Hartnell will step out in the Dato' Tan Chin Nam Stakes. Photo: Steve Hart

2018 Blue Diamond Stakes Day Preview & Tips

2018 Blue Diamond Stakes Day is one of the best cards of the Autumn Carnival each year and we are set for an exciting day of racing at Caulfield on Saturday.

All nine races on Blue Diamond Stakes Day boast black type status, but three Group 1 features headline the impressive card.

The rail will be out 3 metres around the entire Caulfield course on 2018 Blue Diamond Stakes Day and at the time of publish, the track is rated a ‘Good 4’.

Listed Mornington Cup Prelude (2000m)
No. 1 Almandin

This year’s Mornington Cup Prelude has drawn ten stayers, including topweight and former Melbourne Cup winner Almandin ($4). The Monjeu gelding finished mid-pack in his defence of the Race That Stops a Nation, but was last seen finishing a close second in the Group 2 Zipping Classic (2400m). He is capable of a sharp first-up run and on class alone, is better than anything in this field. Gallic Chieftain ($4.60) will take plenty of improvement into this race and looms as Almandin’s biggest danger. The Tamayuz gelding resumed for a credible third in the Big Screen Company Handicap (1800m) a fortnight ago and will appreciate the rise in distance.

Group 2 Autumn Classic (1800m)
No. 1 Astoria

Fourteen three-year-olds will contest the Autumn Classic and is it looming as an open race from a betting perspective. At the time of publish, Godolphin colt Astoria is a $4 favourite and has already attracted plenty of interest, having firmed in from a $4.40 quote. The son of Medaglia D’Oro was a strong and consistent performer throughout the Spring Carnival and continued to improve upon stepping out in trip; ending his campaign with consecutive placings in the Group 3 Geelong Classic (2200m) and Group 1 Victoria Derby (2500m). Having resumed for a smart third in the Group 2 Autumn Stakes (1400m), Astoria will be far more effective under the conditions of this race and will be tough to beat. A couple of horses that warrant interest at double-figure odds in the Autumn Classic market at Amanito ($11) and Rellson ($10m). Amanito has posted consecutive wins at Warwick Farm and Kembla Grange leading into this race and will enjoy a big drop in weight, while Rellson will have taken plenty of benefit from a first-up run for fourth at Pakenham and is drawn to do no work from barrier 3.

Group 3 Zeditave Stakes (1200m)
No. 1 Overshare

Nine three-year-old sprinters will contest this season’s Zeditave Stakes and there is a case to be made for several horses towards the top of betting. Piracy ($6) has drawn ideally into this race in barrier 4 and will have conditions to suit at Caulfield on Saturday. The Exceed And Excel gelding has not been seen at the races in 2018, but has trialled well ahead of this first-up target and is capable of a sharp first-up performance. Overshare ($4) was far-better second-up, but will need to show some pace early to cross the field and take up the running in the Zeditave Stakes. The I Am Invincible colt was beaten by a pretty handy horse in Cliff’s Edge in the Group 3 Manfred Stakes (1200m) a fortnight ago and there is nothing of his quality in this field. Prevailing Winds ($5) has been reasonably inconsistent this time in but at his best, can give a race of this quality a real shake.

Group 2 Angus Armanasco Stakes (1400m)
No. 4 Miss Wahoo (Each Way)

Eleven fillies will step out in the Angus Armanasco and it is shaping as one of the most open races on the Blue Diamond Stakes card. Damian Lane has unsurprisingly replaced Craig Williams in the saddle of Smart Coupe for this race and the classy filly remains favourite in our market at the time of publish. The daughter of Smart Missile was a strong and consistent performer for Ellerton & Zahra in spring and finished off well in the Kevin Hayes Stakes last time. Lane will look to find a closer position to the pace on Saturday and she’ll be tough to run down. Miss Wahoo is seeking a third-consecutive win when she lines up for the Angus Armanasco Stakes and she represents plenty of value at a current $7.50 quote. The Master Of Design filly was simply too good for her rivals through her first two starts this time and while she faces a clear step up in class, she should receive a nice run in transit from an inside gate and with in-form hoop Jamie Kah aboard.

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Group 3 Mannerism Stakes
No. 1 Silent Sedition

The early scratching of Petition has left eight mares in the field for the Mannerism Stakes and it is shaping as Silent Sedition’s race to lose. Silent Sedition was luckless when she was blocked for a run and finished fifth in the Group 3 Bellmaine Stakes (1200m) first-up, but she will only improve off the experience and should just win this race. Samovare ($5.50) looms as Silent Sedition’s biggest threat and she has already firmed in from a $9.50 opening quote, but she is yet to win at Caulfield and may find the market leader just a little too sharp here.

Group 1 Futurity Stakes (1400m)
No. 3 Brave Smash

The first of three Group 1 feature races on Blue Diamond Stakes Day will see eleven quality horses step out for the 2018 Futurity Stakes. Brave Smash ($3.50) flew home from the tail of the field to finish a close third in a photo finish to the Group 1 CF Orr Stakes (1400m) a fortnight ago and is rock-hard fit for his third-up assignment here. The Tosen Phantom entire failed to fire in the Group 2 Australia Stakes (1200m) first-up, but clearly enjoyed a return to Caulfield last time out and will take a sit behind the pace from his wide draw on Saturday before running on late. This is probably the talented Japanese import’s best chance at a maiden Group 1 win and he’ll be extremely difficult to beat with appropriate luck in running. Stable mates Tosen Stardom ($5.50) and Humidor ($7.50) are both live chances on class alone and the former should take plenty of improvement into this race following his unfortunate first-up run in the Orr Stakes. Three-year-old Mighty Boss ($5.50) is another horse that will improve second-up here and is drawn ideally in gate 3, with only 55.5kgs in tow. CLICK HERE for our full Futurity Stakes odds and betting update

Group 1 Blue Diamond Stakes (1200m)
No. 4 Prairie Fire (Each Way)

The feature race has drawn another outstanding and open field of two-year-olds this year and at the time of publish, the Blue Diamond Stakes is $7 the field. Prairie Fire ($8.50) was an impressive winner of the Listed Asian Executive Stakes (1100m) last weekend and warrants serious thought again on Saturday, at current odds. The Snitzel colt was settled off the pace by jockey Mark Zahra before mustering a big turn of foot to win the race by more than a length. The in-form hoop has elected to retain the ride on Prairie Fire and will have plenty of options from the rails draw. Long Leaf ($6.50) has remained favourite for the Blue Diamond Stakes for nearly all of 2018 and he has continued to receive a steady flow of support since drawing barrier 7; firming $7.50 into $7. The Fastnet Rock colt won each of his first two starts in spring with complete ease, including the Listed Merson Cooper Stakes (1000m) and resumed this time for another comfortable win in the Listed Blue Diamond Preview (1000m). Plague Stone ($7), Oohood ($7.50) and Ennis Hill ($8.50) are all live chances in Blue Diamond betting, but there is value around literally every runner. CLICK HERE for our full Blue Diamond Stakes odds and betting update

Group 1 Oakleigh Plate (1100m)
No. 2 Russian Revolution

The Oakleigh Plate is always one of the most open Group 1 races of the year and the 2018 edition is no exception to that rule. Russian Revolution is yet to taste anything but success first-up and is the $4.70 favourite in our Oakleigh Plate market at the time of publish. The Snitzel entire won the Group 1 The Galaxy (1100m) in autumn last year and while he couldn’t continue his winning run of form through two subsequent starts, resumed in spring for a dominant win in the Group 2 McEwen Stakes (1000m). He’ll have no issue performing with only 55kgs in tow and will be extremely tough to run down. Hellbent ($14) was fair at best first-up, but he has so-far attracted the lion’s share of attention here and has firmed in from an opening quote of $19 to figure as our clear market mover. The I Am Invincible entire should improve noticeably second-up, but he’ll need plenty of luck and a career-best performance to overcome this classy field. There’s plenty of value for every runner in the Oakleigh Plate field and it would not surprise to see a horse like Fuhryk win the race. Fuhryk was a strong and consistent performer throughout the entire 2017 racing calendar and was last seen finishing a close second to Viddora in the Group 1 Winterbottom Stakes (1200m) in December. She will hold some residual fitness from that campaign and typically comes to hand quickly. I will be backing Russian Revolution to win the Oakleigh Plate, but will also have an each-way bet on Fuhryk. CLICK HERE for our full Oakleigh Plate odds and betting update

Group 2 Peter Young Stakes (1800m)
No. 1 Hartnell

The final race on 2018 Blue Diamond Stakes Day is the Peter Young Stakes; the final race on the traditional path towards the Group 1 Australian Cup at Flemington in a fortnight. The early scratching of The Taj Mahal has left just nine horses in contention and Gailo Chop ($2.90) is the horse to beat again. The classy French import won the Group 1 Caulfield Stakes (2000m) most notably in spring and resumed a fortnight ago for an easy win in the Group 3 Carlyon Cup (1600m). A step up to 1800m to ideal and the Deportivo gelding will be extremely tough to run down. Hartnell ($3.30) was outstanding in winning his third Group 1 crown in the CF Orr Stakes (1400m) a fortnight ago and is another horse that will only improve in stepping out in trip. The Authorized gelding has been the standout for Godolphin Australia for well over 18 months and can salute at a good price again in the Peter Young Stakes. Single Gaze ($6.50), Harlem ($9) and Lord Fandango ($14) all add to the quality and depth of this Peter Young Stakes.