Murwillumbah trainer Matthew Dunn is looking...
Undefeated Makfi colt Run Naan is the headliner out of four likely Ladbrokes Blue Diamond Stakes 2018 runners for Flemington horseman Tony McEvoy this Melbourne Festival of Racing.
McEvoy is ramping up the pre-campaign preparations of his two-year-old autumn contenders who are chasing a shot at the Group 1 $1.5 million Ladbrokes Blue Diamond Stakes (1200m) at Caulfield Racecourse on February 24.
Last autumn McEvoy saddled-up Roomooz (8th) and Aspect (9th) for unplaced runs behind gun Lindsay Park-trained filly Catchy in the Blue Diamond Stakes results.
He is hoping for a better performance from his contingent this season and currently the standout in the mix is Run Naan who could be joined in the field by Oohood, Roobeena and Al Naifa.
Owned by Sheikh Mohammed Bin Khalifa Al Maktoum, who races all four of McEvoy’s Blue Diamond hopefuls, the bay colt has enjoyed two wins from as many starts.
His latest victory was at Flemington on November 11 during the Melbourne Cup Carnival in the Group 3 Maribyrnong Plate (1000m).
Joined by his other Blue Diamond-bound stablemates, Run Naan was put through his paces at the Werribee jump-outs on Monday morning and impressed McEvoy with his run.
“Run Naan was very good; he was cruising around behind them. He’s coming along nicely,” McEvoy told Racing Victoria.
“Oohood tried really nicely, as did Roobeena and Al Naifa, they’re three quality juveniles.
“Al Naifa trialled really well, so I’ve got lots to look forward to, and now I’ve got to put them on the right path for their grand finals.”
Run Naan currently sits as a $17 shot in pre-field Blue Diamond Stakes odds at race sponsor Ladbrokes.com.au following the release of the second acceptances earlier in the month.
McEvoy confirmed Run Naan would follow the traditional path to the Blue Diamond via a first-up run on January 27 in the Listed $150,000 Blue Diamond Preview (1000m) and the Group 3 $200,000 Blue Diamond Prelude (1100m) on February 10.
“He’s going to go to the Preview and the Prelude,” he confirmed.
Oohood is the other best fancied in Ladbrokes Blue Diamond Stakes betting, the I Am Invincible filly a $21 chance after her second to Long Leaf on debut in Sandown’s Listed Merson Cooper Stakes (1000m) on November 18.
The filly was narrowly beaten that day after blowing the jump, something she did again on Monday morning in the trials.
“I’ll probably trial her again, she just acted up a little bit in the barriers today, and she missed the start today as she did at Sandown,” McEvoy said.
“I believe it cost her the race that day. I believe she needs a barrier blanket, so she’ll need to trial again.”
Exceed And Excel filly Roobeena ($34), second to Setsuna on Melbourne Cup Day in the Gorup 3 Ottawa Stakes (1000m), and Redoute’s Choice filly Al Naifa ($34) are both at the same price for the Blue Diamond win.
It could be a huge autumn for McEvoy in the two-year-old races with the horseman also behind current favourite for the Group 1 $3.5 million Golden Slipper (1200m) in Sydney, Sunlight.
Sunlight shot to the top of all-in Golden Slipper Stakes betting after her impressive Magic Millions Classic win at the Gold Coast last Saturday.
“This is right up there. I’ve grown up with the two big two-year-old races being the Blue Diamond and Golden Slipper. This Magic Millions is right up there with those two now – it’s one of the big three,” McEvoy said after winning the $2 million classic.
“As a trainer, all the breeders are gearing their horses to get them to the Magic Millions.
“Gerry Harvey and Katie Page, what they’ve done with this raceday is incredible. And everyone who is anyone is there.
“So these are the races we need to be competing in, and to win it felt really good and I want to do it again.
“It’s a very significant race not only for trainers and owners for the huge money, but for breeders.
“Zoustar, a first-season stallion, has a Magic Millions winner, and now he’s got the favourite for the Golden Slipper. It’s what our industry is built on.”
To back McEvoy’s top autumn youngsters at the right price in future Blue Diamond and Golden Slipper 2018 odds, visit Ladbrokes.com.au today.
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