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The 2-year-olds step out at Caulfield this weekend for $1,500,000 Blue Diamond Stakes, won by the very smart filly Catchy last year. A field of 16 will contest the 1200m race in what looks to be a very open field and a tough betting affair. With only a handful of starts to go off for each runner, we dissect the form in the lead up to crowing the best of the class of 2018.

1. Long Leaf (7) – Kerrin McEvoy

Fastnet Rock x Frustrating

Undefeated in 3 runs to date, all in 1000m races. Best time was a 57.48 on a soft track at Sandown, running a prompt 33.12 for the final 600. Hit the line at 65.10 kp/h during this run, indicating he will eat up the 1200m. Beat Oohood here. McEvoy is in the money 40% of the time for the Hayes stable this season.

2. Written By (18) – Jordan Childs

Written Tycoon x Yau Chin

Also undefeated in 2 runs including a win at this track over 1100m. Was impressive at Sandown on a heavy 9, in fact finding a top speed of 66.67 kp/h and running a 10.80 split, rare for a heavy track. Can compare to Fullazaboot in the MM 2YO Classic who was strong on heavy tracks before finishing runner up. Has to contend with the car park. Ran 1100 in 1:04.98

3. Run Naan (2) – Andrew Mallyon

Makfi x Raneen

2.5L behind subsequent MM 2YO Classic runner Crockett before winning Cranbourne trial and impressing on debut at Bendigo. Came from the rear of the field to win over 1000m at Flemington in 57.37, clocking a 33.66 for the last 600. Placed behind Long Leaf at Caulfield before coming from 11th to run 5th in the Prelude. 1:05.64 for 1100m, wants 1200.

4. Prairie Fire (1) – Mark Zahra

Snitzel x Consistency

One of the major players going on his most recent run over the 1100m straight trip at Flemington. Another one that will relish the rise in distance with close to the best late speed in the field. Came from 8th to score in a time of 1:03.48, clocking 33.72 for the final 600 in the Prelude. Ran 3rd behind Ennis Hill and Encryption on debut, hitting the line extremely well. Should be flying.

5. Ollivander (3) – Chris Symonds

Charge Forward x Ebony Wand

Needs to improve on last run when 10th of 13. Was very impressive on debut however when beating Anthemoessa and Fake in a time of 1:03.41 on this track and distance. 0.5L off Long Leaf over 1000m where he beat Run Naan.

6. Encryption (15) – Damien Lane

Lonhro x Guelph

Yet to win a race but yet to miss a place. The Godolphin runner has been in the money in all 3 starts to date yet hasn’t broke through. Did finish in front of Prairie Fire over 1000m, running a very prompt 33.28 for the last 600. Has not had a start over further than 1000 but best time of 0:57.28 over the distance is very competitive.

7. Native Soldier (20) – Brad Rawiller

Aided by top-notch trainer and jockey. Widest draw won’t help but will benefit from race experience with 5 starts for 2 wins to date. 5th in the Ballarat MM 2YO Classic and run down by Ollivander next start but has since recorded consecutive victories at Geelong and Moonee Valley. Placed in the Prelude, best time 1:04.64 over 1100.

8. Plague Stone (6) – Ben Melham

Lonhro x Giggleswick

Massive trial winner (5.3L) at Canterbury before finishing runner up on debut and runner up in the Prelude. Both runs to date have been over 1100, running a best time of 1:04.40 and fastest final 600 of 34.41. 0.5L off Written By is enough to run a good race here.

9. Grand Symphony (5) – Jye McNeil

Glass Harmonium x Frolicking Miss

Certainly not disgraced in only race to date, finishing runner up to Kinky Boom. Has run the 1200 before which is a clear advantage. Showed good speed during the run, recording consective splits less than 11 seconds mid-race to clock a 1:10.32 for the 1200m trip. Will be a danger if he can hold that speed for the duration.

10. Enbihaar (19) – Cory Parish

Magnus x Charm’s Honour

Another undefeated runner, winning over 1000 at Morphetville before beating Oohood at this track over 1100 on February 10, sitting on the pace the to overpower them by 0.5L. Came home in 35.52, running the 1100 in 1:05.22. Beat Oohood in her most recent run.

11. Kinky Boom (14) – Craig Williams

Spirit of Boom x Kinka Rhode

Very impressive on debut where the Spirit Of Boom filly blitzed her opponents by almost 2L when coming from last. Perhaps has the biggest advantage here, winning and winning well over 1200. She looked to do it very easy, streaking away in 1:09.92 and 35.00 for the last 600. Held speed very well the entire journey, running sub 11-second splits and holding an imposing average speed for the journey, better over 1200 than the majority here over 1000-1100.

12. Lady Horseowner (12) – Nikita Beriman

Equiano x Kid Gloves

Undefeated after wins at Moonee Valley and Caulfield, both over 1000m. Beat Crossing the Abbey and Oohood last time out in a time of 57.85, running a 34.68 for the last 600. Hit the line well and won’t mind the extra distance.

13. Ennis Hill (4) – Stephen Baster

Fastnet Rock x Hips Don’t Lie

2.35L 4th on debut behind Ollivander but outstanding when beating Encryption and Prairie Fire at Caulfield last time out. Taking the lead early, she has the fastest time in this field over 1000 with a time of 57.02, coming home in 33.28. Must rise to the extra distance however but looks likely to threaten, holding very good speed the duration of the trip, especially in the closing stages.

14. Crossing the Abbey (9) – Luke Nolen

Helmet x Music in the Park

Has already come up against Nomothaj and Sunlight at Flemington last year, though finishing 4th had a very impressive run home and clocked 33.12 for the last 600. With a top speed of 70.73 kp/h, she no slouch at all. Only win was next start at Flemington, again over 1000m, this time running it in 57.29 with an even better final 3 furlongs of 32.88, close to or if not the best in this field. Must improve on last start where she was 2 and a half lengths 6th behind Enbihaar and Oohood at Caulfield over 1100.

15. Quafila (16) – Dwayne Dunn

Not a Single Doubt x Zighy Bay

Beat Sacred Sword and Encryption on debut over 1000m in a time of 58.30. Came from 10th to finish 4th in her most recent run, again over 1000m but couldn’t catch Setsuna or Roobeena however ran a better last 600 this time out, finishing in 33.92. Beat the speedy Nomothaj by 1L in her first trial but couldn’t go with them recently, finishing 4L 3rd of 4 in a Geelong trial on January 29.

16. Oohood (10) – Luke Currie

Been there-abouts in every race to date without threatening and wants 1200 more than anything else does here. Just 0.1L off Long Leaf at Sandown on debut when coming from last. Just as impressive next run again over 1000, coming from the back to miss Lady Horseowner by 0.7L prior to a rise in distance, getting out to 1100 to again come from the rear to finish runner up by 0.5L. Close to breaking the 32-second barrier for a final 600, getting home in 33.12 on debut. Another with a top speed of over 70 kp/h, first win coming sooner rather than later.

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