Hayasugi completes Diamond sweep

Hayasugi proved herself Melbourne's best two-year-old with a stylish win in the $2 million Blue Diamond Stakes completing a rare treble in the process. The Clinton McDonald-trained daughter of Royal Meeting joined Midnight Fever, back in 1987, as the only filly to complete the Blue Diamond Series, comprising the Preview, Prelude and Saturday's feature Group 1 race over 1200m. 

Three colts, Rancher (1982), Bel Esprit (2002) and Sepoy (2011) had also completed the male equivalent of the feat. 

Ridden by Jamie Kah, Hayasugi ($16) defeated Lady Of Camelot ($4.40) by a long head, with Kuroyanagi ($11) a head away third. 

Jamie Kah lands her first Blue Diamond Stakes aboard Hayasugi; picture Racing Photos

The Group 1 Golden Slipper (1200m) at Rosehill on March 23 beckons for Hayasugi who will try to emulate the deeds of Courtza, who won the Blue Diamond-Golden Slipper double for McDonald's father, Ross. 

"It's one of those races where I used to say to my mates, history repeats," McDonald said. "Blue Diamond-Golden Slipper and we're lucky enough now to have a live chance, and I think the Golden Slipper will really suit this filly and the way she attacks the line. 

"For a young two-year-old, her tenacity is second to none. She'll go straight to the Slipper. I'm sort of following the same program we did with Courtza and that's what she'll do." 

McDonald said a win in a feature race like the Blue Diamond was important for the stable. He stated that it shows future owners that he can train a young horse to win Group 1s. 

"We're only a small stable and we always seem to have a good horse in the stable but today, I'd never been so confident coming to the races with a horse," McDonald said. "It was a faultless preparation, she looked magnificent, and it was just unreal." 

Kah landed her first win in the Group 1 feature and was congratulated by fiancée Ben Melham soon after returning to the jockeys' room. The couple became engaged on Valentine's Day. 

"It's been fantastic. Almost as good as my ring," she said. 

Kah rode Hayasugi to all three wins in the Blue Diamond Series after Melham partnered the filly at her second race start last spring. She said Hayasugi is a determined filly who does not know when she is beaten. 

"She gives you a nice enough feel on the turn, and she just finds ten lengths," Kah said. "I don't know how. Today she gave me a nice feel, I thought she'd run on well, and she wins, she's just so tough. So tough. 

"The team's done an amazing job with her but the horse itself, she's just coped with everything. She was the quietest horse out there, she was a pony. She just loves her job, loves her work."

What the beaten jockeys reported:

Chad Schofield (Rue De Royale): “It was a big run. We obviously drew wide, we had to go all the way back and we rode him quietly but he really ripped home that last 400. He’s a good colt.”

John Allen (Spywire): “He really flew the lids, got across easily but probably just end up overdoing it. He showed too much speed early.”

Ben Melham (Coleman): “First time he’s been exposed to a big field and he was literally a deer in the headlights. I suppose the other horses have had a bit of experience in larger fields, whereas both his career starts have been in small fields and just the occasion got the better of him I think. He’s a good horse, he’s a quality colt, but he just got found out today a bit.”

Daniel Stackhouse (Stay Focused): “Great run from him, just drew a wide barrier and had to use him a bit but he was very brave and happy with his effort.”

Harry Coffey (Dublin Down): “It was a nice run, he didn’t have the clearest of passages and that probably affected us being two lengths closer at the end. He rounded off the race well and it was a nice effort.”

Craig Williams (Traffic Warden): “He showed me that he’s got really good ability, he’s just very raw and inexperienced, but I thought he really ran well by how he raced.”

Blake Shinn (High Octane): “Face value, disappointing. We seemed to have a nice run, he just wasn’t there for me when the chips were down.”

Declan Bates (Zestiman): “He’s run OK. Iit was just the hustle and bustle of today’s race was just a bit much for him.”

Michael Dee (Fearless): “Very nice horse, finished off well. The ideal distance for him would be 1400.”

Damian Lane (Eneeza): “She run great. She was just probably a little too close to that hot speed. I had such a good spot I couldn’t give it away, but I was just having to feel for her a little bit well before the corner and as a result of that she didn’t finish as strong. She’s been really honest to get into fourth.”

Adam Hyeronimus (Lady Of Camelot): “She was brilliant. I would have liked to have led and dictated the race, we weren’t able to do that, but she copped her medicine and found a good rhythm and gave a good kick. I would have liked the leader to take us a little bit further than what it did but very good effort and she’ll be very competitive heading towards the Slipper.”

Brenton Avdulla (Kuroyanagi): “She was really good, she’s obviously Group 1-placed now but they’re nowhere near the bottom on her and I reckon she’ll develop into a lovely three-year-old filly who will get 1400-plus.”

Luke Currie (Matisse): “She was really good, she just couldn’t get a clear path in the home straight.”

Jye McNeil (Flyer): “Really professional filly, did everything right, probably just struggled at this level today.”

Blaike McDougall (In Her Eyes): “Just might have come to the end of it.”