Five times winning trainer David Hayes favours Zamzam as the best of his three runners in the Group 1 $1.5m Ladbrokes Blue Diamond Stakes (1200m) at Caulfield on Saturday.
Hayes has added the blinkers to Zamzam who will carry the same colours, His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum’s royal blue, white epaulettes and striped cap, as Nadeem did in winning the 2006 Blue Diamond Stakes carrying the blinkers for the times.
“Blinkers first time. A proven formula for Sheik Hamdan,” Hayes said.
“I would probably slightly lean to her of our three in the race.”
Zamzam was impressive in winning on debut in a 1000m two year old Stakes at Moonee Valley on January 29 and then had no luck in the straight when ninth to Blue Diamond Stakes rival Samara Dancer in the Group 2 $200,000 Ladbrokes Blue Diamond Prelude (F) (1100m) at Caulfield on February 13.
“She could have finished right in the finish of the Prelude and if she had, she would probably be single figure odds in the Diamond,” Hayes said.
Nicholas Hall takes over from Damian Lane on Zamzam ($26) who will jump from gate six in the sixteen horse field.
The Lindsay Park Team of Hayes and Tom Dabernig will also saddle up last start winner Valliano and Highland Beat who ran second to Blue Diamond Stakes favourite Extreme Choice in the Group 3 $150,000 Chairman’s Stakes (1000m) at Caulfield on February 6.
“I think he (Highland Beat) is a lot better chance that his odds suggest,” Hayes said.
“I love it when two year olds work with older horses and he had the better of his city class stablemate (in trackwwork).”
Group 1 C.F. Orr Stakes winning jockey Luke Currie has picked up the ride on $101 chance Highland Beat who will jump from gate ten.
Valliano, marked as a $26 chance in the Blue Diamond Stakes, was impressive in winning the $250,000 Inglis Premier (1200m) at Caulfield on February 6 and Hayes thinks he will get the run of the race from barrier seven with Damian Lane in the saddle.
“He will get all of the favours,” Hayes said.
“I just think the tempo of the race will suit him and he has got the profile of a horse that will be finishing strongly.”
Hayes has trained the winner of the Blue Diamond Stakes on five occasions before setting up a training partnership with Dabernig, and as well as Nadeem winning in 2006, claimed the trophy in 1990 with Mahaasin, 1991 with Canonise, 2007 with Sleek Chassis and with Reaan in 2008.
Caulfield trainer Mick Price’s two colts dominate the top of the betting with the unbeaten Extreme Choice the top pick at $3 just ahead of his stablemate Flying Artie at $4.60 with the Tony McEvoy trained Concealer on the third line of betting at $6.
Early market order for the Blue Diamond Stakes at Ladbrokes.com.au: $3 Extreme Choice, $4.60 Flying Artie, $6 Concealer, $6.50 Samara Dancer, $13 Star Turn, $19 Miss Nymeria, $26 Zamzam, Valliano, $41 Hell Of An Effort, $61 China Dream, Power Trip, Revolving Door, Artei, Seaburge, $71 Selenia, Sweet Sherry, Hey Doc, $101 Highland Beat, $151 Kinetic Design.