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2023 Blue Diamond Stakes Runner By Runner Preview, Odds & Tips

The first major on the 2023 Australian racing calendar gets under way on Saturday, with the running of the Group 1 Blue Diamond Stakes, to be held this year at Sandown Lakeside Racecourse over 1200m. With $1.5m up for grabs, the set weights feature has brought together a high calibre field of juveniles, as it so often does, from some of the country’s leading stables, all striving to claim Victoria’s premier and richest two-year-old race.

Last start Widden Stakes runner up, Steel City, currently holds favouritism with Dabble at $4.40, ahead of the Godolphin trained, Barber, at $5.50. Other runners in contention include WA galloper, Brave Halo, at $8.00 and unbeaten colt, The Instructor, at $9.00.

As we know, anything can happen in racing and as the market suggests, this year’s Blue Diamond is anyone’s race. So, we have dissected each of the horses’ chances for you and provided our horse racing tips! Read on below to find our runner by runner preview of the 2023 Blue Diamond Stakes along with The Shark’s best tips. 

1. Barber (9) – $5.50
Jockey – Jamie Kah 57kg
Trainer – James Cummings

Unbeaten colt who did enough first up in the colts and geldings Blue Diamond Prelude here at Sandown, albeit on the Hillside course. Will have taken plenty of benefit from that hitout and the low-flying Godolphin stable will have him cherry ripe for this. The middle draw poses no issue from a map point of view and Jamie Kah sticks. Plenty to like.

2. Arkansaw Kid (4) – $41
Jockey – Jye McNeil 57kg
Trainer – Ben & JD Hayes

Too good on debut at The Valley back in October before resuming in the Inglis Millennium at Randwick a fortnight ago. He drew wide there and copped a fair bit of buffeting at the furlong, making it hard to get a true guide on his run. The draw is a lot kinder here and he gets back to the Melbourne way of going which suits. Can improve at odds.

3. Zulfiqar (15) – $26
Jockey – Ben Melham 57kg
Trainer – James Cummings

Second of the Godolphin runners who was dominant in the Group 3 Chairman’s Stakes first up. Thought he was somewhat the forgotten runner heading into this race but has come up with a very tricky alley. No doubt Melham will force the issue early and try to press forward, it’s just a matter of how much pressure comes from the inside draws. If things do happen to go his way, he’s in with a winning chance.

4. Little Brose (7) – $10
Jockey – Michael Dee 57kg
Trainer – Ben & JD Hayes

Second of the Hayes runners who found the line well first up behind Barber, in a race that favoured those on speed. The start prior he was too strong for Cylinder who was impressive in Sydney last weekend. The barrier looks ideal, as does the step up to 1200m and Michael Dee sticks solid. Ticks plenty of boxes.

5. Brave Halo (16) – $8.00
Jockey – Damien Oliver 57kg
Trainer – Sean & Jake Casey

WA based galloper who was sent east after winning his first three starts at Ascot in good style. Started favourite in the colts and geldings Blue Diamond Prelude last start and saw nothing but backsides in the home straight. Clearly has the ability to measure up based on what we saw there but the wide draw here dents the confidence. Will need a D Oliver special.

6. The Instructor (6) – $9.00
Jockey – Jordan Childs 57kg
Trainer – Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott

Led and bolted in at Pakenham on debut before a similar win last time out in the colts and geldings Blue Diamond Preview on the Lakeside track. Has trialled since where he went head and head with Annavisto, who put a space on her rivals last Saturday. Will roll forward again here from the good draw and take plenty of running down as Gai’s usually do. One of the main hopes.

7. Veecee (14) – $19
Jockey – Ethan Brown 57kg
Trainer – Ciaron Maher & David Eustace

Showed an electrifying turn of foot to score on debut at Flemington before chasing hard into second place behind Zulfiqar last start. Has come up with a wide draw here but may be taken back early to find cover. The step up to six furlongs looks suitable and he should get plenty of tempo up front. Can make a case.

8. Don Corleone (3) – $10
Jockey – Mark Zahra 57kg
Trainer – Peter & Paul Snowden

Showed plenty of class on debut when winning at Randwick. The runner up, Kundalini, has since filled a minor placing in the Inglis Millennium. He then seemed somewhat disappointing last time out in the Pierro Plate, going down at the $1.60 quote. Comes up with a nice gate here and gets a big race rider in the saddle. If he can repeat his debut run he’s in with a shot.

9. Exploring (13) – $13
Jockey – Craig Williams 55kg
Trainer – James Cummings

Another of the Blue Army runners who led from barrier to box in the fillies Blue Diamond Prelude under Craig Williams last start. Showed plenty of tenacity on that occasion but will need to mirror that once again here. The wide draw and high pressure 1200m may bring about her undoing, but I’m not a brave enough man to say one of Godolphins can’t win, especially the way they’ve been striking of late.

10. De Sonic Boom (8) – $71
Jockey – Daniel Moor 55kg
Trainer – Anthony & Sam Freedman

Came from the clouds to win the fillies Blue Diamond Preview on the Hillside track before finishing down the track behind Exploring last start. Willing to forgive that effort as the sectionals favoured those on speed. She gets the blinkers on for the first time here and will benefit from a strong tempo and the extended journey. Looks one of the better roughies in the race.

11. Party For Two (1) – $18
Jockey – Nikita Beriman 55kg
Trainer – Damien Batters

Speedy QLD trained filly who rolled forward and fought on well in the fillies Blue Diamond Prelude last start. Her two wins prior were impressive. Drawn the paint here which should suit but steps up to 1200m which is a query for mine and this is by far her biggest test to date. Willing to risk.

12. Steel City (5) – $4.40F
Jockey – Blake Shinn 55kg
Trainer – Ciaron Maher & David Eustace

Ran into a smart one on debut in Red Resistance, who has subsequently won at Group 3 level, before chasing home the Inglis Millennium winner, Learning To Fly, in the Widden Stakes. Both runs had plenty of merit and she gets a couple of key gear changes here. Should get a gun run behind the speed from the good gate and looks one of the better winning chances.

13. Dubenenko (11) – $81
Jockey – Dean Yendall 55kg
Trainer – Chris Bieg

Wasn’t disgraced in the Group 3 Ottawa Stakes and Ballarat 2YO Magic Millions at her first prep, before an impressive first up victory at Morphettville Parks. To be fair, she didn’t beat a lot on that occasion, but the way she got it done was top notch. The 1200m suits here, as should a genuine tempo and you could find worse 80/1 pops. If she gets the chocolates we might even get a ‘raging horn’ from Dean Yendall on return to scale.

14. Cigar Flick (18) – SCRATCHED
Jockey – Craig Newitt 55kg
Trainer – Chris Waller


15. Picky (17) – $91
Jockey – Damien Thornton 55kg
Trainer – Leon & Troy Corstens

Ran Exploring to 0.75L on debut before another good effort in the fillies Blue Diamond Preview last time out. Looks to have plenty of talent but will also need plenty of luck from the wide gate here. Hard to have in the numbers but may be well worth following in something more suitable.

16. Extreme Threat (2) – $21
Jockey – Blaike McDougall 55kg
Trainer – Mick Price & Michael Kent Jnr

Sat wide without cover, albeit only around one turn, on debut and fought on well behind Exploring in the fillies Blue Diamond Prelude. Stable clearly has an opinion of her and she should take plenty of benefit from both that run and the low draw here. Not out of it.

17e. Sensical (12) – $31
Jockey – Daniel Stackhouse 55kg
Trainer – Peter G Moody

Loomed up to win the fillies Blue Diamond Preview on debut only to find a couple better late before another eye-catching performance last start in the prelude. Has been tardily away at both race starts, which she can’t afford to do here, but is ticking over nicely and will appreciate the 1200m here. Can figure.

18e. Beauty Rising (10) – $91
Jockey – N/A 55kg
Trainer – Phillip Stokes

Never on the bridle on debut but found the line well behind Croatian Belle before again making some late headway in the fillies Blue Diamond Prelude. Sweating on another scratching to gain a start here but can be competitive if she does.

Final Word

Expecting a strong tempo early here, with sixteen lightly raced two-year-olds stepping up to 1200m for the first time. The race should set up nicely for those behind the speed and feel the front runners might find it hard, unless there is a distinct leader bias.

Although he sat on speed first up in the colts and geldings Blue Diamond Prelude, Barber is a horse with plenty of tactical versatility and looks as though he’ll eat up the six furlongs. He should derive plenty of benefit from that fresh run and hasn’t put a foot wrong in any of his races and trials to date. Godolphin are on fire and he looks a great each-way bet in this race.

Veecee is a horse that represents plenty of value for mine. His debut win at Flemington was breathtaking before a solid chase behind Zulfiqar last time out. He will appreciate a drier deck here and if he can overcome the wide gate, he’s another who should really appreciate the rise in trip and be strong late.

The Hayes trained, Little Brose, was good behind the aforementioned Barber last start. He was too good for Cylinder in the Merson Cooper last prep, which is good form, and is another who looks suited in this race.

No knock on Steel City who brings some very solid Sydney form to the table. He should get a gun run in the race and can easily finish in the money and The Instructor looks the best of those on speed.

If you’re after a roughie for trifectas and first fours, De Sonic Boom can improve up to 1200m with the shades on and Sensical comes right into contention now she’s gained a start.

Blue Diamond Stakes TipLogo

1. Barber – Each-way ($5.50/$2.15)

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*Odds correct at time of writing, courtesy of Dabble.

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2022 Blue Diamond Stakes Runner By Runner Preview, Odds & Tips

The Blue Diamond Stakes is Victoria’s richest 2YO race, and the highlight on a feature race card at Caulfield, including the G1 Oakleigh Plate, and the G1 Futurity Stakes. The set weights 1200m race, has become a target for connections with it’s mouth watering $1.5m prize money purse.

The Diamond is a grand final race for many 2YO, but the $5m Golden Slipper in March, is also another earmark on the calendar for elite 2YO. Only four horses have completed the Diamond-Slipper double, the latest being Darley colt Sepoy in 2011.

This year’s race has brought together a full 16 horse field, plenty of which have winning chances according to the market. Sportsbet has the smart Price/Kent colt, Jacquinot, currently favourite at $5.00 ahead of unbeaten Blue Diamond Prelude winner, Lofty Strike, at $6.50. Team Hawkes trained colt, Sebonack, and Sydney filly, Revolutionary Miss, are also under double figures, both at $7.00.

We know with horse racing that anything can happen and a capacity field of 2YOs can be hard to assess. So, we have dissected each of the horse’s chances for you! Read on below to find our runner by runner preview of the 2022 Blue Diamond Stakes along with The Shark’s best tips. 

1. Semillion (16) – $20
Jockey – Damien Oliver 57kg
Trainer – Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes

Winner of the Listed 2YO Inglis at Moonee Valley back in October last year. Resumed with a tough 2nd to Lofty Strike in the colts and geldings BD Prelude, after sitting outside a hot speed. Will have improved off that, but the barrier has put a big dent in his winning chances and I’m happy to go around him here.

2. Lofty Strike (13) – $6.50 – Scratched
Jockey – Jamie Mott 57kg
Trainer – Julius Sandhu

Bred to run early being by Snitzel, out of Golden Slipper winner Overreach, and that’s exactly what he’s done in his short career. His last start win in the colts and geldings BD Prelude was very good, when he sat back and wide, and rounded them up to score impressively by 1.25L. He will drift back from the wide gate again here, and should have every opportunity to get home hard again. One of the main chances.  

3. Daumier (5) – $15
Jockey – Mark Zahra 57kg
Trainer – Anthony & Sam Freedman

Has shown plenty of ability in his two starts to date, the latest of those finishing 3rd to Lofty Strike in the colts and geldings BD Prelude. He did have a suck run on that occasion and simply wasn’t good enough. Blinkers go on here, which could spark some improvement and he maps well. Capable of sneaking into the placings again.

4. Sebonack (8) – $7.00
Jockey – Jye McNeil 57kg
Trainer – Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes

Was strong on debut, winning the G3 Chairman’s Stakes here at Caulfield. Hard to knock him off that win, where he ran a good time, and he has to be well respected here again.

5. Counttheheadlights (7) – $17
Jockey – Ben Allen 57kg
Trainer – Ciaron Maher & David Eustace

Won well on debut, before finishing 4th in the colts and geldings BD Prelude behind Lofty Star. He was well supported in the market on that occasion, and was far from disgraced. He’s drawn to get a good run, so if you like him, I couldn’t talk you out of him. 

6. Jacquinot (10) – $5.00F
Jockey – Damian Lane 57kg
Trainer – Mick Price & Michael Kent Jr

Debut win had to be seen to be believed, where he came from the back of the field to score eased down over this track/distance. He then stepped out in the colts and geldings BD Prelude, where nothing went his way. He was slow away (3-4 lengths) before running into backsides at the furlong. It’s fair to say with clear running he would’ve troubled, if not beaten, the winner Lofty Star. Ticks plenty of boxes here, stepping back up to the 1200m and from a good draw. If he jumps on terms with them, he is clearly the one they have to beat.

7. Rampant Lion (6) – $18
Jockey – Kerrin McEvoy 57kg
Trainer – Peter G Moody

Yet to win a race in his two starts to date, but has shown plenty of ability nonetheless. Comes from a strong yard, the step up to 1200m looks ideal and is drawn to get a good run. Could surprise at odds.

8. Merchant Prince (12) – $81
Jockey – Luke Nolen 57kg
Trainer – Peter G Moody

Won a Pakenham maiden two back when sent out 20/1, before going down at the mid-weeks last start. Others appear to be stronger here.

9. Flashing Steel (2) – $201
Jockey – Brodie Loy 57kg
Trainer – Annabel Neasham

Gets the blinkers on, but seems he might need more than that to be winning here going off his form to date. Next.

10. Hafey (14) – $16
Jockey – Craig Williams 57kg
Trainer – Ciaron Maher & David Eustace

Looked impressive winning a Bendigo maiden a fortnight ago. Not sure how strong the opposition was and the time was nothing to write home about. Nevertheless, comes from a strong stable and Williams sticks, so can’t completely write him off.  

11. Revolutionary Miss (11) – $7.00
Jockey – Jamie Kah 55kg
Trainer – Peter & Paul Snowden

The first of the fillies, and the winner of the fillies BD Prelude. She was good from the back on that occasion, running slightly quicker time than the boys. Hard to knock her off that, and should be strong late again here. Each way chance.

12. Miss Roseiano (9) – $11
Jockey – Jordan Childs 55kg
Trainer – Peter Gelagotis

Solid debut win when she saluted in the fillies BD Preview, before just going under in the fillies BD Prelude a fortnight ago. Makes her own luck on the speed and has plenty of ticker. Will give a sight for her backers.

13. Kiki Express (3) – $81
Jockey – Damien Thornton 55kg
Trainer – Matthew Ellerton

Winner of the Listed Debutant Stakes back in October at Caulfield. Was sound last start in the fillies BD Prelude, where she finished midfield. Drawn to get a nice run from barrier 3, but would need to find a bit to trouble the winner here.

14. English Riviera (4) – $18
Jockey – John Allen 55kg
Trainer – Tony & Calvin McEvoy

Looked the winner on debut before being gobbled up late by Lofty Strike down the straight at Flemington. She then led them up and fought on gamely for 3rd in the fillies BD Prelude. Has the right form lines to be competitive here and has drawn a peach in gate 4. Respect.

15. Waltz On By (1) – $20
Jockey – Blaike McDougall 55kg
Trainer – Peter G Moody

Well bred filly who has shown plenty of promise in her two runs to date. Is on the 7 day back up here after finishing 2nd in last Saturday’s Talindert Stakes at Flemington. She started favourite there and just seemed to get a bit lost the last furlong when she hit the front. Back around a turn here, and from the inside gate, she looks one of the better hopes at odds.

16. Seven Sisters (15) – $35
Jockey – Fred Kersley 55kg
Trainer – James Cummings

Godolphin filly who led at her first two starts, before getting back in the fillies BD Prelude. She got to the line well to finish 4th on that occasion, which shows her versatility. The gate makes things tricky for her here, but with luck in running she could sneak into a place.

Final Word

It’s not often the Blue Diamond disappoints and it’s certainly not the case again here. 16 horses will face the starter, and it looks like a race where all but a few of them can win, if things go their way. There doesn’t look to be a lot between the boys and the girls here judging off both preludes, and a few contrasting form lines are also thrown in the mix to make it an intriguing contest. 

The favourite, Jacquinot, was electrifying on debut before his luckless last start 5th in the colts and gelding BD Prelude. Lofty Strike has a 100% record heading into the race after winning up the Flemington straight and again in the Prelude. The McEvoy trained filly, English Riviera, ticks a lot of boxes, as does Peter Moody’s filly Waltz On By, both at good odds.

The list of winning chances goes on and on, but at the end of the day we have to find the best one and I believe that is Jacquinot. I love the barrier he has drawn here (10), and looks as though he will get a solid enough tempo up front to show his jaw dropping turn of foot at the business end. If he jumps away clean, clear the throat, because I’m sure you’ll be doing plenty of cheering the last 100m.

Best Blue Diamond Stakes Tip: 6. Jacquinot – Win ($5.00)

If you need more news, information and tips, head over to our Blue Diamond Stakes page for all your punting needs!

*Odds correct at time of writing, courtesy of Sportsbet.