Red hot favourite for Saturday’s Ladbrokes Blue Diamond Stakes 2016 at Caulfield Racecourse, the Mick Price-trained Extreme Choice has suffered an early blow drawing wide with barrier 13.
A capacity field of two-year-olds run in the $1.5 million Group 1 Ladbrokes Blue Diamond Stakes (1200m) in Melbourne this weekend including Price’s undefeated son of Not A Single Doubt Extreme Choice.
The smart colt was last seen running away to win the Group 3 Chairman’s Stakes (1000m) on February 6 by over four lengths from barrier six of seven, but he faces a much tougher assignment stepping up to elite level class.
He came up with barrier 13 for jockey Craig Newitt, aboard the galloper for the first time in the Blue Diamond Stakes, but will come into 11 if the three emergencies fail to gain a start.
Two of the past six Blue Diamond Stakes winners however jumped from double-digit gates with Star Witness (14 in 2010) and Earthquake (15 in 2014).
Barrier 13 produced recent winners Reaan (2008) and Reward For Effort (2009), while gate 11 last produced a winner back in 2003 with the John Hawkes-trained Kusi.
Price’s other runner and second favourite in Blue Diamond Stakes betting, Flying Artie is drawn even wider out in barrier 17 (into 15), giving the progressive Blue Diamond (C&G) Prelude winner a tough task again after he overcame gate 13 of 13 to win last time out.
Despite the wide draws Extreme Choice ($2.80) and Flying Artie ($3.70) remain the dominant picks through race sponsor Ladbrokes.com.au.
Price’s third runner China Dream has gate 14 with Glen Boss aboard the Snitzel colt who ran third in the Blue Diamond Prelude last time out and is at a roughie’s price of $41 for the upset on Saturday.
Last year’s Blue Diamond Stakes winner Pride Of Dubai jumped from barrier 4 (of 14), the barrier drawn by the Tony McEvoy-trained Hey Doc on Saturday who Kiwi hoop Opie Bosson is over to ride.
Since 1983 the most successful Blue Diamond Stakes barrier producing five winners is barrier four, and Hey Doc could lose the gate coming into three with second emergency Seaburge allocated barrier two.
That would pave the way for the Phillip Stokes-trained Samara Dancer, currently drawn gate five, to come into the coveted barrier as she looks to retain her undefeated status.
The Adelaide-based daughter of Hinchinbrook is two-from-two to date and took out the Blue Diamond Prelude for fillies at the track last start.
She now shoots for the double recently achieved by Earthquake (2014) and Samaready (2012).
Samara Dancer is the $9 fourth favourite in Blue Diamond betting, the other best fancied filly being Blue Diamond Fillies Prelude runner-up Concealer ($6.50) who also hails from South Australia.
The Tony McEvoy-trained Group 3 Melbourne winner is drawn a treat in barrier six one outside her last start conqueror and Mark Zahra retains the ride.
Other big winners in the Ladbrokes Blue Diamond Stakes barrier draw this Melbourne Autumn Racing Carnival include David Hayes & Tom Dabernig’s last start winner at the track and distance Valliano (8), Power Trip (9) who beat home Flying Artie last year before unplaced runs in the Preview (4th) and Prelude (6th) this time in, and Star Turn (10).
Star Witness colt Star Turn represents Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes and comes off a second to Flying Artie in the Group 3 lead-up from a fortnight ago.
Check out the full 2016 Blue Diamond Stakes barriers below then head to Ladbrokes.com.au to back your picks at the hottest odds!
2016 Blue Diamond Stakes Barrier Draw
Caulfield Racecourse – 27/02/2016
|#||Form (Last 10)||Horse||Trainer||Jockey||Barrier||Weight||Hcp. Rating|
|1||11||EXTREME CHOICE||Mick Price||Craig Newitt||13||56.5kg||77|
|2||325×1||VALLIANO||David Hayes & Tom Dabernig||Damian Lane||8||56.5kg||73|
|3||2×1||FLYING ARTIE||Mick Price||Damien Oliver||17||56.5kg||78|
|4||31×2||STAR TURN||Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes||Dwayne Dunn||10||56.5kg||73|
|5||1×46||POWER TRIP||John McArdle||Jamie Mott||9||56.5kg||72|
|6||9×1202||HIGHLAND BEAT||David Hayes & Tom Dabernig||Luke Currie||12||56.5kg||66|
|7||110||HELL OF AN EFFORT||Peter G Moody||Luke Nolen||1||56.5kg||68|
|8||124||HEY DOC||Tony McEvoy||Opie Bosson||4||56.5kg||67|
|9||33||CHINA DREAM||Mick Price||Glen Boss||14||56.5kg||70|
|10||1×1||SAMARA DANCER (NZ)||Phillip Stokes||Dom Tourneur||5||54.5kg||78|
|11||1×2||CONCEALER||Tony McEvoy||Mark Zahra||6||54.5kg||73|
|12||10×6||SWEET SHERRY||Brent Stanley||James Winks||16||54.5kg||72|
|13||26×0||KINETIC DESIGN||Stuart Webb||Ms Michelle Payne||19||54.5kg||66|
|14||19||ZAMZAM||David Hayes & Tom Dabernig||Nicholas Hall||7||54.5kg||67|
|15||63||MISS NYMERIA||Robbie Griffiths||Ryan Maloney||3||54.5kg||70|
|16||1||ARETI||Robbie Griffiths||Craig Williams||15||54.5kg||65|
|17e||44||SELENIA||Robbie Griffiths||Jye McNeil (a)||18||54.5kg||65|
|18e||1||SEABURGE||David Hayes & Tom Dabernig||TBA||2||56.5kg||63|
|19e||4||REVOLVING DOOR||Clinton McDonald||TBA||11||56.5kg||63|