At Caulfield in Melbourne, Coolmore's former Gr1-winning Champion Australian Sire Fastnet Rock (Danehill-Piccadilly Circus, by Royal Academy) added a black-type success when 2YO Australian-bred colt Long Leaf (Fastnet Rock-Frustrating, by Stravinsky) continued his rise through the juvenile ranks with a strong win in the $150,000 Listed Blue Diamond Preview (1000m) for 2YO colts & geldings, defeating Ollivander & Run Naan. A $750,000 purchase by BBA Ireland from the draft of Curraghmore at the 2017 NZB Premier Yearling Sale, Long Leaf extended his unbeaten record to 3 wins (including the Listed MRC Merson Cooper Stakes) from 3 starts for $190,500 in earnings. Raced by a high profile syndicate that includes Coolmore and Sir Peter Vela, Long Leaf is out of a daughter of grand producer and deceased former New Zealand Broodmare of the Year Parfore (Gold Brose). Parfore is the mother of Gr1 Darley Classic winner Terravista, Gr1 Galaxy winner Tiger Tees, stakes winners Ball Of Muscle and Our Lucas, and Singapore Horse Of The Year and Hallmark Stud sire Super Easy. Co-trainer Ben Hayes said Long Leaf was likely to go straight into the Gr1 Blue Diamond Stakes (1200m) at Caulfield on 24 February without another lead-up run. "Looking at him, he's a big lengthy horse, and I think there's definite room for improvement," Hayes told racing.com. "We actually think he'll be better over 1200m. We'll see how he pulls up, we'll look at him over the next few days, but most likely he'll go straight into the Blue Diamond."
At Flemington in Melbourne, former Westbury Stud triple Gr1-winning shuttler Makfi (Dubawi-Dhelaal, by Green Desert) added a Group race success when 2YO bay colt Run Naan (Makfi-Raneen, by Perfectly Ready) maintained his perfect record when powering to an impressive win in the $150,000 Gr3 Maribyrnong Plate (1000m) for 2YOs, defeating Encryption & Belzella. A homebred for Sheikh Bin Khalifa Al Maktoum, Run Naan extended his unbeaten record to 2 wins from 2 starts for $103,600 in earnings. Run Naan is the first foal to race of the Perfectly Ready mare Raneen, a direct descendant of champion Australian mare Emancipation (4th dam). Emancipation, a six-time Gr1 winner and Australian Horse of the Year, has been just as influential off the track with her daughters and granddaughters producing numerous stakes performers including Gr1 winners Railings, Virage de Fortune and Rumya. Trainer Tony McEvoy said Run Naan had a bright future. "He will grow up," McEvoy told racing.com. "I want him to settle down because I need to keep him as an entire." He added: "He's a pretty good colt this fellow and I'll pop him aside now and we'll come back in the autumn and we'll have a look at him then."