|What||Blue Diamond Stakes Day 2023|
|Where||Sandown Racecourse – 591-659 Princes Hwy, Springvale VIC 3171|
|When||Saturday, February 25, 2023|
|First Race||12:35pm AEDT|
It is Blue Diamond Stakes Day on Saturday at Sandown and, without a doubt, it is one of the best days of racing in Victoria.
With each race being at Stakes level, we get see some of the best horseflesh going around, headlined by the Group 1 Blue Diamond Stakes for two-year-olds. Throw in the Group 1 Futurity Stakes and the time-honoured Group 1 Oakleigh Plate, we are set for a stacked day of racing.
We kick off the nine-race card on a Good 4, while the rail returns to the true position the entire circuit. Racing on the Lakeside circuit gets underway at 12:35pm AEDT.
Keep reading for our free race-by-race preview and quaddie selections
Race 1: Listed Victoria Gold Cup (2100m)
With a bit of luck, favourite punters will get off to the best start possible on Saturday as Right You Are looks to bring up a fourth straight win. The six-year-old gelding is an odds-on favourite to claim the Listed Victoria Gold Cup and on exposed form, is a suitable price. He may lack the class of Vow And Declare, High Emocean and Saracen Knight, but with race fitness on his side and a strong will to win, it is hard to see how the Ciaron Maher & David Eustace-trained runner gets beaten in the opener. Ethan Brown should gain a relatively uncontested lead over the 2100m, and as he showed last time out, Right You Are has a nice turn of foot for middle-distance runner and should prove far too good for his rivals, who are mainly all first-up.
Race 2: Group 2 Angus Armanasco Stakes (1400m)
The Group 2 Angus Armanasco Stakes for three-year-old fillies looks to be one of the tougher races on the card. Having only been beaten by 1.6 lengths in the Group 3 Kevin Hayes Stakes, the Luke Fernie-trained Laced Up Heels should only be fitter when she lines up in this Group 2 second-up. The Toronado filly holds one of the biggest scalps in the racing world at the moment having got the better of Amelia’s Jewel last campaign, and that form stands out in a race like this. She got the job done second-up last time out, and with Chris Parnham coming over and sticking on board, we’re willing to side with her on Saturday. With a genuine tempo expected, the race looks perfectly set up for Laced Up Heels to go through her gears and ultimately prove too good for her rivals.
Race 3: Group 3 Mannerism Stakes (1400m)
Our best bet of the day comes up in the Group 3 Mannerism Stakes, where the Matthew Williams-trained Toregene returns from a three-month spell. The four-year-old mare may lack some of the class that her rivals bring to a race like this, but she has won four of her six starts and was only just gunned down by the smart My Whisper in the Summoned Stakes before going to the paddock. She is undefeated through two first-up runs and has won two of her three starts at 1400m to suggest she is perfectly placed here. In the small field of six, look for Dean Yendall to take luck out of the equation and have the Mongolian Khan mare leading the field up. With a cheap sectional or two, we anticipate Toregene will prove too hard to run down.
Race 3 – #5 Toregene (7)
4yo Mare | T: Matthew Williams | J: Dean Yendall (56kg)
Race 4: Group 3 Zeditave Stakes (1200m)
We were with Queen Of The Ball first-up in the Group 3 Kevin Hayes Stakes, but after having travelled four and five wide, she found one better in the shadows of the winning post. The three-year-old filly had the audacity to keep fighting on the back of a tough run, and in a race with little pressure up on speed, Queen Of The Ball should gain every favour out in front. She won the Group 3 Scarborough Stakes over 1200m at Moonee Valley second-up in the spring when leading throughout, and if she can dictate terms in the Zeditave Stakes, Queen Of The Ball has what it takes to salute second-up from a spell over 1200m once again.
Race 5: Group 2 Autumn Classic (11800m)
The Andrew Forsman-trained Mr Maestro produced an eye-catching run when first-up in the Group 2 Autumn Stakes on February 11 and looks set to go on with the job on Saturday. The three-year-old colt settled towards the rear of the field over the unsuitable 1400m and flashed home to finish fifth, beaten just over a length. Considering he won over 1800m and 2000m during the spring, rising to the 1800m second-up from a spell looks ideal. He gains the services of Blake Shinn and, from barrier three, draws to gain every favour in running. He is clearly the class runner of the field, and outside of bad luck, we’re struggling to find a way Mr Maestro gets beaten.
Race 5 – #1 Mr Maestro (3)
3yo Colt | T: Andrew Forsman | J: Blake Shinn (57kg)
Race 6: Group 2 Peter Young Stakes (1800m)
The opening leg of the quaddie, the Group 2 Peter Young Stakes marks the return of Melbourne Cup winner Gold Trip and also Emissary, who ran home strongly for second in the Cup. However, we will be chasing some value with the Gavin Bedggood-trained Keats, who showed plenty first-up from a spell over 1600m. The six-year-old gelding is arguably one the few runners who are suited to the 1800m, with a majority of these looking for a mile and a half or perhaps further. Despite being defeat by 2.2 lengths when finishing fourth behind the in-form Pounding upon return in the Group 3 TS Carlyon Cup, the son of Galileo finished within a nostril of the smart So Si Bon and Sunshine Rising. With natural improvement and the want to be up on speed, Keats will have a fitness edge and tactical advantage on his rivals, and we anticipate that will be enough to bridge the clear class gap in the Peter Young Stakes.
Race 6 – #8 Keats (9)
6yo Gelding | T: Gavin Bedggood | J: Craig Williams (59kg)
Race 7: Group 1 Blue Diamond Stakes (1200m)
The prized Blue Diamond Stakes over 1200m for the juveniles is the feature event on Saturday, and there is no surprise that a capacity field of 16 has accepted for the prestigious event.
Online bookmakers have Barber and Steel City as equal $5 favourites, but with plenty of last-start winners and improvement to come from just about every runner, this Blue Diamond looks set to be one of the best in recent times.
Race 8: Group 1 Futurity Stakes (1400m)
A small field of eight has accepted for the Group 1 Futurity Stakes, which pits some of the country’s best weight-for-age combatants against one another.
The race marks the return of Champions Mile victor Alligator Blood, while I’m Thunderstruck and Mr Brightside will be looking to build on an already impressive resume.
Race 9: Group 1 Oakleigh Plate (1100m)
First run in 1884, the time-honoured Group 1 Oakleigh Plate brings to an end a stacked day of racing out of Sandown with 16 runners looking to add their name to a star-studded honour roll.
As always, it is an open market with online betting sites, with Henry Dwyer’s Asfoora a $5 favourite for the 1100m scamper.
Saturday quaddie tips for Sandown races
Sandown quadrella selections
Saturday, February 25, 2023
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