The Chairman’s Stakes Saturday week at Caulfield Racecourse is confirmed as the final lead-up run into the 2016 Blue Diamond Stakes on February 27 for the early favourite Extreme Choice.
The Mick Price-trained Not A Single Doubt colt caught the eye on debut in Sydney on December 12 when scoring an emphatic two length $500,000 Inglis Nursery (1000m) win at Randwick.
He made his first public appearance since with a Caulfield jumpout on Tuesday morning that impressed Price.
“Damien Oliver trialled him here at Caulfield and he went really well,” he told Racing Ahead on RSN.
“He didn’t trial like a runaway two-year-old which we’ve already seen from him so I didn’t need to see him trial like that.”
The youngster is being kept very safe in betting for the $1.5 million Group 1 Ladbrokes Blue Diamond Stakes (1200m).
Extreme Choice sits top of the latest Blue Diamond Stakes odds at the race sponsor Ladbrokes.com.au paying $6 to hand local Caulfield trainer Price with his second win after earlier success with smart filly Samaready (2012).
Instead of heading into the Melbourne Autumn Racing Carnival classic via the traditional path in the $200,000 Group 2 Blue Diamond Prelude races over 1100m on February 13, Price will run Extreme Choice a week earlier and give him three weeks between that and the Group 1 assignment.
The $150,000 Group 3 Chairman’s Stakes (1100m) runs on February 6 and no Blue Diamond Stakes winner has backed up directly from that race in over 30 years, but Price is confident in his decision.
“I didn’t see a need to be banging him around in the (Blue Diamond) Previews and Preludes,” he said.
“If I run on the sixth it gives me three weeks into the Blue Diamond.
“He should be very, very hard to beat Saturday week. I think it will be a nice run into the Blue Diamond.”
The last Blue Diamond Stakes winner to not come out of either a Preview or Prelude run was the Danny O’Brien-trained Star Witness (2010) who had a final lead-up at Flemington winning the Listed Talindert Stakes.
Price also has Flying Artie on the Blue Diamond path this season, the Artie Schiller colt running a very close second to Power Trip on debut in Flemington’s Group 3 Maribyrnong Plate (1000m) during the Melbourne Cup Carnival last November.
Only rated a $26 chance in futures Blue Diamond Stakes betting, the up-and-comer is down to trial at Geelong on Monday as is Price’s stable star Tarzino.
Winner of the Group 1 Victoria Derby (2500m) in the spring, Tavistock colt Tarzino runs in the first trial of the morning over 1200m ahead of his autumn campaign targeting the $750,000 Group 1 Australian Guineas (1600m) at Flemington on March 5.
Futures Australian Guineas odds have Tarzino at $11 to win, with Price naming the Group 1 C.F. Orr Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on February 13 as the three-year-old’s likely first-up run.
Also on the cards for Tarzino is a trip to Sydney for a shot at the Group 1 Rosehill Guineas (2000m) and the Group 1 Australian Derby (2400m) at Royal Randwick.
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