The countdown to the Sydney Spring Racing...
Victoria’s premier horseman Darren Weir is set to make his Ladbrokes Blue Diamond Stakes debut in 2018 saddling-up his smart colt Native Solider in Saturday’s Caulfield feature.
A well-bred son of 2011 Blue Diamond champion Sepoy, Native Solider is set to be the first runner for the prolific Melbourne Cup winning trainer in the Group 1 $1.5 million Ladbrokes Blue Diamond Stakes (1200m) on the weekend.
The chestnut has had five career starts to date for two wins and a third, but is yet to salute in black-type company.
Native Solider was last seen running two lengths back third to Written By in the Group 3 Blue Diamond C&G Prelude (1100m) on February 10.
The pre-field Blue Diamond Stakes odds at race sponsor Ladbrokes.com.au list the up-and-comer as a $13 chance with markets co-led by Tony McEvoy’s Spirit Of Boom filly Kinky Boom and the Godolphin-raced Prelude runner-up Plague Stone at $7.
A $160,000 buy from last year’s Gold Coast Magic Millions Yearling Sale, Native Solider has been bypassed the $2 million Magic Millions 2YO Classic in January in favour of a Blue Diamond bid.
“We bought him to run in the Magic Millions,” Weir told AAP this week.
“He probably nearly would have snuck into the field but the owners were a bit keen to have a go at this. So it’s good.
“We never bought two-year-old types so he was sort of the start of trying to buy a bit better two-year-old types.
“I just reckon he deserves his spot in the race.”
Jockey Brad Rawiller chases his first Blue Diamond Stakes winning ride back aboard Native Solider after missing the mount in the Prelude when Mark Zahra took over on the lower weight.
“He just got a little bit lost on the corner and that, but he was good,” Weir said of Native Solider’s run in the Prelude, which the master horseman believes the juvenile can improve on this weekend.
The Blue Diamond C&G Prelude winner Written By meanwhile is rated a $7.50 shot to remain undefeated with a third career success.
The Grahame Begg-trained Written Tycoon colt overcame barrier 13 of 13 first-up at the track in the traditional lead-up and chases the double last completed by Sepoy (2011).
It is shaping-up a wide open edition of the Ladbrokes Blue Diamond Stakes this Melbourne Festival of Racing with a further three runners under $10 for the win.
Long Leaf ($8) is the shortest-priced of the David Hayes-led Lindsay Park contingent.
Hall of Famer Hayes has enjoyed six wins in the race including the success of last year’s winning filly Catchy (2017) who he trained in partnership with son Ben and nephew Tom Dabernig.
Fastnet Rock colt Long Leaf is undefeated leading into the feature, the three-time winner’s latest start producing a January 27 win in the Listed Blue Diamond C&G Preview (1000m).
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