A record number of horses remain in contention for the $1.5 million Ladbrokes Blue Diamond Stakes (1200m) following the conclusion of the first round of acceptances yesterday.
706 horses have been declared as first acceptors for Victoria’s richest two-year-old event to be run on Saturday 24 February 2018. The figure represents a rise from the 686 horses that accepted at this stage last year and is also the first time that first acceptances have topped 700 in the race’s history.
The reigning Ladbrokes Blue Diamond Stakes winning partnership of David and Ben Hayes and Tom Dabernig top the list of first acceptors with 77, ahead of Tony McEvoy and Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott who are tied on 46. Caulfield trainers Aaron Purcell (38) and Mick Price (34) along with the Hawkes Racing (34) all round out the top number of stable acceptors.
The best represented stallions among the list of first acceptances include I Am Invincible, who has 48 sons and daughters still in contention for the feature race next year. I Am Invincible was the second leading two-year-old sire by winners last season with 29, just behind Champion Sire Snitzel (32) who is represented by 42 of his own progeny, while Pierro is represented by 29 juveniles among 2018 Ladbrokes Blue Diamond Stakes first acceptors.
Hawkes Racing have accepted with Black Caviar’s second foal, Prince of Caviar, a bay colt by Sebring and have also entered Fastnet Rock’s daughter Symi, the bay filly out of Cats Whisker who is a full sister to last year’s Ladbrokes Blue Diamond winner Catchy.
The 2018 Ladbrokes Blue Diamond series features the following contests: – $150,000 Group 3 Ladbrokes Blue Diamond Preview for fillies (1000m) and $150,000 Listed Ladbrokes Blue Diamond Preview for colts and geldings (1000m) on January 27, $200,000 Group 2 Ladbrokes Blue Diamond Prelude for fillies (1100m) and $200,000 Group 3 Ladbrokes Blue Diamond Prelude for colts and geldings (1100m) on February 10, climaxing two weeks later with the $1.5 million Blue Diamond Stakes (1200m) on Saturday 24 February.
All horses originally nominated for next year’s Ladbrokes Blue Diamond Stakes will remain eligible for the 2018 $350,000 Group 3 Catanach’s Jewellers Blue Sapphire Stakes (1200m) during next year’s BMW Caulfield Cup Carnival, even if their nomination lapses at the first, second, third or final acceptance stage.
Second declarations for the 2018 Ladbrokes Blue Diamond Stakes (1200m) close at 12pm noon (AEDT) on Tuesday 9 January 2018.