Favourites May Not Show For Blue Diamonds Stakes

Written on the 27 January 2017

With the Gold Coast Magic Millions (Australia's richest race day) just behind us, we're now heading down the home straight of Australia's second richest two-year-old race - the Blue Diamond Stakes, being held February 25th this year.

The 2017 Blue Diamond Stakes is a Group I set-weight race for two-year-olds held over a distance of 1200 metres at Caulfield Racecourse with prizemoney of $1,500,000.

The 2017 Blue Diamond series commenced yesterday with the Blue Diamond Previews (1000m; Group III for fillies, Listed for colts and geldings) and will follow with Preludes (1100m; Group II for fillies, Group III for colts and geldings) on February 11th.

An usual turn of events occurred yesterday when the two winners of the Blue Diamond Previews were immediately installed as $9 joint favourites by bookmakers, for the $1.5 million event, despite neither being entered for Caulfield's most important two-year-old race.

The owners of Property, who won the colts' division, and LImestone, the fillies' event, will now have to pay a $55,000 late-entry fee if they wish to secure a start in the Group I event on February 25th.

So the question remains, will they pay the price for a chance to win one of Australia's richest events?

In the past 10 years, 5 of 10 Blue Diamond Stakes Favourites have won with an average price = $2.51.

Property trainer Robert Smerdon, who is attending the yearling sales in NZ said it had been the policy of the owners of the colt, Price Bloodstock, not to enter their horses for major races because they are purely purchasing horses from Australia and shipping them to Hong Kong to race there.

David Price and wife Jenny Chapman of Price Bloodstock's have established a highly successful bloodstock business in Hong Kong.

"It's been the case that they export horses from Australia and place them in Hong Kong, but this guy's early x-rays of his legs were not good so he remained here. But it will be very much their final decision whether to pay the money, but we are wary that the fillies this season are very strong," Smerdon said.

It's also uncertain whether former RVL chairman David Moodie will pay $55,000 for Limestone to be at Caulfield later next month.

Limestone, who was terribly green in the closing stages of her event, ran 56.88, faster than Property's winning time of 56.94.

"She was very green and she raced with her head on her side, which is nothing like what she does at home. She never trials like that so let's hope it's just inexperience and nothing more worrying in the morning," trainer Darren Weir said.

The win of Limestone in the Fillies Preview shows that trainer, Darren Weir would now be a force to be reckoned with in two-year-old races in the coming years.

"I've talked about this with my manager and he's been very keen for me to get involved with the two-year-olds and we only really started focusing on them six months ago. The sales during this time of year could reap me some more two-year-olds, we'll just wait and see," Weir said. 

Property started at $4.80 and easily defeated Azazel, which was a $5.50 hope. Indernile started at $17 and came from a clear last to run an exceptional placing.

And 40 minutes later, Limestone narrowly secured victory at $2.60 from Tulip at $2.80 with Chateau Griffo at $151 in third position.

Tulip is also not a certain starter because her owners also have the unbeaten Formality in the race and don't wish for the pair to clash.

The Hayes team are still well placed because they have the second favourite Catchy, at $11, and she'll be seen in the Blue Diamond Preludes in a fornight's time.

The current race record for Property stands at 1 win from 2 starts with prizemoney of $104,900.00, whilst Limestone has delivered 2 wins from 3 starts with prizemoney of $176,850.00

(Photo: Limestone, ridden by Damian Lane winning the Ladbrokes Blue Diamond Preview (fillies) at Caulfield Racecourse. Photo Credit: Mike Keating)


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