The The Lindsay Park Team of David and Ben Hayes and Tom Dabering have elected to chase a spot in the 2018 Ladbrokes Blue Diamond Stakes with Long Leaf and bypass a start in the the NZ$1m Karaka Million 2yo (1200m) at Ellersilie in New Zealand on January 27.
Undefeated colt Long Leaf will kick off his Ladbrokes Blue Diamond Stakes campaign in the Listed $150,000 Blue Diamond Preview (1000m) for the colts and geldings at Caulfield on Saturday.
The Fastnet Rock colt was a NZ$750,000 yearling purchase at the 2017 Premier Yearling Sales at Karaka in New Zealand but the Lindsay Park Team have elected to bypass the sales related race and will concentrate on winning back to back victories in the Group 1 $1.5m Ladbrokes Blue Diamond Stakes (1200m) at Caulfield on February 24 after brilliant filly Catchy won last year’s running.
Long Leaf is one of fourteen colts and geldings nominated for the Blue Diamond Preview as is stablemate Ben Hercules.
“We just thought, being a Fastnet Rock colt, the Blue Diamond is on our doorstep and the Karaka Million doesn’t have the black-type associated to it,” Dabernig said.
“We thought we’d keep him in our backyard and head that way. He seems to be going really well and looks a classy sort of colt.
“He’s probably going to be better at 1200 metres than 1000 metres but he’s fresh heading into the Preview and then we’ve got the option whether he runs in the Prelude or whether we just wait and go into the Blue Diamond.”
Long Leaf scored a nose win on debut over 1000m at Morphettville at the end of October and then scored by the same margin in the Listed $120,000 Merson Cooper Stakes (1000m) at Ladbrokes Park Hillside at Sandown on November 18.
Stablemate Ben Hercules is by boom sire I Am Invincible and will be facing the starter for the time in the Blue Diamond Preview for the colts and geldings.
Long Leaf is currently marked at $21 for the Ladbrokes Blue Diamond Stakes with Ladbrokes.com.au and will shorten up dramatically if he can maintain his undefeated record on the weekend.
Early betting for the 2018 Ladbrokes Blue Diamond Stakes at Ladbrokes.com.au: $11 Estijaab,$15 Performer, Pure Elation, $17 Ranier, $21 Fiesta, Futooh, Invincible Lad, Long Leaf, Neutrality, Ollivander, Oohood, Seabrook, $26 Al Naifa, Dynamited, Enbihaar, Encryption, High Ratio, Lake District Girl, Qafila, Run Naan, Satin Slipper, $34 or better the rest.