Murwillumbah trainer Matthew Dunn is looking...
Updated Ladbrokes Blue Diamond Stakes 2018 betting markets post-barriers have the Lindsay Park-trained Long Leaf as the new favourite after a favourable barrier seven draw for the weekend’s classic.
Heading the two-year-old racing action of the Melbourne Festival of Racing is Saturday’s Group 1 $1.5 million Ladbrokes Blue Diamond Stakes (1200m), the official barrier draw for which was conducted on Tuesday morning.
After coming up trumps with gate seven, which last produced a winner in 2012 with Samaready, the undefeated Fastnet Rock colt Long Leaf has shot to the top of Blue Diamond Stakes betting at race sponsor Ladbrokes.com.au.
Long Leaf is one of four in the capacity Blue Diamond Stakes field for last year’s winning stable Lindsay Park who took it out with Catchy (2017).
David Hayes, who trains in partnership with his son Ben and nephew Tom Daberning, has also prepared five other Blue Diamond Stakes winners so chases a record seventh in Saturday’s edition.
To date Long Leaf has saluted in his three career runs including the Listed Blue Diamond Preview (1000m) on January 27.
The bay bypassed the Blue Diamond Prelude in favour of being kept fresh for the Group 1 and is now tipped as the one to beat out to add to the excellent recent record of favourites in the race.
In the past seven years, five favourite in Blue Diamond Stakes betting have saluted for the punters most recently Extreme Choice (2016).
There are now two youngsters occupying the second line of betting at an equal $8 to defeat Long Leaf with Plague Stone and Oohood drawn in barriers six and 10 respectively.
Still a maiden after back-to-back seconds including in the Group 3 Blue Diamond C&G Prelude (1100m), the Godolphin-raced Lonhro colt Plague Stone is looking to finally break through with a win this weekend.
He jumps one inside the current favourite, but no Blue Diamond Stakes winner in over 30 years has saluted from gate six.
Plague Stone has also had a change of Blue Diamond Stakes jockeys with Ben Melham called upon for the ride after Mark Zahra jumped off in favour of sticking with the Talindert Stakes winner from last Saturday, Prairie Fire.
As for the well-fancied Oohood, she is the shortest-priced of the fillies in this year’s markets out to be the fifth girl in seven years to beat the colts and geldings in the lucrative clash.
One of five final acceptors for Tony McEvoy and one of three for the stable confirmed in the starting 16, the daughter of I Am Invincible has had three runs for three minor placings.
The latest was to Enbihaar in the Group 2 Blue Diamond Fillies Prelude (1100m) when a half-length beaten and she is set to enjoy the step-up to 1200m in the rematch on the weekend with Luke Currie retaining the ride.
Zahra’s new mount Prairie Fire meanwhile was a big winner at the Blue Diamond Stakes barrier draw, the Mick Price-trained son of Snitzel coming up with the inside alley.
Price is after a third Blue Diamond Stakes trophy and Prairie Fire is paying $9 to hand it to the local horseman on the short back-up.
Rounding out the single-figure fancies in the latest Ladbrokes Blue Diamond Stakes odds are McEvoy’s Inglis Premier winning Spirit Of Boom filly Kinky Boom ($9) to be ridden by last year’s winning hoop Craig Williams, Lindsay Park’s Chairman’s Stakes winning filly from the start of the month Ennis Hill ($9.50) in gate four and the BD C&G Prelude winner Written By ($9.50) who remains a winning hope from a wide barrier 18 draw.
Check out the updated Blue Diamond Stakes 2018 betting odds and options now at Ladbrokes.com.au.
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