The first declarations for the Group 1 2014 Blue Diamond Stakes (1200m) were released this afternoon; with a total of 505 two-year-olds nominated for the $1 million race that will be on Saturday February 22 next year.
The 2013 Blue Diamond Stakes was won by pocket rocket Miracles Of Life who came from Adelaide to win the Group 1 event for rising trainer Daniel Clarken and mature apprentice jockey Lauren Stojakovic, in what was one of the stories of the racing season.
Clarken and the connections of Miracles Of Life were forced to pay the late entry fee of $55,000 to get the daughter of Not A Single Doubt into the field and Clarken is taking no chances this year; including six juveniles in the first nominations.
The most well represented trainer in the Blue Diamond Stakes first declarations was Gai Waterhouse, with 42 horses in contention, who narrowly shades leading Victoria trainer David Hayes who nominated 41 of his young charges.
Waterhouse may have broken her most famous drought by winning the Melbourne Cup with Fiorente but she is yet to pick up a win in the Blue Diamond – despite dominating the Golden Slipper in Sydney for the past decade.
‘Racings leading lady’ finished in the placings with No Looking Back (2012), Wager (2004) and Spectatorial (2001) but had no lucky with How Funny (2003), Coupe (2002) and Sparks (2000).
David Hayes is the most successful trainer in the history of the Group 1 event and went close to winning the Blue Diamond Stakes last year; with Fast ‘N’ Rocking finishing second and Gregers fourth.
Hayes picked up his first Blue Diamond Stakes win with Mahaasin in 1990 and won the following year with Canonise before dominating the race in the late 2000s; combining with leading jockey Dwayne Dunn to win with Nadeem (2006), Sleek Chassis (2007) and Reaan (2008).
Peter Moody (29 entrants), who won the race with Reward For Effort in 2009, was also well represented in first declarations as was Mick Price, who won the 2012 edition of the race with Samaready.
Second declarations for the Blue Diamond Stakes close on January 7 and the series begins with the Blue Diamond Previews, split into fillies and colts/geldings races, on Saturday January 25.