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198 two-year-olds remain in the hunt for February 25’s $1.5 million Ladbrokes Blue Diamond Stakes following the conclusion of the second round of acceptances on Tuesday.

Interest remains high in Victoria’s richest juvenile race, with several big stables from right across Australia chief among acceptors for the Group One feature.

Global giant Godolphin leads the way with 25 second acceptances, ahead of Lindsay Park with 24 and reigning Blue Diamond champion trainer Mick Price with 19.

The Lindsay Park team hold a particularly strong hand in this year’s edition with all three of Catchy, Tulip and Formality among their acceptors. Those horses are the top three early favourites in Ladbrokes’ all-in market.

Trailing those in the market include second acceptors Aspect, Khan, Cao Cao and dominant debut winner Roomooz. Having paid the $5,500 late entry fee two months ago, John Price has again accepted with Battle Storm.

Exceed and Excel is the best represented stallion among second declarations with 21 of his sons and daughters still in contention to be crowned the 2017 Blue Diamond champion. Those progeny will be bidding to land their sire his first Blue Diamond since Earthquake in 2014.

The only sire close to Exceed and Excel in terms of total numbers is Snitzel with 18. All Too Hard and Sebring both have 10 each of their offspring still in the running this year.

The 2017 Ladbrokes Blue Diamond series commences with the Blue Diamond Previews (1000m; Group 3 for fillies, Listed for colts and geldings) on Australia Day, followed by Preludes (1100m; Group 2 for fillies, Group 3 for colts and geldings) onFebruary 11 and climaxing with the Blue Diamond Stakes over 1200 metres on Saturday, 25 February 2017.

The Preview and Prelude races will not only provide a clearer picture of the pecking order among second acceptors, it will also give trainers the opportunity to see if their un-nominated horses are worth paying the $55,000 late acceptance fee for byFebruary 20.

All horses originally nominated for the 2017 Ladbrokes Blue Diamond Stakes will remain eligible for the 2017 Group Three Catanach’s Jewellers Blue Sapphire Stakes, even if their nomination lapses at the first, second, third or final acceptance stage.

Third acceptances close at 12pm noon (AEDT) on Tuesday 31 January 2017.

                                           2017 Ladbrokes Blue Diamond Stakes
Nominators 2017 Top sires 2017 State 2017
Godolphin 25 Exceed and Excel 21 Victoria 118
Hayes & Dabernig 24 Snitzel 18 NSW 65
Mick Price 19 All Too Hard 10 SA 15
Robbie Griffiths 12 Sebring 10
Hawkes Racing 10 Sepoy 9
Tony McEvoy 10 Lonhro 8  


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