A good barrier draw will assist Champagne...
The Melbourne Racing Club have released the official Ladbrokes Blue Diamond Stakes 2018 second acceptances with 220 youngsters still officially in the mix for the February autumn classic.
Up from 209 at this stage last season, the second declarations for the Group 1 $1.5 million Ladbrokes Blue Diamond Stakes (1200m) closed on Tuesday ahead of the Caulfield feature run on Saturday February 24.
Heading the Blue Diamond Stakes second acceptances numbers-wise with 26 entries is the David Hayes-led Lindsay Park operation who won the race last Melbourne Festival of Racing with class filly Catchy (2017).
Among the standout Lindsay Park-trained chances in the mix this season is Snitzel filly Nomothaj, winner of Flemington’s Listed Maribyrnong Trial Plate (1000m) last October.
Nomothaj has her second career run this Saturday at the Gold Coast in Queensland contesting the $2 million Magic Millions 2YO Classic (1200m).
Godolphin Australia have a dominant hand with 18 entries including Maribyrnong Trial runner-up Ranier and Encryption who was second in the Group 3 Maribyrnong Plate (1000m) during the Melbourne Cup Carnival.
Lonhro colt Ranier is one of the key early favourites in pre-field Ladbrokes Blue Diamond Stakes betting along with Lindsay Park filly Qaflia.
A daughter of Not A Single Doubt, Qaflia won her debut at Caulfield in mid-October before a brave fourth behind Setsuna in the Group 3 Ottawa Stakes (1000m) on Melbourne Cup Day.
Also well-represented with 17 entries is Robbie Griffiths, Tony McEvoy with 18 in the mix including Magic Millions 2YO Classic hopefuls Crockett and Sunlight, and local horseman Mick Price (19) who boasts two previous wins including Extreme Choice (2016).
Sydney’s leading lady of racing Gai Waterhouse will continue her hunt for a maiden Blue Diamond Stakes trophy with 10 entries she co-trains in partnership with Adrian Bott.
Other noteworthy second Blue Diamond acceptors include Lindsay Park’s Merson Cooper Stakes winning Fastnet Rock colt Long Leaf, McEvoy’s Group 3 Maribyrnong Plate winner Run Naan and the Hawkes Racing-trained Prince Of Caviar who is an unraced colt by Sebring out of superstar mare Black Caviar.
The first round of official Ladbrokes Blue Diamond Stakes lead-up races take place at Caulfield on January 27 with the Listed $150,000 Blue Diamond Colts & Geldings Preview (1000m) and the Group 3 $150,000 Blue Diamond Fillies Preview (1000m).
The 2018 Blue Diamond Stakes third acceptances are open until Tuesday January 30 and updated odds are now available at Ladbrokes.com.au.
View the full 2018 Ladbrokes Blue Diamond Stakes second acceptances by following the link to the MRC website.
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