Two-time Hong Kong champion trainer David Hayes will saddle up six runners, including the favourite Catchy, as he chases his sixth Blue Diamond Stakes at Caulfield on Saturday, but he’s not tipping any of them with confidence.
There’s a big Hong Kong presence in Victoria’s richest juvenile race, with champion jockey Joao Moreira making the trip to Melbourne to ride Property, who is owned by the locally based Price Bloodstock, while riders Ryan Moore, Craig Williams, Damian Lane, Damien Oliver and Dwayne Dunn are all competing after having stints at Sha Tin.
Hayes, who trains in partnership with his son Ben and nephew Tom Dabernig, has almost half of the field, which has been reduced to 14 runners after some key withdrawals, and while he’s hopeful the weight of numbers will win the day, he finds it hard to single one runner out.
“A couple of them, Formality and Wait For No One, will race on the pace, so expect them to jump well and be right there,” Hayes said.
“The two colts, Will’s Bid and Muraahib, I think they’re very, very good colts [but] I’m probably more confident about them... at 1,400m, they’ll be back and they’ll be running on.
“Tulip with D. Oliver has got the good barrier and her trackwork has been excellent, she’s probably going to be in the middle, hopefully Catchy is on her back.
“I’d say I’ll have two up the front, two at the middle and two at the back. If they go too fast the backmarkers will be favoured, but that’s why I like Tulip and Catchy, they’re not reliant on tempo, they should be midfield with a bit of cover and swooping late.
“With Craig Williams in form, probably [Catchy] is the logical one and but Tulip is the one who might cause and upset and we’ve got the best rider in the world [Moore] on Formality.
“You can go round and round in circles making a case for them, but I probably end up tipping Catchy, but not confident.”
Catchy is rated at $4.40 in fixed-odds markets, just ahead of Pariah ($5.50), Tulip ($6.50), Formality and Property (both $7).
There are two other Group Ones on the programme with Hayes and Moreira teaming up with Sheidel in the Oakleigh Plate, the trainer naming the mare as his best chance of the day.
“Sheidel is the stable elect, if you look at her form out of Perth... she did all the work in front and beat [subsequent Group One winners Terravista and Malaguerra],” Hayes said.
“She is back to handicap conditions, good barrier, great jockey, I’m pretty confident she’s well over the odds.”
The Jockey Club will simulcast six races from the meeting, starting from 11.15am.