The Ron Quinton-trained Royal Celebration is one...
This Saturday’s racing action in Melbourne is headlined by a strong line-up of two-year-olds in the 2018 Ladbrokes Blue Diamond Stakes, tips and updated odds on the autumn classic detailed below.
Five juveniles in the capacity field are under double-figures at Ladbrokes.com.au in the latest markets on this season’s Group 1 $1.5 million Ladbrokes Blue Diamond Stakes (1200m).
Out to be the sixth favourite in eight years to get the job done for the punters is the Lindsay Park-trained Fastnet Rock colt Long Leaf, undefeated to date and paying $6.50 to keep his flawless record in check.
His latest victory was on January 27 in the Listed Blue Diamond C&G Preview (1000m) so he needs to rise in both class and distance for his fresh run in the Group 1 on Saturday.
It has eight years since a Blue Diamond Stakes winner jumped at double-figures when Star Witness saluted in 2010 at $10.
Along with the favourite Long Leaf, in barrier seven with dual Blue Diamond winning hoop Kerrin McEvoy in the saddle, the other best in betting are the fillies Oohood (&.50) and Ennis Hill ($8).
Tony McEvoy’s daughter of I Am Invincible Oohood is out to break her maiden status after a trio of placings, the latest of which saw her just a half-length beaten in the Group 2 Blue Diamond Fillies Prelude (1100m) on February 10.
Ennis Hill is the genuine early Blue Diamond Stakes betting market mover, another of the four-starters for Lindsay Park who won the race last year with Catchy (2017) and whose head trainer David Hayes boasts an impressive six wins in the race overall to date.
She is drawn a treat in barrier four and comes off a lead-up success in Caulfield’s Group 3 Chairman’s Stakes (1000m) at the start of the month, the Fastnet Rock filly now chasing a double Extreme Choice (2016) did only two years back.
Earlier in the week we published our comprehensive Ladbrokes Blue Diamond Stakes 2018 Form Guide & Betting Preview, our insider tips below based on the race facts and stats uncovered there.
#13 Ennis Hill ($8)
This is a wide-open race and a case can be made for plenty, but it is hard to knock the Lindsay Park stable and an in-form filly. A daughter of Fastnet Rock out to go back-to-back for the team and her Chairman’s Stakes win here earlier in the month was impressive. The Prelude form has stacked up more in recent years, but this double was completed by Extreme Choice (2016) and think Ennis Hill has the most improvement. Ideal barrier (4) helps, the most successful in the race since 1983, and seven of the past eight champions came off a lead-up win. Was on pace last time out and gets a similar pattern here from the alley. Market mover and happy to follow the savvy punters.
#4 Prairie Fire ($9.50)
This progressive Snitzel colt is prepared by dual Blue Diamond winning trainer Mick Price, so the stable knows what it takes to prepare a smart two-year-old. Solid on debut when third to Ennis Hill in the Chairman’s and earned a shot at the Group 1 breaking his maiden status next-up in last Saturday’s Listed Talindert Stakes (1100m) at Flemington. That form hasn’t held in the Blue Diamond since Star Witness (2010) did the double, but barrier one certainly puts Prairie Fire in contention. Was picking up pace late in the Talindert and presents fit on the quick back-up. Hit the line well and looks like the 1200m will suit. Mark Zahra retains the ride in another plus.
#1 Long Leaf ($6.50)
Deserving favourite who is yet to disappoint winning his three career openers. The top fancies have dominated the Blue Diamond results over the past decade and the money is there for this colt to be the next. Has purposely been kept fresh since the Preview win a month ago and needs to prove himself over further than 1000m. All the others have had a go, his turn to step-up and should handle it.
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