First declarations for next year’s Ladbrokes Blue Diamond Stakes 2016 at Caulfield Racecourse are now out with 618 youngsters heading towards the million dollar classic in late February.
Last year there were 501 first acceptances into the $1 million Group 1 Blue Diamond Stakes (1200m), subsequently won this February gone by the Peter & Paul Snowden-trained Pride Of Dubai, but the now Ladbrokes.com.au sponsored feature attracted over 100 more for next Melbourne Autumn Racing Carnival’s edition.
Nominations taken back in July for the 2016 Blue Diamond Stakes were up 12% with 1343 juveniles in the mix, a figure cut by more than half with the Melbourne Racing Club (MRC) taking the first round of acceptances this week.
Among the first acceptors are six late additional entries into the two-year-olds’ feature, which has attracted the highest number of early declarations since 2007 being up 16% on 12 months ago.
Heading the acceptances numbers-wise is Lindsay Park’s David Hayes & Tom Dabernig with 63 potential runners.
While he is yet to win the race in partnership with his nephew Dabernig, on his own Hayes has enjoyed a record five Blue Diamond Stakes wins.
His first two came back-to-back in 1990-91 with Mahaasin and Canonise respectively.
A notable drought followed before Hayes dominated the sprint feature with three straight winners with Nadeem (2006), Sleek Chassis (2007) and most recently Reaan (2008).
Also dominant in the Blue Diamond Stakes winners’ list in recent years is Peter Snowden with three wins in the past five years.
Along with the reigning champion Pride Of Dubai who Snowden trained with his son Paul, he also won with Sepoy (2011) and Earthquake (2014) when he was head trainer for Darley – now Godolphin.
The job Snowden left is now filled by Sydney’s John O’Shea, and in total the Godolphin powerhouse have 46 remaining Blue Diamond hopefuls for this autumn, which is the second highest of any stable.
Included in their charge is late nominee Gloriette who debuted with a good third behind Power Trip at Flemington during the Melbourne Cup Carnival in the Group 3 Maribyrnong Plate (1000m) on November 7.
Another exciting O’Shea-trained Blue Diamond prospect this season is Exceed And Excel filly Calliope who won the Listed Gimcrack Stakes (1000m) at Randwick on October 3.
The other best represented trainers / stables to follow are: Mick Price (45) who won in 2012 with Samaready, Hawkes Racing (34) with Hall of Famer John Hawkes winning back in 2003 with Kusi, Gai Waterhouse (33) after her maiden win, the aforementioned Team Snowden (31) and Sydney’s best Chris Waller (31) who like Waterhouse is also yet to saddle-up a Blue Diamond champion.
The leading sires represented in the latest Blue Diamond entries are: Snitzel (45), Fastnet Rock (33), Sebring (30) and Sepoy (23) who, as mentioned, won the race for Snowden in 2011.
Last year’s winning sire was Street Cry.
Very tentative early Blue Diamond Stakes betting markets at bookmakers around the country meanwhile are led by Capitalist for Team Snowden.
The Written Tycoon colt caught the eye when winning Randwick’s Listed Breeders’ Plate (1000m) on debut in Sydney this October by an impressive three lengths.
Also prepared by the Snowdens is Choisir colt Defcon, second pick in the all-in markets, who is unraced by won a smart Randwick trial in September.
Other futures favourites to take out next February’s Blue Diamond Stakes include the Tony McEvoy-trained Adelaide-based daughter of Nicconi Concealer who won the Group 3 Ottawa Stakes (1000m) on Melbourne Cup Day this spring, fellow filly Missrock for Robbie Laing and another hope for Angaston’s McEvoy in Commands colt Manuel.
2016 Blue Diamond Stakes second acceptances close on January 12.
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