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Mark Zahra has decided to ride Prairie Fire over Plague Stone

Mark Zahra has switched from one Blue Diamond Stakes fancy to another.

The jockey has been released by Godolphin from the ride on the James Cummings-trained Plague Stone so he can continue his association with impressive Talindert Stakes winner Prairie Fire in Saturday’s $1.5 million Blue Diamond (1200m) at Caulfield.

The Mick Price-trained Prairie Fire is raced by Sun Stud and clinched his berth in the Blue Diamond with his win at Flemington on Saturday, firming to $9.

“I was on Plague Stone (but) obviously I do a lot of my riding for Sun Stud and they’ve been very good to me,” Zahra told RSN927.

“So after Prairie Fire won and got in I had to sort of beg James Cummings if I could stick to Sun Stud and he was very good and let me off.

“I’m on Prairie Fire now. I’m happy enough to be on him.”

Prairie Fire wore blinkers in the Talindert and Zahra was impressed by the colt’s acceleration between the 400m and 200m of the race.

Zahra will be chasing his first Blue Diamond.

He rode star colt Sepoy to dominant wins in the Preview and Prelude in 2011 but Darley’s stable rider Kerrin McEvoy was aboard for the Blue Diamond when the odds-on favourite won by more than four lengths.

In 2015, he rode the favourite Fontiton who finished fifth after taking out both the fillies Preview and Prelude in the lead-up.

Godolphin have booked Damian Lane and Ben Melham for Blue Diamond rides.

The stable plans to have Encryption and Plague Stone in the race.

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