Friday, February 25, 2011

Autumn Racing Carnival – week 3 – Blue Diamond Stakes

SEPOY-vince caligiuri
Sepoy – photo from The Age by Vince Caligiuri

A quick post on the three main events at Caulfield tomorrow, featuring the Melbourne equivalent of Sydney’s Golden Slipper Stakes.

The Blue Diamond like the Golden Slipper is a Group One race for two year olds over 1200 metres. Star Witness who is running in the Group One Oakleigh Plate tomorrow, won it last year.

Having watched all the previews and preludes over the last month, it is pretty clear that Sepoy is the top pick, though will no doubt start at short odds. Favourites don’t win this race very often, but Sepoy is in a class by himself and may prove the omens false. If not Sepoy, there’s Atomic who has the wraps on him after winning his first race very stylishly, also the filly Avenay who slaughtered her opposition last week in the Talindert Stakes. Other than the above, it’s anybody’s guess. It’s a race for two year olds after all and anything could happen.

Top Sydney mare More Joyous will be contesting the Group One Futurity Stakes (1400 metres). She is quite likely to win this as she proved last spring that she handles the course and the Melbourne way of going. It’s a pity Typhoon Tracy has been retired, otherwise we would have witnessed a rare event – the top two middle distance mares going head to head. Be that as it may, the other class mare Ortensia might give More Joyous a run for the money, but most likely Whobegotyou who hasn’t raced since his creditable third in the 2010 Cox Plate, is the other main contender along with New Zealand horse King Mufhasa.

The Group One Oakleigh Plate, is a sprint over 1100 metres and has attracted a classy field of eighteen runners. Catapulted who won his last start is the favourite, but the race is wide open with a number of the other runners being capable of winning. Star Witness, whose Guineas ambitions were abandoned after his less than impressive performance in the Manfred Stakes, will be set for sprint races from now on and could very well win this one. The in form Peter Moody stable has several top chances in Set For Fame, Avenue, Reward For Effort, Hinchinbrook and Panipique. Throw in Varenna Miss and Solar Charged and you have a very talented field with many chances.

We won’t witness anything as special as Black Caviar’s extraordinary Lightning Stakes win this week, but it’s a rich and interesting race card all the same.

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