The countdown to the Sydney Spring Racing...
The race towards the Blue Diamond Stakes is on in earnest and this weekend the 2018 Ladbrokes Blue Diamond Prelude for colts and geldings features a 14-starter field of young hopefuls.
Due to run as Caulfield Race 3 at 1:40pm (AEDT) on the CF Orr Stakes Day card, the Group 3 $200,000 Ladbrokes Blue Diamond Prelude (C&G) (1100m) field features 10 two-year-olds with previous race experience and four on debut.
The Blue Diamond C&G Prelude odds at Ladbrokes.com.au feature five single-figure fancies with Plague Stone the $3.70 favourite following a gun barrier four draw.
Dual Blue Diamond Stakes winning jockey Kerrin McEvoy partners the highly-spruiked Lonhro colt from the Godolphin stable who is eyeing a Group 1, interstate, juveniles’ double this autumn.
The James Cummings-trained Plague Stone is high-up futures betting for both the Group 1 $1.5 million Ladbrokes Blue Diamond Stakes (1200m) back at Caulfield on February 24 as well as Sydney’s famous Group 1 $3.5 million Golden Slipper (1200m) a month later at Rosehill.
On debut the colt finished runner-up to Secret Lady in last November’s Golden Gift (1100m) before his impressive 4.8 length winning hit-out at Warwick Farm on February 1 over 807m.
Yet to run the Melbourne way of racing, the bookies are taking no chances with the well-drawn Plague Stone who shapes up as a winning hope fresh.
Occupying the second line of Ladbrokes Blue Diamond Colts & Geldings Prelude betting at $4.50 is the Mathew Ellerton & Simon Zahra-trained Charge Forward colt Ollivander.
The well-bred two-year-old won his debut at Caulfield over 1100m in mid-December before the credible second to Long Leaf in January 27 in the Listed Blue Diamond Preview (1000m).
The 1000m was short of this colt’s best and back up in distance on the weekend hitting peak fitness, Ollivander and regular rider Chris Symons could prove hard to beat from the excellent barrier two draw.
Third favourite and the early market mover for Saturday backed in from $7.50 to $6 is the in-form Darren Weir-trained Native Soldier.
The colt is a son of 2011 Blue Diamond Stakes winner Sepoy and chases win number three on the trot.
His latest victory was on Australia Day at The Valley in a 1000m sprint, which he blitzed by nearly three lengths with Brad Rawiller aboard on 58kg.
Native Soldier is up notably in grade on the weekend, but has a very good jockey in Mark Zahra riding from gate eight and the up-and-comer also drops back to 55.5kg at set weights.
Rounding out the single-figure chances are the lightly-raced High Ratio ($7) drawn wide out in gate 13 and dual winner Run Naan ($7.50) from the stables of Tony McEvoy.
Mick Price saddles-up High Ratio and the local horseman has prepared two previous Blue Diamond Stakes winners with Samaready (2012) and Extreme Choice (2016).
He will be looking to uncover a genuine 2018 contender in Fastnet Rock colt High Ratio who won his debut at Bendigo in early December and was brought on fitness-wise with a winning Geelong trial over 1000m in late January.
As for Run Naan, the ultra-consistent Makfi colt is a Group 3 winner at Flemington from the Cup Carnival and is out to improve on his first-up third in the Preview when suffering his first defeat.
See below for the full Ladbrokes Blue Diamond Prelude (C&G) 2018 field, barriers and odds from Ladbrokes.com.au.
2018 Blue Diamond C&G Prelude Field & Odds
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