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Winx's sister Covent Garden headlines the 2020 Blue Diamond nominations

Interest in Victoria’s premier juvenile race is at an all-time high, with a record 1767 yearlings nominated for the 2020 $1.5 million Ladbrokes Blue Diamond Stakes (1200m), amongst them bloodlines linked to some greats of the turf.

The figure shatters last year’s record total of 1688 nominations, setting a new benchmark for next year’s Group 1 showpiece, to be run at Caulfield Racecourse on Saturday, 22 February.

Ciaron Maher and David Eustace top the list of Blue Diamond nominators for the first time, the duo entering 132 yearlings in their pursuit of a maiden Blue Diamond Stakes title. The pair edge out the Lindsay Park team of David and Ben Hayes and Tom Dabernig, who entered 126 yearlings, with Peter and Paul Snowden third (101).

Reigning Blue Diamond champions Godolphin nominated 85 yearlings of their own, including blueblood colt Namazu and filly Jadida, both of whom will look to emulate the deeds of their Blue Diamond-winning mothers, Earthquake and Miracles Of Life.

Sydney’s premier trainer Chris Waller also unveiled his next generation of equine stars, among his 84 nominations a half-sister to his champion mare Winx, named Covent Garden, a half-brother to retired superstar Shoals (Medaglia D’Oro/The Broken Shore) and a regally-bred colt by Deep Impact out of champion filly Miss Finland.

Boom sire I Am Invincible leads the way as the best represented stallion amongst those nominated, with no less than 98 of his progeny in Blue Diamond contention. I Am Invincible has thus far produced 17 stakes-winning two-year-olds in his short time at stud and there will be high hopes that his first two-year-old Group 1 winner may emerge from this group.

Victorian stallion Written Tycoon, sire of 2018 Blue Diamond Stakes winner Written By, is next with 88, followed by Snitzel (73), Zoustar (64) and the in-demand Vancouver (56).

A total of 208 yearlings are also eligible to win the 2020 Inglis Blue Diamond Bonus. On behalf of Inglis, the $500,000 bonus will be split equally between catalogued vendor and supplier if a yearling sold at the 2019 Melbourne Premier Yearling Sale wins the 2020 Blue Diamond Stakes.

The 2020 Ladbrokes Blue Diamond Stakes series commences with the Blue Diamond Previews on January 25 (1000m; Group 3 for fillies, Listed for colts and geldings), followed by the Preludes on February 8 (1100m; Group 2 for fillies, Group 3 for colts and geldings), ahead of the Ladbrokes Blue Diamond Stakes over 1200 metres on Saturday, 22 February 2020.

First Declarations for the Ladbrokes 2020 Blue Diamond Stakes close at 12pm, Tuesday, 19 November, 2019 ($330).

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