Headlining the Melbourne Autumn Racing Carnival in late February each year is Blue Diamond Stakes Day. Group 1 racing returns to Caulfield for arguably the biggest day of the Melbourne Autumn Racing Carnival.
Nine races are set down for decision with three Group 1 races on a huge day of racing. The G1 features are headlined by Victoria’s richest race for two-year-olds in the $1.5 million Group 1 Blue Diamond Stakes, the Futurity Stakes, over 1400m and the Oakleigh Plate an 1100m sprint for the speedsters of the turf.
Support features include the Mornington Cup Prelude at Listed. Group 2 events to be held include the Autumn Classic, the Angus Armanasco Stakes and Peter Young Stakes. While at Group 3 there is the Zeditave Stakes, Mannerism Stakes.
The Blue Diamond is the highlight and is one of the most open in Diamond history. The final field is comprised of nine colts and seven fillies all chasing the $900,000 winners cheque. The Hayes/Dabernig yard has a strong hand led by a pair of unbeaten colts in Long Leaf and Enbihaar. Kinky Boom exploded down the Caulfield straight to win the Inglis Classic on debut and Tony McEvoy will be hoping the filly can secure him his first Blue Diamond.
UBET will be offering real money back on Races 1-4 (see T’s& C’s) if your horse finishes second or third. Grab your slice of Blue Diamond Stakes Day.
|RACE NO||RACE NAME||RACE TIME||STATUS||PRIZE MONEY||DISTANCE||RACE TYPE||RACE CODE|
|1||MORNINGTON CUP PRELUDE||11:30AM AEST||L||$120,000||2000m||OPEN HCP||MR01|
|2||AUTUMN CLASSIC||12:05PM AEDT||2||$200,000||1800m||3YO SW||MR02|
|3||ZEDITAVE STAKES||12:40PM AEDT||3||$150,000||1200m||3YO C&G SW||MR03|
|4||ANGUS ARMANASCI STAKES||1:15PM AEDT||2||$200,000||1400m||3YO F SW+P||MR04|
|5||MANNERISM STAKES||1:50PM AEDT||3||$150,000||1400m||4YO+ MARES SW+P||MR05|
|6||FUTURITY STAKES||2:25PM AEDT||1||$500,000||1400m||WFA||MR06|
|7||BLUE DIAMOND STAKES||3:05PM AEDT||1||$1,500,000||1200m||2YO SW||MR07|
|8||OAKLEIGH PLATE||3:45PM AEDT||1||$500,000||1100m||HCP||MR08|
|9||PETER YOUNG STAKES||4:25PM AEDT||2||$200,000||1800m||WFA||MR09|
The 2000m Mornington Cup prelude kicks off proceedings with the return to the track of 2016 Melbourne Cup winner Almandin. Now prepared by Liam Howley, the German import will be first-up since the G2 Snadown Classic when finishing 2nd to The Taj Mahal.
Howley who is now the lead trainer for the Lloyd Williams operation will also saddle Homesman for his Australian debut who has been gelded since his last start in the US when finishing 3rd in the Belmont Derby Invitation.
The first Group race of the day with the 1800m Autumn Classic for three-year-olds held at set weights.
VRC Derby placegetter Astoria will be second-up after a 3rd when returning in the Autumn Stakes carrying 57kg. He meets Mr So And So equal this time after giving away 1kg last start, however Mr So And So is the best supported in early trading, with his quote slashed from $4.40 to $3.80 to sit equal with Astoria.
Amanito is being given a shot by the Snowden’s, stepping up from a last start win in a benchmark 66 at Warwick Farm when carrying 61kg. The gelded son of Pierro has won 3 of his 4 career starts and will race the Melbourne way of going for the first time.
The James Cummings trained Piracy has been well tried early as he resumes for his Autumn assault. A gelding by Exceed And Excel, he has been sent to the trials twice to prepare for his return with the second of those over 800m a nice hit-out. After opening at $7 he has been tightened in to $5 under solid support.
Overshare for Team Hawkes was only a half-length from the talented and versatile Cliff’s Edge last start in the G3 Manfred Stakes over this trip. The colt is holding steady under good support at the top of the market at his opening quote of $3.80
This race is named to honour Hall of Fame trainer, the late Angus Armanasco. A trainer that had considerable success in Melbourne, he was a seven-time winner of the Victorian Trainers Premiership and was a three-time winner of the Blue Diamond Stakes. Armanasco also trained Zeditave, who has a race named after him held on Blue Diamond Stakes Day.
The 2018 edition appears a wide-open contest with 6 of the 11 runners all listed under $10 in early trading. Smart Coupe was unlucky last start in the G3 Kevin Hayes Stakes when finishing five lengths from stablemate Booker.
Miss Wahoo has been impressive in winning her past 2 in succession in Adelaide, including a track record last start at 1300m on the Morphettville Parks track when leading throughout. Jamie Kah will take the ride again after partnering the filly at both wins.
A field of 8 following the early scratching of Petition in this race restricted to mares 4YO and older, held at set weights and penalties.
Silent Sedition carries the top-weight of 59kg with the G1 winner looking to win this race for the 2nd successive year. Winning this in 2017, the Andrew Noblet trained mare comes in on similar preparation, second-up in this race after resuming in the G3 Bellmaine Stakes. Ironically that race has been won by Prussian Vixen both times. The blinkers go on the mare with her second-up record showing 5: 2-1-1.
The Anthony Freedman trained Exocet returns to the track with the daughter of Smart Missile 1 from 1 at the Caulfield 1400m and is listed a $16 chance in early trading. Jester Halo steps out at the 1400m once again after taking on the G1 CF Orr last start. Far from disgraced she was only 3.15 lengths from the winner Hartnell.
11 acceptors for The Futurity that sees the return of Australian Cup winner Humidor from the Daren Weir stable. Weir saddles three runners in the field with the Japanese imports Brave Smash and Tosen Stardom joining Humidor in the field.
Shillelagh settled at the rear of the field in the Orr Stakes when resuming and was doing some strong work in the closing stages. The Waller trained mare has a strong record when second-up of 5: 3-0-1 and has a win at the trip, importantly when at her 2nd run in.
Brave Smash heads the market after being put up at $3.60. Showtime has been specked at odds and firmed from the $11 opening quote to $9. The Hawkes trained 3YO will be second-up after returning in the Expressway Stakes when 2nd to Trapeze Artist.
Check out our Futurity Stakes Preview.
The only Group 1 for two-year-olds in Victoria with the race run over 1200m at the conditions of set weights. Colts & Geldings will carry 56.5kg with fillies to carry 54.5kg. This race has been won by some talented juveniles that have gone on to bigger things in their careers, either on the track or in the breeding barn, including Bounding Away, Redoute’s Choice, Bel Esprit, Alinghi and Sepoy.
Punters are hard pressed working the 2018 edition out, with the race one of the most open in many years. Long Leaf sits at the top of the market at $6.50 with the biggest bet struck in early trading $1,800 at the $6.50. The Fastnet Rock colt is yet to taste defeat in three race appearances.
Written By was successful from gate 13 in the Colts & Geldings Prelude, however he has fared worse for the big one, landing gate 18. Plague Stone was the beaten favourite when finishing a half-length 2nd to Written By , with the son of Lonhro set to jump from gate 6 for Kerrin McEvoy.
Oohood is the top filly in the market at $8, narrowly ahead of Kinky Boom. Enbihaar who defeated Oohood in the Fillies Diamond Prelude is at $16 in early trading.
Check out our Blue Diamond Stakes Preview.
A capacity field has assembled for the G1 1100m scamper run at handicap conditons. Flamberge won this race in 2016 and is back for his 3rd attempt at the race. Damian Lane will take the ride on the 57kg top-weight.
The Snowden’s will be looking to turn around their fortunes following Redzel’s defeat in the Lightning Stakes last week and once again put the polish on the ruling favourite. This time it is the 4YO Russian Revolution that carries their hopes with the entire to jump from gate 11. His only run at Caulfield was a win at this trip.
Snitty Kitty is yet to miss a place in 6 appearances at Caulfield with her record standing at 6: 3-2-1, with 2 of those wins at the 1100m trip.
Golden Slipper winner She Will Reign will be second-up following a comfortable victory when returning in the Inglis Sprint at Warwick Farm, This will be her first look at The Heath. Last start winner Booker will carry just 51.5kg as she looks to become the first 3YO filly to win the Oakleigh since Miss Kournikova in 2001. That filly was trained by Mathew Ellerton, the co-trainer of Booker.
Check out our Oakleigh Plate Preview.
10 acceptors for the Peter Young which was formerly known as the St George Stakes. There has already been an early scratching with The Taj Mahal taken out owing to owner Lloyd Williams not prepared to risk the talented 4YO from a tough gate in the last race of the day.
Gailo Chop heads the market and is a two-time Caulfield winner. The chestnut won the G3 Carlyon Cup when resuming on Orr Stakes Day, with two of the vanquished from that race also lining up for this race- Lord Fandango and Harlem Gailo Chop gave away weight to both of them in the Carlyon and will meet them at equal weights here..
Multiple G1 winner Hartnell will be second-up after an impressive return in the Orr when scoring a narrow victory. His record 2 runs in is solid 7: 2-3-0.
Single Gaze was an eye-catcher in her return in the Orr and gets out to 1800m which is much more to her liking. Her 2nd in the Caulfield Cup was a superb run and she will jump from gate 6.