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Hawk’s 2014 Blue Diamond Stakes Day Selections

February 22, 2014

It was Melbourne Cup day – November 5 last year – when I last posted a set of tips for Australian racing. In the months since, I have settled into my new job working for the South China Morning Post in Hong Kong, trying to get my head around the different quirks of what is arguably the most successful racing jurisdiction in the world.

However, I’ve still been keeping a close eye on Australian racing. In order to keep my eye in, so to speak, I will be posting my tips for every Group 1 meeting for the rest of the season, as well as every Australian race that is simulcast into Hong Kong.

Today, we have the Blue Diamond Stakes from Caulfield, with three Group 1 races on the card. Hong Kong is taking a number of the races, but is also taking the Apollo Stakes and the Triscay Stakes from Randwick, so I’ve included tips for those two races as well.

I’ve written out my analysis for the three Group 1 races, while providing tips for the rest.

Best of luck today!

CAULFIELD

Race 1 – PERRI CUTTEN HANDICAP (1400m)

3 – FRESHWATER STORM
1 – FINISHING CARD
5 – KITTEN ON THE RUN
10 – FINAL JEST

Race 2 – GROUP 3 ZEDITAVE STAKES (1200m)

5 – NOT LISTENIN’TOME
1 – LION OF BELFORT
2 – FAST ‘N’ ROCKING
3 – THERMAL CURRENT

Race 3 – GROUP 2 ANGUS ARMANASCO STAKES (1400m)

4 – MARIANNE
6 – METAPHORICAL
3 – SPIRITS DANCE
1 – BOUND FOR EARTH

Race 4 – GROUP 2 CAULFIELD AUTUMN CLASSIC (1800m)

11 – DELIBERATE
4 – BRING SOMETHING
5 – ALPHA BEAT
6 – SAGUARO

Race 5 – GROUP 2 PETER YOUNG STAKES (1800m)

1 – FIORENTE
9 – LET’S MAKE ADEAL
7 – STAR ROLLING
6 – PAKAL

Race 6 – GROUP 1 FUTURITY STAKES (1400m)

Quite a disappointing Group 1 really, just as the Orr Stakes was two weeks ago. It’s clear Sydney’s The Championships have changed preparations for horses, with many preferring to wait until later in the carnival to kick off.

Still, there has to be a winner, and I think LIDARI can add a Group 1 to his record. An OTI import, it’s a real shame we didn’t see him progress further into the spring. He came from nowhere first up over this track and distance last preparation to win an open handicap, before finishing a neck behind Fiorente at weight-for-age in the Dato Tan Chin Nam Stakes. With another six months under his belt, I think he can win here.

BULL POINT is the obvious danger after his good return in the Manfred Stakes. His Golden Rose run over this trip remains one of the best performances of the season to date. I hope he is ridden behind runners, as I think he is a better chaser, but he still looks hard to beat.

I have to include MOMENT OF CHANGE purely because it looks a race ready-made for him. He was lucky to beat Eurozone in the Orr Stakes, and I’m not sure he’ll get the same luck here, but he should finish in the first three if all goes well.

Next best SMOKIN’ JOEY, who went to a new level last campaign, while I expect SIZZLING to be right in the mix.

7 – LIDARI
9 – BULL POINT
2 – MOMENT OF CHANGE
5 – SMOKIN’ JOEY

Race 7 – GROUP 1 BLUE DIAMOND STAKES (1200m)

Hands up if you feel confident about the Blue Diamond Stakes? Anyone? Nope? No, me either. While it looks an obvious race on paper – stick with RUBICK and EARTHQUAKE – I’m not so sure it is as simple as that.

Both have queries over them. For Rubick, he looked flat at the end of 1100m in the Colts and Geldings Prelude. Now, that’s perhaps no surprise – after missing the start slightly, he was dug up to lead. He ran it fairly solidly, and was entitled to run out of steam at the end. It was a good performance and it’s little wonder he is at the head of markets. He’s the one to beat.

Earthquake ran the same time in the Fillies Prelude, and actually gets 2kg off Rubick. However, it was a completely different scenario – she faced nowhere near as much pressure, then when asked for an effort, she quickened nicely before extending her margin in the final 100m. My concern with Earthquake is the barrier, as it limits her options. It is her opportunity to prove how good she is, and there’s no doubt she can win.

All that said, I think there is one that can beat the pair of them – the half brother to a previous Blue Diamond winner. I’m talking about NOSTRADAMUS. He was superb on debut, and last start, came from right near the back to finish fourth. CHIVALRY, who he meets here again, actually came from behind him to pass him, but after what happened to Nostradamus in the opening stages of the race – he knuckled at the start, lost a shoe and quartered a heel – I think he can turn the tables. He should settle closer in the run here and he may prove hard to beat.

Next best is NAYELI, who comes from a different form line to the majority of the field, coming through the Chairman’s Stakes, while Chivalry is also some hope. I think the winner is likely to come from those five runners.

5 – NOSTRADAMUS
2 – RUBICK
12 – EARTHQUAKE
13 – NAYELI

Race 8 – GROUP 1 OAKLEIGH PLATE (1100m)

The Oakleigh Plate is always one of the tougher races to get my head around, but we had a fair deal of success with Woorim two years ago, so hopefully we can have some more success today.

We were happy to take 20-1 about GREGERS earlier in the week, and she is now as short as $10 in some places, so we were obviously not alone in that opinion. The David Hayes-trained filly was stretched out to 1600m last preparation where she proved no match for the likes of Guelph, but to my eye she looks more a sprinter than a miler and trained that way, I think she can fire. I think she’s a big chance.

It was hard not to be impressed by KNOYDART’s win in the Hareeba Stakes at Mornington last start. He may only be coming off two Listed wins, but last start was one of the easiest wins you will see and if he repeats that performance he’ll be going awfully close here.

KARACATIS is a speed machine who just held on to win the Chrismas Stakes here on Boxing Day. He’s building a nice record and I think a solidly-run 1100m will be right up his alley. One at odds.

And BEL SPRINTER is the best horse in the race – at least on his performances to date – and a repeat of last year’s win in the Galaxy should see him win here. However, he probably needs to jump away a bit cleaner than he has done at his last few, and that remains his biggest issue. Definite chance though.

Next best SHAMAL WIND and MINAJ, while I’m happy to risk LANKAN RUPEE for a number of reasons – it’s not a favourites race, he’s nowhere near as good second up as he is fresh, and I think he was flattered fresh anyway.

16 – GREGERS
9 – KNOYDART
13 – KARACATIS
1 – BEL SPRINTER

Race 9 – GROUP 3 MANNERISM STAKES (1400m)

1 – ARINOSA
2 – BONARIA
4 – BIPPO NO BUNGUS
7 – HAZARD

RANDWICK

Race 7 – GROUP 2 APOLLO STAKES (1400m)

10 – APPEARANCE
1 – BOBAN
4 – SPEEDINESS
7 – RAIN DRUM

Race 8 – GROUP 3 TRISCAY STAKES (1200m)

8 – MORE THAN BRAVE
1 – SHE’S CLEAN
2 – JOLIE BAY
7 – GAMBA

One Comment leave one →
  1. Trevor Hawkins permalink
    February 22, 2014 3:18 pm

    I onpassed to Phil. Include him in your mailout next time.

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