This year’s Blue Diamond Stakes (1200m) is a very open race with five runners taking an unbeaten record into the Caulfield Group 1. Champion jockey Craig Williams could supply the best guide. Williams has twice won on highly fancied Property and Jukebox, once on Formality and Tulip, but has stuck with the race favourite Catchy, who he has ridden to victory in her three career starts.
Jockey: Joao Moreira.
Why he can: Finished second to Catchy on debut and went on to win his next two starts this track. Enjoyed the gun run and scored impressively in Blue Diamond Preview. He followed that with a game win in the Blue Diamond Prelude (1100m), hitting the line strongly after racing three deep for the trip. Has the ideal barrier for his racing pattern.
Why he can’t: Has no negatives.
Jockey: Kerrin McEvoy.
Why he can: Turned in a nice first-up effort with a fast-finishing second behind Property in the Preview. Latest he had a wide gate and faced the breeze three wide for the entire trip. Despite the tough run he didn’t shirk the task at the end and fought back for fourth.
Why he can’t: He’s honest, but if anything he is still a little green, but the addition of winkers might help offset that.
Jockey: Luke Nolen.
Why he can: He bypassed the preview and Prelude and has won only two starts. Latest he enjoyed the box-seat and didn’t go around another horse to win the Inglis (1200m) at Caulfield. He’s had a margin both times and kept his mind on the job for solid wins and one of only two runners to have won over 1200m.
Why he can’t: Not sure the quality of opposition is as good as he is meeting here.
Jockey: Blake Shinn.
Why he can: Won the Canonbury (1100m) at Rosehill before heading to Melbourne. He turned in a super effort last start when second to Property. He couldn’t match Property’s turn of foot, but gathered momentum and took a lot of ground off him late, so 1200m should suit.
Why he can’t: He lacks early speed, which is a concern from this barrier. There is every chance he could get trapped deep midfield or get too far back.
WAIT FOR NO ONE
Jockey: Regan Bayliss.
Why he can: Won the Debutant Stakes (1000m) on debut. Two runs this time in have been fair. Latest showed speed and battled on for third to Property in the Prelude.
Why he can’t: Will need to work to cross these and may use too much gas. Property has had his measure both times they have met.
Jockey: Luke Currie.
Why he can: Rested after he won the Maribyrnong Plate in November. Fitter for first-up effort when seventh to Formality in Chairman’s Stakes (1000m). Winkers go on, which may help his chances.
Why he can’t: Was given very chance last start and was disappointing, would need a massive form reversal.
Jockey: Mark Zahra.
Why he can: Followed win at Moonee Valley with fighting sixth to Property in the Prelude. Showed speed and from the good barrier he should be prominent again.
Why he can’t: Hasn’t shown enough to suggest he can measure up to these.
Jockey: Craig Newitt.
Why he can: Still a maiden, but from top Snowden yard. He made up plenty of ground last start when second in Talindert Stakes (1200m) at Flemington. Placed at Randwick prior to that.
Why he can’t: Taking on the top grade here and looks out of his depth at this stage of his career.
Jockey: Steven Arnold.
Why he can: Won only two starts. Followed win at Morphettville with dominant 5.5 length win at Sale in 1200m two-year-old Handicap.
Why he can’t: Has to jump and run from barrier 15 against top line juveniles and not sure he is up to this class yet.
Jockey: Damian Lane.
Why he can: Won Geelong Maiden and was then given a breather. Resumed with a disappointing run behind Property in the Prelude. Fitter now and blinkers go on.
Why he can’t: Would need to make too much improvement and rivals look better.
Odds ($5.50 favourite)
Jockey: Craig Williams.
Why she can: Jockey Craig Williams has won on several runners but chose to ride this filly, which is unbeaten in her three starts. Won on debut at Moonee Valley and followed up with two wins here. Latest she held off a late challenge from Limestone to win the fillies’ Prelude.
Why she can’t: The wide gate is her main nemesis. Williams will try and ride her back from 13 alleys and is a risk of getting trapped deep. She has come from behind to win her three starts, but they were in smaller fields.
Jockey: Ryan Moore.
Why he can: Unbeaten in two race starts at with a combined margin of 5.8 lengths from her Werribee and Caulfield wins. This filly is a brilliant beginner and has blistering gate speed, which will help her negate the wide gate. Won the Chairman’s Stake (1000m) at her last start and didn’t get out of second gear in the run to the line.
Why she can’t: Steps out to 1200m for the first time. This is certain to be a high-pressure race and there is some doubt about her running out a strong 1200m.
Jockey: Damien Oliver.
Why she can: Won at Moonee Valley and at latest effort she finished a solid second behind Limestone in the Blue Diamond Preview over 1100m. She sat three deep the entire trip and probably hit the front too early. She fought on and was only claimed in the shadows of the winning post.
Why she can’t: She is sure to be improved for the run, but she is a definite query to run out a strong 1200m.
Jockey: Ben Melham.
Why she can: Worked hard early and raced outside Formality last start. She edged ahead, but tired late and finished third. That was her second run from a break and she should be peaking here. Tongue tie goes on.
Why she can’t: Absolute outside barrier is a real concern and is a huge blow to her chances of running the trip out strongly.
Jockey: Dwayne Dunn.
Why she can: Won in Adelaide on debut and then far from disgraced when fourth to Catchy in the Prelude 1100m. She had the rails draw, but lacked the gate speed to stay in touch. She took time to wind-up and although she didn’t threaten, she hit the line strongly. The addition of winkers may sharpen her.
Why she can’t: Hard to see her turning the tables on Catchy.
Jockey: Brendan McCarthy.
Why she can: Hard to make a case for her. Won a much easier grade on debut.
Why she can’t: Lacks the class.
Jockey: Stephen Baster.
Why she can: Wears winkers for the first time, but she is yet to win in two starts.
Why she can’t: Just looks out of her depth at this stage.
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