where a number of “serious points” were discussed, will seek a further stay of proceedings on Monday against his disqualification that he is appealing.
“We would like to thank our legal team,” Riley said.
“We would also like to thank all the owners, in particular those of Of The Brave – this has been a very stressful time for all of you leading into Saturday’s big race and we can’t thank you enough for your solid support right down to the wire!
“Good luck to all of you with runners over the coming days and thank you again for everyone’s continued support throughout a very stressful period.”
There are 15 horses lining up in Victoria’s richest race for two-year-olds on Saturday with the Robert Smerdon-trained Blue Diamond Fillies Preview & Prelude races winner Fontiton the $2.45 favourite through Ladbrokes.com.au.
Following the undefeated daughter of Turffontein in the latest Blue Diamond Stakes odds is then the Peter & Paul Snowden-trained Pride Of Dubai ($5.50) who was a late entry into the race on Monday at a cost of $55,000 to connections.
Of The Brave, who beat Pride Of Dubai home by a nose in the Group 3 BD C&G Prelude (1100m) at Caulfield a fortnight ago, is then out from $9 to $10 to win and take away the pain for the past week for connections.
If successful from barrier nine with Stephen Baster aboard on Saturday, Of The Brave will earn Riley a $60,000 pay check for his 10% share of the Blue Diamond Stakes $600,000 first prize.
To get behind Of The Brave on Saturday and check out the full markets for the weekend’s Melbourne major, visit our preferred online bookmaker Ladbrokes.com.au today who are offering Best Tote or SP + 20% on your Blue Diamond Stakes winnings this year!