Co-trainer David Hayes concedes that exciting filly Qafila is going to have to produce something special to win tomorrow's Gr1 Blue Diamond Stakes (1200m) at Caulfield. Qafila has been given an unorthodox preparation for the $1.5 million juvenile feature and goes into the race as the only horse not to have had a lead-up run. This makes her somewhat of an unknown quantity and the dark horse of the race. The daughter of Not A Single Doubt, who is raced by long-time Lindsay Park client Sheikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum of Shadwell Stud, hasn't raced since scoring a most impressive win in the Listed Debutant Stakes (1000m) at Caulfield in October. Hayes is confident that Qafila has the ability to win the race, but says she will have to have luck on her side after drawing poorly in barrier 16. "Qafila will be at good odds because she hasn't run recently," Hayes told racenet. "Until the barrier draw, I was sure she was going to be right in the race because if I ran her in a lead-up, she would have won." Hayes added: "She is going well but is going to need a D Dunn [Dwayne Dunn] classic ride." Shadwell Stud has had nine runners in the Blue Diamond Stakes for three winners, namely Mahaasin (1990), Nadeem (2006) and Reaan (2008).
Meanwhile, co-trainer David Hayes has indicated that Ennis Hill is Lindsay Park's best winning chance in tomorrow's Gr1 Blue Diamond Stakes (1200m) at Caulfield. Lindsay Park will saddle up four runners in the $1.5 million juvenile feature with unbeaten 2YOs Long Leaf & Enbihaar, as well as Qafila joining the Coolmore-owned Ennis Hill in the race. "We're very excited about Ennis Hill," a bullish Hayes told racenet. "Her trackwork has been terrific and her lead-up race form is outstanding. She'll make her own luck and look the winner at some stage." Ennis Hill (Fastnet Rock-Hips Don't Lie, by Stravinsky), who won her Blue Diamond lead-up when posting a dominant front-running win in the Gr3 Chairman's Stakes (1000m) at Caulfield three weeks ago, is currently on the third line of betting at $8.50 with TAB.
At Caulfield racecourse in Melbourne, Arrowfield Stud's multiple stakes-winning stallion Not A Single Doubt (Redoute's Choice-Single's Bar, by Rory's Jester) added a black-type success when 2YO bay filly Qafila (Not A Single Doubt-Zighy Bay, by Tapit) ran home powerfully from midfield to win the $120,000 Listed Debutant Stakes (1000m) for 2YOs, defeating Sacred Sword & Encryption. A $450,000 purchase by Sheikh Hamdan's Shadwell Stud Australasia at the 2017 Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling Sale from the draft of Attunga Stud, Qafila improved her record to 1 win from 1 start for $72,500 in earnings. Co-trainer Tom Dabernig said Qafila would be pointed at the Magic Millions 2YO Classic at the Gold Coast in January.