The Mick Price trained Cao Cao has drawn just worse than midfield at barrier eight in the fourteen horse field for the Group 3 $200,000 Ladbrokes Blue Diamond Prelude (1100m) for the colts and geldings at Caulfield on Saturday.
Cao Cao is resuming after a short break following his win in a 1000m 2yo Plate at Moonee Valley on November 26 and Price is expecting a bold showing on the back of an impressive jump out at Caulfield last week.
“Coa Coa was good. The old Cao Cao previously to racing would not have trialled like that so the penny has dropped a little bit,” Price told racing.com.
“He had a gallop this morning (Tuesday) with Oregon’s Day on the course proper.”
“Oregon’s Day finished in front of him but he gets a bit lazy at the gallop but his trial was good.”
“Mark Zahra rode him this morning ((Tuesday), Mark Zahra will ride him on Saturday. Mark suits the horse and I am sure he will go well.”
Price said that Cao Cao would have to impress him further with a strong finish in the Ladbrokes Blue Diamond Prelude if he is going to be a chance in the Group 1 $1.5m Ladbrokes Blue Diamond Stakes (1200m) at Caulfield on February 25.
“I need to see him attack the line and hopefully win and then into the Blue Diamond we go but happy with him,” Price said.
Price will be looking to win back to back Ladbrokes Blue Diamond Stakes after he quinelled the race last year with his two brilliant colts Extreme Choice and Flying Artie.
Cao Cao is facing some stiff opposition in the Ladbrokes Blue Diamond Prelude with the Ladbrokes Blue Diamond Stakes favourite Pariah coming down to Caulfield after creating a huge impression with a first up win in the Group 3 $150,000 Canonbury Stakes (1100m) at Rosehill on January 28.
The Peter and Paul Snowden trained Pariah has drawn barrier nine with Kerrin McEvoy sticking with the Redoute’s Choice colt.
Craig Williams is certain to give the Robert Smerdon trained Property the run of the race from barrier three after the pair combined last start to win the Listed $150,000 Ladbrokes Blue Diamond Preview (C&G) (1000m) at Caulfield on January 26.
Azazel finished second to Property in the Ladbrokes Blue Diamond Preview and Luke Currie will need plenty of luck to reverse the placings after the Tony McEvoy trained colt draw barrier thirteen.
Pariah has been installed the $3.50 favourite for the Ladbrokes Blue Diamond Prelude with Ladbrokes.com.au ahead of Property at $5 while Cao Cao is on the third line of betting at $5.50.
Pariah also sits at the top of the market order for the Ladbrokes Blue Diamond Stakes at $6 while Cao Cao is currently listed as a $15 chance.