Darley trainer Peter Snowden could have as many as four Group 1 Blue Diamond Stakes runners after the stable dominated the two Group 3 Blue Diamond Preludes at Saturday’s Caulfield meeting.
Kerrin McEvoy steers Kuroshio to victory, picture quentinjlang.com
Kuroshio showed plenty of fight to claim the colts and geldings’ division before Guelph had an easier time taking out the fillies’ race over her stablemate Montsegur but Snowden’s exact Blue Diamond line-up is still not set a fortnight out from the main event.
Darley still has to decide whether to pay a $55,000 late entry for to run last Saturday’s Listed Chairman’s Stakes winner Metastasio in the Blue Diamond Stakes while Montsegur was also not among the 49 third declarations for Victoria’s richest two-year-old race.
Snowden said he would confer with the rest of the Darley decision makers before confirming Blue Diamond Stakes plans but he had an idea in his mind of a solid approach to the $1 million race.
“In my mind, I know what I want to do but I’ll talk to them first,” Snowden said. “We could have four but I think we’ll probably have three.
“I’m really happy with them all, you would have to be. I’ll need to talk to the team and see what the plans are.”
Snowden said Guelph was the only certain starter of the Darley quartet with the Blue Diamond Stakes the autumn goal for the talented daughter of Exceed And Excel, which recorded her second win from three starts in the fillies’ Prelude.
McEvoy and Guelph make it a double for Darley,picture quentinjlang.com
“She has been aimed at one race in particular and I’m confident she can peak in two weeks,” Snowden said.
Guelph (Exceed And Excel) defeated Montsegur (New Approach) by 1-3/4 lengths while Godiva Rock (Stratum) was another 1-1/4 lengths away in third. Guelph started as a $2.25 chance on track while she paid $2.20 on the Victorian TAB.
Guelph ran the 1100 metres in 1:03.88, which was .22 of a second quicker than Kuroshio’s time. The fillies covered their final 600 metres in 34.30 seconds while the boys recorded 35.41 seconds for the sectional.
Snowden’s assessment of the relative strengths of the sexes mirrored the Blue Diamond Prelude times with the fillies having an edge over the colts and geldings.
“The fillies seem to be a bit better than the colts from what I have seen,” Snowden said.
“There is only two weeks to go so unless something comes out next week, I think the fillies might have a decided advantage on the colts.”
Caulfield will host the Blue Diamond Stakes on February 23.