Jason Warren has lost no faith in former Blue Diamond favourite Brooklyn Hustle as he prepares the filly for the $1.5 million Group One race at Caulfield.
Brooklyn Hustle won stylishly on debut at The Valley on December 1 to stamp herself as a leading 2019 Blue Diamond contender but she had her colours lowered in her lead-up race in the fillies Prelude last Saturday week.
Brooklyn Hustle was $8 equal third favourite with fillies Prelude winner Lyre on Sunday, behind fellow fillies Loving Gaby ($4) and Athiri ($5).
Warren said Brooklyn Hustle’s Prelude run was a definite pass mark when she settled back in the field and ran home into fifth.
“She has definitely come on,” Warren said.
“She’s nice and switched on in her work and she will run better again on Saturday.
“I knew where she was at.
“She looked so well in the yard I was tempted to think she might be able to win the Prelude, but I did not have her wound up to be winning last week.
“I left good improvement in the tank.”
Beau Mertens, who rode Brooklyn Hustle on debut, reunites with the filly with Ben Melham sticking with unbeaten colt I Am Immortal.
Dwayne Dunn has picked up the ride on former favourite Catch Me who disappointed in the fillies Prelude but had previously won the Gimcrack Stakes and fillies Blue Diamond Preview impressively.
Dunn won four Blue Diamonds in a row between 2005 and 2008.
In the final three of those Dunn teamed with trainer David Hayes whose Lindsay Park operation is planning to have Lankan Star (Damien Oliver) and Friday night’s Valley winner Andrassy Avenue (Luke Nolen) in Saturday’s race.
Damian Lane rides the Ciaron Maher and David Eustace-trained Loving Gaby while Linda Meech will ride stablemate Bella Rosa.
Hawker Hurricane, to be ridden by Mark Zahra, was a closing third in the colts and geldings Prelude in his return from a break and trainer Mike Moroney will apply blinkers to the colt.
“I thought if he did things right in the Prelude he would have won it, and that’s what Mark said when he came back in as well,” Moroney said.
“Hence the decision to put the blinkers on.
“We gave him a hit-out on Saturday morning in blinkers and we were very pleased with him.”
Hugh Bowman is booked to ride the Mick Price-trained Shotmaker who was second to I Am Immortal on debut in the Prelude.
“He worked super on Saturday morning,” Price said.
Free Of Debt is a late entry and the Chris Bieg-trained unbeaten colt galloped between races at Morphettville on Saturday as part of his preparation.