The final field has been declared and the barrier draw conducted for Victoria's richest juvenile race, the $1.5 million Gr1 Blue Diamond Stakes (1200m) at Caulfield this Saturday. A capacity field of 16 starters and four emergencies have accepted for the race. This year shapes as one of the most open Blue Diamond fields in recent memory as TAB's fixed odds market clearly demonstrates. The current favourite for the race is the Coolmore Stud-owned colt Long Leaf at a generous $7, followed by the Tony McEvoy trainee Oohood and Godolphin's Plague Stone on $8, Spirit Of Boom's eye-catching debut winner Kinky Boom and Prairie Fire at $9, and Written By at $10. Long Leaf displaced Kinky Boom as favourite after drawing perfectly in barrier 7, while the latter drifted slightly after drawing wide in gate 14. View the Blue Diamond Stakes field below.
A storming last-to-first finish by Sun Bloodstock's colt Prairie Fire has given Snitzel his second consecutive winner of the Listed Talindert Stakes (1100m) (after Ducimus in 2017) and his 21st Australian stakes winner this season. The win also booked Prairie Fire's spot in the $1.5 million Gr1 Blue Diamond Stakes (1200m) at Caulfield on Saturday. Bred by Ed & Clark McKeon's Palya Bloodstock, Prairie Fire was purchased for $625,000 from the Rosemont Stud draft at the Inglis Melbourne Premier Sale. Prairie Fire is the second foal and first winner out of the unraced mare Consistency (by All Bar One), a half-sister to Monte Rosa, dam of Snitzel stars Snitzerland and Sooboog. Consistency has a yearling colt by Wandjina, a filly foal by So You Thnk and is in foal to Redoute's Choice. Snitzel has notched up 79 lifetime stakes winners, and 31 (39%) of them have earned black-type at two. After breaking his own season earnings record last week, his 2017/18 prize money is now less than $200,000 away from $17 million, a figure never previously seen on the Australian sires' premiership. Snitzel has eight colts on offer at the upcoming Inglis Melbourne Premier Sale, while next month's Inglis Easter catalogue features 64 yearlings by Snitzel, including 8 fillies and two colts in Arrowfield's draft.
At Flemington in Melbourne, Arrowfield Stud's incumbent Champion Australian Sire Snitzel (Redoute's Choice-Snippets' Lass, by Snippets) added a Group race success when 2YO Australian-bred colt Prairie Fire (Snitzel-Consistency, by All Bar One) opened his stakes account with a strong-finishing last-to-first win in the $120,000 Listed The Asian Executive Stakes (1100m) for 2YOs, defeating Khulaasa & Invincible Lad. A $625,000 purchase by Sun Stud at the 2017 Inglis Melbourne Premier Yearling Sale, Prairie Fire improved his record to 1 win and 1 placing (including the Gr3 MRC Chairman's Stakes) from 2 starts for $86,700 in earnings. Prairie Fire, who is out of a half-sister to Gr3 Adelaide Guineas winner Nina Haraka, has booked himself a start in the $1.5 million Gr1 Blue Diamond Stakes (1200m) at Caulfield on 24 February. "He raced like a professional today whereas two weeks ago he raced like he had no idea," trainer Mick Price told racing.com. "I spoke to Sun Stud before today and they definitely want to run him in the Blue Diamond which is why they ran him here...I just need to give him a soft week and let him get over today."
At Caulfield racecourse in Melbourne, Coolmore's former Gr1-winning Champion Australian Sire Fastnet Rock (Danehill-Piccadilly Circus, by Royal Academy) added a Group race success when 2YO Australian-bred filly Ennis Hill (Fastnet Rock-Hips Don't Lie, by Stravinsky) opened her stakes account with a dominant front-running win in the $150,000 Gr3 Chairman's Stakes (1000m) for 2YOs, defeating Encryption & Prairie Fire. Retained to race by her breeder Coolmore Stud, Ennis Hill - who is named after British Heptathlon Olympic gold medallist Jessica Ennis-Hill - is out of Gr2 Reisling Stakes winner Hips Don't Lie and is a full-sister to Gr1 Blue Diamond Stakes & Gr1 Golden Slipper placegetter Lake Geneva. She improved her record to 1 win from 2 starts for $95,750 in earnings. Ennis Hill will now be given the chance to go one better than her sister Lake Geneva when she contests the $1.5 million Gr1 Blue Diamond Stakes (1200m) at Caulfield on 24 February. "We will go straight to the Blue Diamond now," co-trainer Ben Hayes told racing.com. "She's super exciting and it's nice to have another live chance in the Diamond." Ennis Hill is the 128th stakes winner for her sire Fastnet Rock.