Young Godolphin-raced filly Calliope has opened short-priced favourite to win first-up in Melbourne this weekend with a victory in Caulfield’s 2016 Ladbrokes Blue Diamond Fillies Prelude.
Rated a $9 shot in futures betting at Ladbrokes.com.au to beat home the boys on February 27 in the $1.5 million Group 1 Ladbrokes Blue Diamond Stakes (1200m), the John O’Shea-trained Exceed And Excel leads the markets for her returning run on Saturday’s CF Orr Stakes Day card.
She won the Listed Gimcrack Stakes (1000m) on debut at Randwick last October and currently pays $2.90 to retain her undefeated status in her first Melbourne run in the $200,000 Group 2 Ladbrokes Blue Diamond Prelude (F) (1100m).
Thirteen two-year-old fillies are in the mix, Calliope drawn ideally in barrier five for jockey Steven Arnold.
There are currently five other single figure hopes in the Blue Diamond Fillies Prelude odds paying between $7 – $9.50 to upset the favourite.
The second pick is undefeated New Approach filly Sword Of Light ($7) prepared by Mathew Ellerton & Simon Zahra.
She won at Echuca on debut last December by over five lengths in an impressive runaway effort before her Caulfield win on Australia Day in the Group 3 Blue Diamond Fillies Preview (1000m).
This weekend she has suffered a blow drawing the outside barrier (13) for jockey Damian Lane to overcome, but she is still in with a chance.
At $8 are Concealer and Zamzam drawn in barriers eight and six respectively.
Adelaide horseman Tony McEvoy prepares Nicconi filly Concealer who won a Group 3 over 1000m at Flemington last Melbourne Cup Day, while the David Hayes & Tom Dabernig-trained Zamzam comes off a January 29 win at Moonee Valley that she blitzed by two lengths.
The other hopes under $10 are early market mover Samara Dancer ($14 into $9) who has been the subject of a big betting plunge and the rails-drawn Dream First ($9.50) who gets the run of the race and has also shortened notably in the markets.
Phillip Stokes’s Morphettville visitor Samara Dancer won at home over 1050m in late November before a five length trial win also at home on February 5 ahead of her interstate debut.
Dream First represents Leon & Troy Corstens and comes off a third in the Blue Diamond Preview behind Sword Of Light when beaten under two lengths.
At longer odds but still with genuine claims at an upset in the Blue Diamond Stakes lead-up include the Gai Waterhouse-trained daughter of Redoute’s Choice Thyme For Roses ($14) and the nicely-drawn Northern Meteor filly Quick Feet ($16) in barrier two for Peter & Paul Snowden.
Check out the full Blue Diamond Fillies Prelude 2016 betting odds below then visit the race sponsor Ladbrokes.com.au for the best markets on this weekend’s lead-up races and the Blue Diamond at the end of the month!