Extreme Choice has tightened his grip on favouritism for the Blue Diamond Stakes with an authoritative win in the Group Three Chairman’s Stakes.
The Mick Price-trained colt firmed from $5 to $2.70 for the Blue Diamond in three weeks after resuming with a 4-1/2 length victory at Caulfield on Saturday.
Price compared Extreme Choice, unbeaten in two starts, to a former Blue Diamond winner he trained.
“He reminds me very much of Samaready, as in being a natural,” Price said.
And he said horses such as Miracles Of Life, who might have been a query at 1200m, have been able to win Blue Diamonds being ready-made two-year-olds.
“We think he’ll get it (the 1200m) pretty well,” Price said.
“We think he’s going to be a red-hot chance in the race for sure.”
Ridden by Damien Oliver, Extreme Choice ($1.40) found the lead and relaxed well before scooting away to set up a winning break.
Oliver then allowed Extreme Choice to cruise to the post to defeat Highland Beat with Gratwick three-quarters of a length away third.
“I suppose raceday tells all, as it did,” Price said.
“The main thing is he was strong to the line, the time was good and he did it with something up his sleeve,” Price said.
Price is reserving judgment on his leading Blue Diamond hope until after next week’s Preludes when Flying Artie resumes with Oliver aboard.
“We won’t make a decision on jockeys until after next Saturday,” Price said.
Oliver said Extreme Choice couldn’t have been more impressive heading to the Diamond next start.
“I could have taken a sit today if I wanted to. It’s good he’s got that string to his bow if he needs it,” Oliver said.
“He’s everything you want in a two-year-old.”
Defcon is on the second line of Blue Diamond betting at $8 ahead of Calliope ($9) and Flying Artie ($11).
Valliano, winner of the Inglis Premier on Saturday, firmed from $51 to $21 for the Diamond.