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

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Thu 23rd February 2023


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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.

Tom has had a passion for the racing industry from the time he could talk. Wether it was at school, on smoko or in his own spare time, he always had his head in the form guide.He has worked hands on in the industry for years for some of Australia’s most highly regarded trainers. As a track rider, he has put the polish on some of the best horse flesh to grace the turf in recent years including the grey flash, Chautauqua, Golden slipper winner, Mossfun and sprinter-turned-sire, Deep Field to name a few.Tom has recently hung up the boots to focus solely on his punting and tipping services. With the objective of finding plenty of winners and value in the marketplace, you’ll be sure to have a fat wallet following his feature race previews.