Last month, I gave a rundown on the 2YO class of 2017 and how they’re shaping for the big Group 1 events of the season.

Looking back on that, I mentioned:

“Tulip, Catchy and Formality all look likely types for the Blue Diamond, a race the Hayes / Dabernig stable will have a very strong hand in”.

All have made the race and all look solid chances. Indeed Hayes / Dabernig do have a strong hand as predicted, with six runners in the race.

Catchy ($5.50)

Fastnet Rock filly from a dual Group 2 winning Fusaichi Pegasus mare in Cats Whisker. The filly is trained by Hayes and Dabernig.

Catchy has an ‘A’ grade pedigree rating (stakes class inherited racing ability).

Good Moonee Valley 1000m win (December 9th) coming from last. Solid tradesman-like win at Caulfield, slowly working through her gears over 1100m on January 7th. Impressed coming from the rear to beat Limestone in the Fillies preview. Notably Craig Williams chose to ride this horse, and he had the choice of around five live chances in the race. Has drawn wide but gets back anyway and wide draws not a major issue in this race.

Formality ($7.50)

Fastnet Rock filly from the Jolie’s Halo mare in Jolie’s Shinju.  She was a $120k purchase from the Inglis Sydney Easter Yearling Sale. The filly is trained by Hayes and Dabernig.

Formality has a ‘AAA’ grade pedigree rating (Group 1 inherited racing ability).

Won a Werribee 1100m 2YO maiden by 4.2 lengths as $1.40 favourite.  Backed it up winning the Blue Diamond Prelude in good style. Ryan Moore has flown in for the ride which is a very positive sign.

Tulip ($6.50)

Pierro filly from the Rock of Gibraltar mare Musidora. Musidora has already produced a Group 3 winning daughter in Sacred Eye over the distance of 2000m. Tulip is trained by Hayes and Dabernig.

Tulip has a ‘B’ grade pedigree rating (metropolitan class inherited racing ability).

Won Tatura December 13th trial by 0.5 lengths, in second quickest time of fourteen trials on the day.

Impressive debut winner at Moonee Valley coming from the tail to swamp them. Was good when second in the Fillies Prelude, beaten a nose by Limestone.

Pariah ($6.00)

Redoute’s Choice colt from the Snowden yard.

Beat an unlucky Menari on debut at Rosehill and then got a long way back but charged home for second to Property, beaten 0.7L in the Colts & Gelding Preview. Done little wrong to date and must be respected.

Property ($7.50)

Starcraft gelding trained by Robert Smerdon.

Clearly beaten by Catchy on debut at Moonee Valley, but has since won the Colts & Geldings Preview & Prelude in good style. Magic Man Joao Moreira aboard. Right in the mix.

Jukebox ($7.50)

Snitzel colt trained by the best young trainer in Australia, Ciaron Maher.

Done little wrong, winning two from two. Won comfortably at Caulfield last start by 2 lengths. Hasn’t beaten much and times are just okay, but will get the gun run and is on the up.

Roomooz ($15.00)

Fastnet Rock filly from the McEvoy stable.

Won easily on debut at Morphettville, then won a Geelong 1040m trial by 5.5 lengths in average time. Hit the line well for fourth in the Fillies Preview, beaten 1.7 lengths. Dwayne Dunn aboard who has a brilliant record in this race. Looks just a rung below the top-liners, but will hit the line hard and wouldn’t surprise if she figured.

Muraahib ($35.00)

Reset colt from the Hayes / Dabernig yard.

Won two from two and although he hasn’t beaten much, times and formlines tie in with Roomooz so looks a roughie who could surprise

TIMES

Through looking at raw comparative times compared to par (which is easier here than when assessing most races, as most winning chances have run at Caulfield), the ‘quickest’ horses so far on raw times from my ratings are:

1) Property

2) Tulip

3) Catchy

4) Pariah

SPEED MAP

I expect a fast pace in this year’s Blue Diamond.

Wait For No One, Blondie and Formality are going to jump quickly and push forward to set a strong tempo. They may find it difficult to sustain the quick speed over the last 200m.

Property and Jukebox should get lovely runs just off the pace from their good gates and certainly map to be in excellent positions to strike.

Pariah, Catchy and Tulip are likely to get back and will need luck, although the fast tempo up front has the potential to play into their hands.

BARRIERS

In the past twenty years in the Blue Diamond, nine horses have won after starting in the outside half of the barriers.

Over the Caulfield 1200m, from the past 93 races, barriers 1 to 3 have won twenty races (average 6.7 wins per barrier), and barriers 4 to 7 have won 41 races (average 10.2 per barrier).

In the Blue Diamond, since 2005 there has been 36 horses drawn barrier 1 to 3 for 1 winner.

Eight of the last thirty winners have jumped from double digit gates.

Bottom line is inside gates are overrated, and if you fancy a runner, don’t discount them due to a wide gate.

BREEDING

Formality, Catchy, Pariah, Jukebox and Roomooz all have excellent pedigrees for a 2YO Group 1 1200m race.

TRAINERS

David Hayes has a great record with 2YOs and the Blue Diamond particularly. The Snowdens are master trainers of 2YOs, and Ciaron Maher can train anything from 2YOs to steeplechasers.

Catchy, Formality, Tulip, Muraahib, Jukebox and Pariah benefit from the tutelage of these master 2YO trainers.

JOCKEYS

Craig Williams had the pick of about five leading chances and chose Catchy, who he describes as similar to Miss Finland.

Dwayne Dunn won four Blue Diamonds in a row and is riding Roomooz.

Joao Moreira and Ryan Moore are in my opinion the two best jockeys in the world, and have flown in to ride Property and Formality respectively.

Damien Oliver and Blake Shinn are the other most prolific Group 1 winning riders in the race of recent times, and they are on Tulip and Pariah.

OTHER STATS

Thirteen of the last thirty Blue Diamond winners have come from the Boys or Girls Prelude.

28 males have won the Blue Diamond, vs 18 fillies.

SUMMARY

Tough race!

Last year Trial Spy members backed Extreme Choice, Flying Artie and Star Turn in the Blue Diamond, with Extreme Choice winning and Flying Artie running 2nd. All 3 turned into superstar 3YOs.

This year it’s a very even field, and it’s difficult at this juncture to come up with a betting strategy given current market prices, but my ratings suggest the following:

1) CATCHY

2) FORMALITY

3) TULIP

4) PARIAH

5) PROPERTY

If going wider for exotics, Jukebox can’t be excluded, and Roomooz and Muraahib shape as the best roughies to spice things up.

All the best with your investments!

Prices are approximate fixed odds as at Friday morning.