The Ben, Will & JD Hayes-trained Cox...
A line-up of the season’s top two-year-olds take to the Lakeside course at Sandown on Saturday facing off for $2 million in stakes, and below we have our insider 2023 Blue Diamond Stakes tips and best bets on the juvenile’s feature.
This year’s Group 1 $2 million Ladbrokes Blue Diamond Stakes (1200m) currently features a capacity field of 16 starters including the first emergency Sensical ($26) for Peter Moody who comes in to replace early scratching Cigar Flick (barrier 18) from the Chris Waller stable.
Heading the latest Blue Diamond Stakes odds online at race sponsor Ladbrokes.com.au is Steel City looking to break her maiden status at her third start.
The nicely-bred Merchant Navy filly represents the super training combo of Ciaron Maher & David Eustace and jumps from a favourable barrier five draw with Blake Shinn in the saddle.
Steel City is the early market mover to win the Blue Diamond well-backed early in from $5 to $4.20 as she looks to frank the Sydney form in Melbourne on Saturday.
The filly has finished second in her two previous starts at Rosehill most recently behind subsequent $2 million Inglis Millennium winner Learning To Fly in late January’s Group 3 Widden Stakes (1100m).
The dangers also being kept safe in Blue Diamond Stakes betting include Godolphin’s undefeated Prelude winning colt Barber ($5.50) chasing his fourth career success and the Sean & Jake Casey-trained WA raider Brave Halo ($7.50) who ran fourth only a length away in the boys’ Prelude.
Is the Blue Diamond favourite the one to beat this weekend or is there an upset pending?
Can the fillies beat home the boys for the first time since Lyre (2019)?
Which two-year-old will best handle those two tight turns at the circuit before the home straight?
We will find out in Sandown Race 7 at 4:20pm (AEDT) on Saturday.
In the meantime, our experts have gone over the Blue Diamond Stakes form and history and have their top tips below for you to get behind at Ladbrokes.com.au.
The Favourite: #12 Steel City ($4.20 at time of publish) – BET NOW
The money has come hard and fast for this Maher/Eustace-trained filly who has a gun barrier five draw at her third start chasing win number one. Her debut was strong when runner-up after an on-speed run throughout at Rosehill over 1100m. She was only three-quarters of a length beaten behind Red Resistance and finished second again last time out in the Group 3 Widden Stakes. The question is always whether to follow the Sydney or Melbourne form lines into the Blue Diamond. The Widden form was franked with Learning To Fly going on to also win the Inglis Millennium. Good gate and definite winning chance again.
The Danger: #1 Barber ($5.50 at time of publish) – BET NOW
Powerhouse Godolphin stable won both Preludes here a fortnight ago and now their undefeated Exceed And Excel colt Barber is out to do the double for the first time since Written By (2018). Two Sydney wins last prep to kick off his career in style including overcome a wide alley in the $1 million Golden Gift. Very good fresh narrowly holding out the challengers in the Group 3 Prelude over 1100m on the Hillside track. Needs to handle the Lakeside course now. Jamie Kah is riding well and stays on, barrier nine looks ideal for the one-time favourite, is from the right team and if he can improve on his first-up performance could remain unbeaten come Saturday afternoon.
Each Way: #4 Little Brose ($11 at time of publish) – BET NOW
If you like the Prelude form from the colts’ and geldings’ then you have to have something on the brave runner-up Little Brose. The Ben & JD Hayes-trained Per Incanto colt was runner-up on debut with 58kg in the Group 3 Maribyrnong Plate at Flemington last November before winning Caulfield’s Listed Merson Cooper Stakes over Cylinder convincingly. Looks to have come back well only a quarter-length off Barber fresh. Michael Dee knows him well and will get a gun ride from barrier seven. Can showup and challenge late again.
Best Bet: #7 Veecee ($20 at time of publish) – BET NOW
On the drift in the markets out to $20 at time of publish is Veecee who now looks enormous value as one of the forgotten Blue Diamond horses this year. Wider draw (14) is not ideal for the course and jockey Ethan Brown will need to get his ride right, but if hoop and horse can work together, they could have something special in store. Stablemate to the favourite so you know Maher/Eustace must rate this nicely-bred Capitalist colt some kind of chance. Winner on debut with 59kg by 2.5 lengths at Flemington over 1100m, so the 1200m looks a non-issue. Second in the Group 3 Chairman’s Stakes (1000m) on the Sandown Hillside track last time out with the same weight at the start of the month when on speed but not that flash the closing stages. Kept fresh for this and can improve. Will relish the drop in weight. Can surprise if he brings back his debut form.
Best Roughie: #16 Extreme Threat ($23 at time of publish) – BET NOW
Looking over the fillies here this daughter of Extreme Choice for Mick Price & Michael Kent (Jnr) stands out as a potential value roughie. She gets the run of the race from barrier two and could be a sharp improver having just her second career start. On debut she went around at 40/1 in the Blue Diamond Fillies’ Prelude and was better than her odds suggested running third to Exploring. This is a big ask for a filly off that against a field of better tried two-year-olds, but for the price she’s worth having a little something on.
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