Blue Diamond Stakes Update
New Zealand’s online betting fans have enjoyed Australia’s summer racing calendar, and interest is unlikely to die down as the Melbourne season moves into autumn. Caulfield Racecourse hosts Blue Diamond Stakes Day on February 25, with three great Group 1 races on the card.
The main race of the day, the Blue Diamond Stakes, is a 1200m set-weights handicap for two-year-olds, with an Australian record purse of $1.5-million. A lot of punters will fancy Catchy, after the filly surged home to beat Limestone by a nose in Saturday’s 1100m Group 2 Blue Diamond Prelude (F) at Caulfield.
However, jockey Craig Williams also rode Property to victory in the 1100m Group 3 Ladbroke’s Blue Diamond Prelude (C and G). The gelding may also be in the Blue Diamond Stakes draw, so it isn’t clear yet which will be Williams’ mount at Caulfield.
Futurity Stakes Should See Tight Contest
The 1400m Futurity Stakes weight-for-age handicap, for three-year-olds and older, also attracts plenty of betting action from New Zealand. Last Saturday’s Group 1 C.F. Orr Stakes at Caulfield, also a weight-for-age over 1400m, was won by Black Heart Bart, so the 6-year-old gelding looks good for the Futurity Stakes.
However, New Zealand 5-year-old entire Turn Me Loose, winner of the 2016 Futurity Stakes, led the C.F. Orr practically from the start, with Black Heart Bart only coming through to win by a length in the final 50m, after challenging hard from the 300m-mark. Turn Me Loose is also nominated for the Futurity Stakes, so Caulfield could see a replay.
Extreme Choice, Thermal Current in Oakleigh Plate
The third great race at Caulfield on Blue Diamond Stakes Day is the 1100m Oakleigh Plate, an open handicap. It will be the first race of the year for promising Nick Price-trained three-year-old colt Extreme Choice, who won four of his six starts in 2015-16; all of them sprints.
Another one to watch for in the Oakleigh Plate will be Thermal Current, the 6-year-old gelding trained by Darren Weir. He’s won two 1000m races from three starts this year, including the W.J. Adams at Caulfield on February 04.
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