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History Says - Blue Diamond Stakes

It's hardly breaking news to suggest it helps to be in winning form heading into a feature race.

But, historically speaking, it is especially so when it comes to the $1.5 million Group 1 Blue Diamond Stakes (1200m), which will be run at Caulfield this Saturday.

Form Focus reveals that 75 per cent of the Diamonds run since 1983 have been won by a horse who was successful at its previous start.

Four of the other nine winners finished second at their final lead-up run, meaning just five of the past 36 Diamond champions were not coming off a quinella finish.

Ten of the past 12 have been last-start winners, with the other two runners-up.

That's not good reading for fans of leading fancy Athiri (third in Diamond Prelude), or one-time Diamond favourites Brooklyn Hustle (fifth in Prelude) and Catch Me (10th in Prelude).

There are six last-start winners in this year's race, including colt I Am Immortal and filly Lyre, who won their respective Blue Diamond Preludes.

I Am Immortal, picture Quentinjlang.com

As their name suggests, the Preludes have proven the most reliable Diamond guide, with seven of the past 10 winners rounding out their preparations in one of the 1100-metre events run two weeks earlier.

I Am Immortal also won his Blue Diamond Preview and is bidding to join Rancher (1982), Midnight Fever (1987), Bel Esprit (2002) and Sepoy (2011) as those to complete the Diamond set.

Favourite Loving Gaby comes off a win in the Chairman's Stakes, the race Extreme Choice won before claiming the Diamond in 2016.

Two others have completed the Chairman's/Blue Diamond double - Redoute's Choice (1999) and Road To Success (2000) - but that was when the Chairman's was run the week before the Diamond.

The Chairman's was Redoute's Choice's only start before the Diamond and Loving Gaby will become the most lightly-raced winner since, and first filly to win at her second start, if successful.

Her fans should be buoyed by the fact she sits atop bookies' boards, with punters having shot straight in the Diamond of late.

After a poor run from 2005-2010, when Sleek Chassis (2007) was the shortest-priced winner at $8 and five of the six winners started at double-figure odds, the past eight winners have been $6 or shorter, including six favourites.

Loving Gaby seemingly didn't fare too well at the barrier draw, landing gate 12 of 14, but wide alleys have not proven insurmountable of late.

Just two of the 14 winners between 2000 and 2013 jumped from double-digit gates, but two of the past five winners have started from gate 15, with another two from barrier 11.

The Verdict: Of the last-start winners who have had at least two starts, LYRE came through the most successful Diamond lead-up and is closest to the starting price of recent Diamond winners.

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