Earlier this month nominations for the Golden Slipper and Blue Diamond were released with a record number nominated for both.
The $3.5 million Slipper, which is the world’s richest two-year-old race, attracted 2197 first nominations. Only 16 runners will make it to the starting gates for the March 24 Group 1 Golden Slipper at Rosehill.
The Melbourne Racing Club received 1470 nominations for the $1.5 million Blue Diamond, to be run at Caulfield on February 24.
In the coming months racing powerhouse Godolphin is certain to unveil several contenders for both features. Under new trainer James Cummings Godolphin leads nominations for the Slipper with 152.
David and Ben Hayes and Tom Dabernig have entered 111 juveniles. Six-time Golden Slipper winning trainer Gai Waterhouse and her co-trainer Adrian Bott have entered 90 horses for Rosehill.
Godolphin’s Exceed and Excel colt, Orsono and stablemate Pacific Crest, have opened $34 for the Slipper.
Topping the list of Blue Diamond nominators is this year’s winning training partnership of David and Ben Hayes and Tom Dabernig. They won this year’s race with Catchy and have 112 entries for next year’s race.
The Waterhouse-Bott partnership is next with 97 youngsters, just ahead of Godolphin (89) and Snowden Racing (69).
An unnamed Snitzel colt out of Consistency, which is a three-quarter brother to Group 1 winning sprinter Snitzerland, heads the online bookmaker’s Blue Diamond market on $31.
There is worldwide interest in Australia’s premier yearling sales and there is no doubt the target is an early comer. While the Melbourne Cup is traditionally Australia’s great race, there is no doubt the Blue Diamond and Slipper are coveted by owners and trainers.
“Many yearlings went under the hammer earlier in the year and owners would have recently seen their babies nominated for these two pipe-dream races. So if there is a horse that is not in our markets we’re happy to offer a price and add others on request,’’ said Lewski.
Earlier this year Sportsbet broke new ground when they became the first bookmaker to offer markets for every Australian Group 1 race in 2017.
A market on the 2018 Magic Millions Classic is also on site. So punters, owners and breeding buffs alike can now wager on next season’s three big two-year-old races.