The countdown to the Sydney Spring Racing...
The fillies dominate numbers-wise in this Saturday’s 2020 Neds Blue Diamond Stakes field with nine girls taking on the boys in a capacity 16-horse line-up.
The richest race for two-year-olds during the Melbourne Autumn Racing Carnival, the Group 1 $1.5 million Neds Blue Diamond Stakes (1200m) at Caulfield is shaping up as a stellar edition this weekend.
Favourite in Blue Diamond Stakes betting at Ladbrokes.com.au is the undefeated Anthony Freedman-trained Hanseatic, while the flying Away Game is one of the best fancied of the fillies.
Freedman and jockey Luke Currie combined last year to win the Blue Diamond Stakes with the filly Lyre (2019) and this year they are chasing back-to-back wins with outstanding Street Boss colt Hanseatic.
A winner of all three of his starts to date the class chestnut comes via the traditional lead-up races having completed the Blue Diamond Preview – Blue Diamond Prelude double over the summer.
He now looks to complete the hat-trick on Saturday, the last colt to do so being the mighty Sepoy (2011) nearly a decade ago.
Of the seven male juveniles in the Blue Diamond Stakes field, Hanseatic is the only last start winner with the danger being the progressive Peter & Paul Snowden-trained Rulership.
Mark Zahra, fresh off his upset Group 1 Black Caviar Lightning win last Saturday at Flemington on Gytrash, partners Team Snowden’s I Am Invincible colt who comes off a solid second to Hanseatic in the Prelude on February 8.
Pride Of Dubai (2nd in 2015) was the last Blue Diamond Stakes winner to improve on a place in the Prelude.
Co-trainer Peter Snowden chases his fourth Blue Diamond victory with Rulership this season following his previous wins with: Sepoy (2010), Earthquake (2014) and Pride Of Dubai (2015).
The fillies have an equal winning record in the Blue Diamond Stakes results over the past decade with five victories: Samaready (2012), Miracles Of Life (2013), Earthquake (2014), Catchy (2017) and Lyre (2019).
This year it is the Ciaron Maher & David Eustace-trained Away Game looking most likely to beat the colts and geldings in the Blue Diamond Stakes following her excellent last start win in Sydney.
The well-bred daughter of Snitzel ran fourth to Hanseatic on debut at Sandown in the Listed Merson Cooper Stakes (1000m) last November and has won all three of her subsequent starts.
She was impressive at the Gold Cost on January 11 with a nearly two length upset in the $2 million Magic Millions 2YO Classic (1200m) with Luke Currie aboard.
Tom Marquand was over for her last start at Randwick on February 1, Away Game dominating the Group 3 Widden Stakes (1100m) by over two lengths.
She is now looking to bring that form to Melbourne in the Group 1 with Jye McNeil booked for the ride.
Kusi (2003) and True Jewels (2001) are the only Blue Diamond Stakes winners in the past 20 years to come off a non-Melbourne lead-up.
The Maher & Eustace stable has been on fire this season and along with Away Game they are represented in the Blue Diamond on Saturday by five other runners including fellow fillies Muntaseera and A Beautiful Night.
A Beautiful Night won the Blue Diamond Fillies Preview at the end of January before crossing ninth in the Prelude last start and has Linda Meech coming aboard this weekend.
Damien Oliver has the mount on Muntaseera looking for his first Blue Diamond Stakes winning ride since that on the Lee Freedman-trained Alinghi back in 2004.
Another daughter of boom sire I Am Invincible, Muntaseera comes off a first-up second behind Letzbeglam in the Prelude when beaten over two lengths.
Brazen Beau colt Ideas Man and Tanker, a son of the 2015 Blue Diamond winner Pride Of Dubai, round-out the Maher / Eustace runners.
Along with Hanseatic, Letzbeglam meanwhile the other undefeated two-year-old in the race looking to continue her flawless record.
The Trent Busuttin & Natalie Young-trained Snitzel filly stepped-up in class from a winning debut at Werribee to score a boilover at huge odds in the Blue Diamond Fillies Prelude last time out.
Brett Prebble retains the ride looking to complete the double that Lyre achieved last autumn.
Barriers to be drawn shortly.
2020 Blue Diamond Stakes Field
|#||Form (Last 10)||Horse||Trainer||Jockey||Barrier||Weight||Hcp. Rating|
|1||1×5||IDEAS MAN||Ciaron Maher & David Eustace||Damian Lane||0||56.5kg||72|
|2||1×11||HANSEATIC||Anthony Freedman||Luke Currie||0||56.5kg||84|
|3||72163||RATHLIN||Ciaron Maher & David Eustace||Ben Melham||0||56.5kg||74|
|4||15×86||TANKER||Ciaron Maher & David Eustace||John Allen||0||56.5kg||72|
|5||31×4||TAGALOA||Trent Busuttin & Natalie Young||Michael Walker||0||56.5kg||70|
|6||12||RULERSHIP||Peter & Paul Snowden||Mark Zahra||0||56.5kg||76|
|7||59×25||GLENFIDDICH||Robbie Griffiths||Glen Boss||0||56.5kg||67|
|8||4111||AWAY GAME||Ciaron Maher & David Eustace||Jye McNeil||0||54.5kg||78|
|9||2116||A BEAUTIFUL NIGHT||Ciaron Maher & David Eustace||Ms Linda Meech||0||54.5kg||76|
|10||1×2||ARYAAF||David & B Hayes & T Dabernig||Luke Nolen||0||54.5kg||78|
|11||11||LETZBEGLAM||Trent Busuttin & Natalie Young||Brett Prebble||0||54.5kg||76|
|12||21×2||MUNTASEERA||Ciaron Maher & David Eustace||Damien Oliver||0||54.5kg||72|
|13||21||PERSONAL||David & B Hayes & T Dabernig||Craig Williams||0||54.5kg||68|
|14||14||RIVERINA STORM||David & B Hayes & T Dabernig||Dwayne Dunn||0||54.5kg||63|
|15||44||FAYERRA||Anthony Cummings||Michael Dee||0||54.5kg||62|
|16||8×6||DIFFICULT||John Moloney||Jordan Childs||0||54.5kg||60|
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