The Ben, Will & JD Hayes-trained Cox...
James Cummings and the Godolphin stable enjoyed a clean sweep of the 2023 Blue Diamond Prelude races on CF Orr Day with the team’s progressive filly Exploring taking out the fillies’ edition at Sandown Hillside.
One race earlier the fellow Cummings-trained two-year-old Barber was comprehensive putting his rivals to bed fresh in the Blue Diamond Prelude for the colts and geldings with improvement to come ahead of the Group 1 $1.5 million Ladbrokes Blue Diamond Stakes (1200m) on February 25.
It was the fillies’ division next and the Royal Blue silks were first past the post once again with a daughter of Brazen Beau, Exploring, scoring an all-the-way upset at $15 odds.
Jockey Craig Williams was confident taking the filly straight to the front to lead the Prelude field around.
She was too strong holding off her late challengers to win in an improved effort on her fourth in the Preview when fading the final stages.
After her first career victory on debut at Flemington on New Year’s Day the Prelude success saw Exploring take her record up to two wins from three starts and boost her future value as a broodmare.
She won in 1 minute 3.49 seconds, which was a half-second faster than her stablemate in the boys’ division.
Damien Batters’ Sidestep filly Party For Two ($8.50) from the Sunshine Coast was also really good on-speed finishing second, while emergency runner Extreme Threat from out wide ran third as a 40/1 outsider in the markets.
The bubble however looks to have burst on the one-time Blue Diamond 2023 favourite Charm Stone.
The Price & Kent-trained daughter of I Am Invincible, winner of the Group 3 Ottawa Stakes at Flemington last November, was heading all-in markets for the Grand Final at $5.50 through race sponsor Ladbrokes.com.au before her Prelude loss.
She was given a beautiful run in transit by jockey Mark Zahra but struggled the last 100m and never featured in the finish.
Exploring meanwhile had race fitness on her side, Williams in the saddle and was able to produce something special following her good ride in front.
While looking on the right trajectory to take on the Lakeside circuit and the bend in the Blue Diamond, stable rep Sean Keogh said it would be up to Cummings and the team to decide whether to press on to the Group 1 or keep the filly for other potentially easier races this autumn.
“She’s got a wonderful constitution,” he told Racing.com after the win.
“She was really tough in the Preview with horses either side of her hitting the breeze.
“We didn’t fault on the (front running) tactics on the filly.
“It was great to see her produce another good performance.
“The choices are there now.”
Lyre (2019) was the last filly to complete the Prelude – Blue Diamond Stakes double.
Updated Blue Diamond Stakes odds online have Barber on top at $7 with Exploring rated a $17 chance to defeat her better fancied stablemate.
2023 Blue Diamond Prelude (F) Results & Finishing Order
|1||3||EXPLORING||James Cummings||Craig Williams||4||56kg||$15|
|2||6||PARTY FOR TWO||Damien Batters||Nikita Beriman||1L||12||56kg||$8.50|
|3||16e||EXTREME THREAT||Mick Price & Michael Kent (Jnr)||Ethan Brown||1.75L||9||56kg||$41|
|4||11||SENSICAL||Peter G Moody||Daniel Stackhouse||1.85L||10||56kg||$17|
|5||8||CIGAR FLICK||Chris Waller||Damian Lane||1.95L||13||56kg||$8|
|6||1||CHARM STONE||Mick Price & Michael Kent (Jnr)||Mark Zahra||2.95L||7||56kg||$2.15F|
|7||13||BEAUTY RISING||Phillip Stokes||Zac Spain||3.95L||8||56kg||$31|
|8||17e||SOJU||Simon Zahra||Damien Thornton||4.7L||1||56kg||$17|
|9||7||ZOUSUKO||John McArdle||Jamie Mott||4.8L||6||56kg||$21|
|10||15||SUBRISING||Nigel Blackiston||Jordan Childs||5.2L||15||56kg||$151|
|11||12||DREAMWOMAN||Leon & Troy Corstens||Jye McNeil||5.4L||3||56kg||$51|
|12||2||DE SONIC BOOM||Anthony & Sam Freedman||Blake Shinn||5.5L||11||56kg||$14|
|13||14||ATLANTIC SPIRIT||Dean Binaisse||Teo Nugent||7L||5||56kg||$101|
|14||10||CHILL THE KRUG||Trent Busuttin & Natalie Young||Daniel Moor||11.5L||14||56kg||$71|
|15||5||SHADDOW FEAR||Luke Fernie||Chris Parnham||11.6L||2||56kg||$10|
|9||FUROSSHI||Jackie Beriman||Blaike McDougall||0|
|4||REMEDIES||James Cummings||Ms Jamie Kah||0|
Table Credit: Racing Australia.
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