2018 Blue Diamond Stakes – Preview and Tips
Blue Diamond Stakes, Caulfield Tips 1200m
The first Group 1 event for two-year-olds kicks off with the Blue Diamond Stakes contested at Caulfield this Saturday. It’s a big field, a bit of a lottery really, and all eyes will be on the well-bred Encryption, the McEvoy fillies Kinky Boom and Oohood, plus the Lindsay Park duo of Long Leaf and Enbihaar.
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Here’s the field:
111 1. Long Leaf (7), J: K Mc Evoy, W: 56.5 kgs, 6.50
11 2. Written By (18), J: J Childs, W: 56.5 kgs, 10.00
1135 3. Run Naan (2), J: A Mallyon, W: 56.5 kgs, 20.00
31 4. Prairie Fire (1), J: M Zahra, W: 56.5 kgs, 9.00
120 5. Ollivander (3), J: C Symons, W: 56.5 kgs, 26.00
322 6. Encryption (15), J: D Lane, W: 56.5 kgs, 19.00
56113 7. Native Soldier (20), J: B Rawiller, W: 56.5 kgs, 18.00
22 8. Plague Stone (6), J: B Melham, W: 56.5 kgs, 8.00
2 9. Grand Symphony (5), J: J Mc Neil, W: 56.5 kgs, 34.00
11 10. Enbihaar (19), J: C J Parish, W: 54.5 kgs, 20.00
1 11. Kinky Boom (14), J: C Williams, W: 54.5 kgs, 9.00
11 12. Lady Horseowner (12), J: Ms N Beriman, W: 54.5 kgs, 19.00
41 13. Ennis Hill (4), J: S Baster, W: 54.5 kgs, 8.50
4126 14. Crossing The Abbey (9), J: L Nolen, W: 54.5 kgs, 34.00
14x 15. Qafila (16), J: D Dunn, W: 54.5 kgs, 26.00
232 16. Oohood (10), J: L Currie, W: 54.5 kgs, 7.50
3332 17. Aristocratic Miss (17), J: Ms J Kah, W: 54.5 kgs, 101.00
2×1 18. More Than Exceed (8), J: D Tourneur, W: 56.5 kgs, 34.00
265 19. Roobeena (13), J: TBA, W: 54.5 kgs, 126.00
61 20. Melveen (11), J: D Thornton, W: 54.5 kgs, 101.00
It looks like a wide-open race, and it is! The problem I have with the Blue Diamond Stakes year-in and year-out are two-fold. Firstly, it’s a lottery. Even more than the Golden Slipper, and we don’t even have to worry about wet tracks either. As you can see above, 16 of the 20 starters have had three starts or less. The favourite, is likely to be a filly that’s only had one run. Secondly, it’s the timing of the race. Stumping up $1 million in stakes for 2-year-olds barely out of the nursery paddock is just plain silly. But because there’s nowhere else on the racing calendar to slot in, the third week of February is where it will stay.
With that gripe out of the way, I’m going to look at just a handful of horses because covering 20 horses is far too daunting. Let’s start with the two Lindsay Park youngsters: the colt Long Leaf and the filly Enbihaar. Both are unbeaten so far. One of them will have their colours lowered on Saturday, though I’m sure they will both be in top 3 of betting for the Blue Diamond. My only issue with the filly is her very wide draw (19).
In fact, Lindsay Park has four horses lined up, so too does Tony McEvoy, who has Kinky Boom starting in just her second race, but is likely to start favourite by Saturday afternoon. I’m thinking that her sire, the well-performed recent former sprinter Spirit of Boom could become the new sire sensation in 2018. If his daughter gets up in the Blue Diamond, then he’ll be well on his way. The other notable runner from the McEvoy stable is Oohood. In fact, Tony McEvoy was reported as saying that she is not far behind the pecking order when compared to her stable-mate. Don’t let her form-guide fool you.
Not without a shot is the Graham Begg trained Written By. Unbeaten in two starts, he also has a wide draw to contend with, and the 1200 metre barrier won’t be conducive to backmarkers. If he’s good enough, he’ll be there when the whips are smiling.
For me, the two interesting runners are the Godolphin/James Cummings pairing of Encryption and Plague Stone. Both are Lonhro colts, the former is impeccably bred (Lonhro v Guelph), both top gallopers of their era. I would love to see Encryption get up for the Blue Diamond because that would cement his stallion potential. Both colts have the potential, but at the moment they are not quite at their peak. Maybe Rosehill in a couple of weeks might be their go?
I was out at Flemington on VRC Derby Day last year and saw Andrew Mallyon steer home Run Naan in an impressive victory. His form has just slipped slightly in recent runs, but for longer odds, this would be one to keep in mind. So too the South Australian visitor More Than Exceed. It will be his first Group 1 start (as it will be for many others lining up), and at $34 on SP, he’s the sort of danger horse that could run a place, so consider for your wider better options.
From what I’ve seen so far, it’s an even wide-open race as mentioned, but I’ll opt for the McEvoy filly Kinky Boom. Bred to sprint, she could very well set off a boom period for her pedigree. Because of his breeding, and perhaps with an eye for the big stage, I have to factor in Encryption. The Lindsay Park colt Long Leaf to fill third placing, but only by a smidgen.
Kinky Boom, Encryption, Long Leaf
More Than Exceed $34.00 SP
Blue Diamond Stakes – check the odds on Crownbet