Paying the $55,000 late entry proved a winning move for the connections of the now very valuable colt Pride Of Dubai who won the Blue Diamond Stakes 2015 for Team Snowden.
Peter Snowden has enjoyed two wins in recent years in the Caulfield classic for two-year-olds with Sepoy (2011) and again 12 months ago with Earthquake (2014) when training for Darley, now Godolphin.
He went back-to-back in the $1 million Group 1 Blue Diamond Stakes (1200m) this Melbourne Autumn Racing Carnival but this time in partnership with his son Paul in their own right.
“It’s always great to win these races,” Paul Snowden said.
“It’s our first group of horses (owner Sheikh Mohammed Bin Khalifa Al Maktoum) has given us so a big result.
“We’re very, very happy.”
There were only two single figure hopes in the markets at Ladbrokes.com.au for this year’s Blue Diamond Stakes, betting firmly led by Robert Smerdon’s undefeated filly Fontiton.
She came off a win the BD Fillies Prelude and settled right behind the leaders on the rails in a pace set by Prompt Return and Miss Gidget.
On the straight Fontition and Mark Zahra were fighting to get into the clear, closing the early gap on the run home for Exceed And Excel colt Pride Of Dubai and his jockey Damian Browne who won last year aboard Earthquake.
But in a gallant performance from a lightly-raced youngster with plenty of upside, Pride Of Dubai ($6) fought back and held off a fast-finishing Reemah who came storming home down the outside and briefly looked like scoring a massive upset as a $101 outsider.
“If he didn’t win today, he’d have bene a certainty beaten,” Snowden said.
“He proved a worthy winner.”
Finishing off the Blue Diamond Stakes trifecta in third was then Reemah’s stablemate, the fellow David Hayes & Tom Dabernig-trained Lake Geneva ($15) ridden by four-time winning jockey Dwayne Dunn who won the race four years running from 2005 – 2008.
A maiden going into the race, Pride Of Dubai came out a valuable winner having been strong through the wire, missing the run at a crucial time during the race but still having the audacity to surge through and defy Reemah who had the momentum.
“He was a little bit tardy,” Browne said.
“But we followed the favourite and got a good run there.”
Pride Of Dubai broke the winning streak of fillies in the race, the first male Blue Diamond winner since Sepoy for Snowden four years ago.
He was also the first non-favourite to take it out with the punters’ picks winning every edition from 2011 until 2014.
Third on debut at Rosehill over 1100m in December, Pride Of Dubai earned his late entry into the stallion-making Blue Diamond Stakes field with his gutsy second to Of The Brave in the Prelude for colts and geldings at the track a fortnight ago.
“His attitude is second to none,” Snowden added.
“He is just so quiet…a little girl could ride him. That’s what type of horse he is.
“He still has so much to learn.”
The Snowdens will now go into discussions of where to next, but look very likely to take this year’s Blue Diamond Stakes winner to Sydney to chase more Group 1 glory.
Options include of course the coveted $3.5 million Group 1 Golden Slipper Stakes (1200m) at Rosehill Gardens on March 21.
Snowden though indicated Pride Of Dubai looked a good chance for the $1 million Group 1 ATC Sires’ Produce Stakes (1400m) at Royal Randwick on April 4 during The Championships as well as the $400,000 Group 1 Champagne Stakes (1600m) over the mile back at the track a fortnight later.
“Yeah, we’ll talk about it late this afternoon,” he said.
“He has Sires’ Produce and Champagne written all over him and I don’t want to waste that.”
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2015 Blue Diamond Stakes Results & Finishing Order
Caulfield Race 8 – 28/02/2015
|1||7||PRIDE OF DUBAI||Peter & Paul Snowden||Damian Browne||–||4||56.5kg||$6|
|2||15||REEMAH||David Hayes & Tom Dabernig||Chris Symons||0.2L||12||54.5kg||$101|
|3||13||LAKE GENEVA||Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes||Dwayne Dunn||1.95L||10||54.5kg||$13|
|4||4||MANHATTAN BLUES||Tony McEvoy||Nicholas Hall||2.95L||13||56.5kg||$31|
|5||8||FONTITON||Robert Smerdon||Mark Zahra||3.35L||1||54.5kg||$2.25F|
|6||14||AIR APPARENT||David Hayes & Tom Dabernig||Damian Lane||4.6L||3||54.5kg||$19|
|7||1||STOKER||Tony McEvoy||Damien Oliver||4.8L||5||56.5kg||$9.50|
|8||5||SAMPEAH||John O’Shea||Chad Schofield||4.9L||11||56.5kg||$16|
|9||11||MISS GIDGET||Colin & Cindy Alderson||Ben Melham||6.15L||9||54.5kg||$26|
|10||6||BANTAM||John O’Shea||Jamie Mott||6.25L||2||56.5kg||$101|
|11||9||THURLOW||Robert Smerdon||Craig Williams||11.25L||7||54.5kg||$15|
|12||2||OF THE BRAVE||Mark Riley||Stephen Baster||12L||8||56.5kg||$12|
|13||10||FLAMBOYANT LASS||Gai Waterhouse||Glen Boss||14.25L||14||54.5kg||$21|
|14||3||PROMPT RETURN||Danny O’Brien||James Winks||15.25L||6||56.5kg||$81|
|–||12||CLAUDIA JEAN||David Hayes & Tom Dabernig||Michael Walker||–||0||–||–|