Race 1. The Thoroughbred Club Merson Cooper Stakes. Long Leaf ridden by Kerrin McEvoy (dark blue) holds off Oohood ridden by Luke Currie (yellow and blue) to win the opening race. Pic: Michael Klein
Race 1. The Thoroughbred Club Merson Cooper Stakes. Long Leaf ridden by Kerrin McEvoy (dark blue) holds off Oohood ridden by Luke Currie (yellow and blue) to win the opening race. Pic: Michael Klein

Hayes confident he’ll find another Diamond

DAVID Hayes is approaching Saturday's Blue Diamond Stakes in a confident frame of mind believing his team is on a par with last year's squad which dominated the race.

Last year they saddled up five runners and they managed to fill three of the top four spots with Catchy winning, Formality finishing third and Tulip fourth.

On Saturday they have the $6.50 favourite Long Leaf as well as Ennis Hill, Enbihaar and Qalifa.

"I think this year's four is as equally talented as last year's squad which augurs wellfor the race," Hayes said.

Hayes has won the race six times but last year was the first time he had combined with his son and nephew to win.

Although Ennis Hill is $8.00 with Ladbrokes, Hayes suspects she could be the best of his team.

"She's working really well. We put the blinkers on her last start and she was brilliant," Hayes said.

Trainer David Hayes is feeling confident.
Trainer David Hayes is feeling confident.

Hayes said Ennis Hill had always been rated one of their best two-year-old's and they didn't lose any faith when she finished fourth at her first start.

"From her barrier of four she can use her speed and get a great spot. I think she'll look the winner at some stage."

Hayes said Long Leaf is by Fastnet Rock, who sired last year's winner Catchy, and he had impeccable credentials to win.

"He's bullet proof. He's done everything right and the step up to 1200m will suit him," he said.

Hayes is happy with the condition of Qalifa and he's hoping she can create history by becoming the first horse to win the Blue Diamond Stakes first-up.

"She's going really well. If I'd have given her a start before the race she would have won but this is the best way to go for her to attack it fresh," he said.

Damien Oliver pilots Long Leaf to victory in the Blue Diamond Preview.
Damien Oliver pilots Long Leaf to victory in the Blue Diamond Preview.

Lindsay Park's other runner is the undefeated Enbihaar but she and Qalifa were drawn poorly and would need luck.

Last year's Blue Diamond Stakes winner Catchy is one of three starters the stable will have in the Oakleigh Plate (1100m).

"She's a favourite of the stable and we're expecting a big run. She loves Caulfield."

They also will be represented by last year's winner Sheidel and Fuhryk.

Hayes said they were following the same path with Fuhryk as they did with Sheidel as both finished second in the Winterbottom Stakes at Ascot before running in the Oakleigh Plate.

BLUE DIAMOND STAKES (1200m, 2YO, Group 1)

Caulfield, Saturday, Race 7 (4.05pm)

1 LONG LEAF 7 D & B Hayes & T Dabernig Kerrin McEvoy 56.5kg $6.50

2 WRITTEN BY 18 Grahame Begg Jordan Childs 56.5kg $10

3 RUN NAAN 2 Tony McEvoy Andrew Mallyon 56.5kg $21

4 PRAIRIE FIRE 7 Mick Price Mark Zahra 56.5kg $9.50

5 OLLIVANDER 3 Mathew Ellerton & Simon Zahra Chris Symons 56.5kg $31

6 ENCRYPTION 15 James Cummings Damian Lane 56.5kg $16

7 NATIVE SOLDIER 20 Darren Weir Brad Rawiller 56.5kg $19

8 PLAGUE STONE 6 James Cummings Ben Melham 56.5kg $8

9 GRAND SYMPHONY 5 Robbie Griffiths Jye McNeil 56.5kg $34

10 ENBIHAAR 19 David & B Hayes & T Dabernig Cory Parish 54.5kg $19

11 KINKY BOOM 14 Tony McEvoy Craig Williams 54.5kg $9

12 LADY HORSEOWNER 12 Greg Eurell Nikita Beriman 54.5kg $20

13 ENNIS HILL 4 D & B Hayes & T Dabernig Stephen Baster 54.5kg $8

14 CROSSING THE ABBEY 9 Tim Hughes Luke Nolen 54.5kg $34

15 QAFILA 16 D & B Hayes & T Dabernig Dwayne Dunn 54.5kg $26

16 OOHOOD 10 Tony McEvoy Luke Currie 54.5kg $7.50

17E ARISTOCRATIC MISS 17 Tony McEvoy Jamie Kah 54.5kg $91

18E MORE THAN EXCEED 8 (Phillip Stokes) Dom Tourneur 56.5kg $34

19E ROOBEENA 13 (Tony McEvoy) 54.5kg $91

20E MELVEEN 11 (Henry Dwyer) Damien Thornton 54.5kg $91

Latest odds from Ladbrokes

THE FACTORS

TRACK: Good 4

RAIL: Out 3m

WEATHER: 29C, showers.

THE SPEED

It's a Blue Diamond Stakes so expect them to run along. ENNIS HILL from her good draw will be up on the speed. WRITTEN BY, ENCRYPTION and ENBIHAAR from outside draws will push forward. LONG LEAF and PLAGUE STONE should settle behind them. Best swooper OOHOOD.

Long Leaf holds off Oohood to win at Sandown in November. Picture: Michael Klein
Long Leaf holds off Oohood to win at Sandown in November. Picture: Michael Klein

THE SKINNY

LONG LEAF

The only horse who can boast three race wins. Hasn't been brilliant, more workmanlike in winning his three starts but he doesn't too anything wrong and 1200m will suit as will barrier seven.

WRITTEN BY

Again he's drawn out but that hasn't been a problem in winning his two starts. Comfortably held his rivals in the Prelude. No surprise to see him emerge with a win and stamp himself as the star of the juveniles.

RUN NAAN

Tony McEvoy is very happy with him. He's had the luxury of knowing he's a certain starter and he's trained him accordingly. He's run on in the Preview and the Prelude in sound efforts. Blinkers go on first time.

PRAIRIE FIRE

Ran on well for placing at his debut but blinkers went on last week at Flemington and he was sensational. From barrier one if he got the breaks could win. Zahra elected to ride him over Plague Stone.

OLLIVANDER

Co-trainer Simon Zahra said he didn't turn up last start when tenth in the Prelude as his previous start when he finished an unlucky second behind Long Leaf had taken too much out of him due to the heat and being buffeted.

ENCRYPTION

Sat wide and ran on nicely for third in the Chairman's Stakes. Step up to 1200m is ideal and the Godolphin team is exuding confidence with James Cummings saying he's improved "by many lengths" since that last start.

NATIVE SOLDIER

Amazingly Darren Weir's first Blue Diamond starter. Tough youngster sat wide when third to Written By here last start. He's going to have to contend with an outside barrier again but he's the most experienced horse and probably the fittest.

PLAGUE STONE

Impressive effort from him when second to Written By as he raced wide throughout. Should get a lovely run from barrier six and 1200m should suit.

GRAND SYMPHONY

Son of Glass Harmonium who stuck on well when second to Kinky Boom at her debut in the Inglis Premier. Well drawn but place looks best.

ENBIHAAR

Another of the Lindsay Park team and has been professional winning both of her starts. Raced on speed and won the filly's Prelude; draw won't help.

KINKY BOOM

Went into her debut with a big boom and lived up to it when she won The Inglis Premier after missing the start. Settled a clear last but still managed to win running away. Craig Williams said she reminded him of last year's winner Catchy, who he rode.

LADY HORSEOWNER

Gutsy little filly who made it two from two with her victory in the Preview prompting her owners to pay the $55,000 late nomination fee. With Nikita Beriman on she's going to be the one for those barracking for the story.

ENNIS HILL

David Hayes knows his babies and he's keen on this filly. Blinkers went on last start and she led throughout to easily win the Chairman's Stakes. From barrier four she should get a lovely run. Might be a star.

CROSSING THE ABBEY

Another for those barracking for the fairytale result as she is trained by a relative newcomer in Tim Hughes. Didn't have a lot of luck in the Prelude last start and will be suited by 1200m.

QALIFA

The Lindsay Park team decided to tackle this first-up months ago which is certainly unorthodox. Was brilliant winning her debut at Caulfield last October.

OOHOOD

Brilliant filly with a great finishing burst but is yet to win. Was worried out of first prize at her debut by Long Leaf and she's had little luck in her two lead-up runs going into this running on for third and then second in the Preview and the Prelude. McEvoy is keen on her and has placed winkers on her.

ARISTOCRATIC MISS

Racing consistently but she's not good enough.

MORE THAN EXCEED

Promising Adelaide filly but this is a major rise in class.

ROOBEENA

Tony McEvoy is adamant she's better than what's she shown but she would be a major surprise.

MELVEEN

Nice win at Sandown but this is too hard.


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