Stand-in jockey Damian Browne is looking for a trouble free run on Earthquake in a capacity Blue Diamond Stakes field at Caulfield on Saturday after the filly came up with a horror barrier draw.
Browne is standing in for the injured Kerrin McEvoy on Earthquake in the Group 1 $1m Sportingbet Blue Diamond Stakes (1200m) and admits that he will have to be at the top of his game coming out of gate fifteen in the sixteen horse field.
“It has made my life a bit harder but she has got natural gate speed and will be in the front of half the field. She is all class and despite the barrier, I think she is still the one to beat,” Browne told News Limited.
“At least from the wide draw she will stay out of trouble and not be cluttered away on the fence.
“It’s not the end of the world because, at Caulfield over the 1200m, you run in pretty much a straight line for the first half of the race.”
Trainer Peter Snowden, head trained for the huge Darley Australia racing empire, called upon Browne to replace McEvoy who is recovering from a knee injury he sustained in a fall at the 700m in the NZ$1m NZB Karaka Million (1200m) at Ellerslie in New Zealand on January 26, crashing through the inside running rail.
And Browne was quick to reply with a win on Earthquake in the Group 3 $150,000 Sportingbet Blue Diamond Prelude (Fillies) (1100m) at Caulfield on February 8 to secure the ride in the Blue Diamond Stakes on Saturday.
“I’m just thrilled to be riding a horse such as this for Darley, the biggest racing empire in the world,’’ Browne said.
Paul Snowden, stable foreman for Darley in Melbourne is also confident that Earthquake has the speed and the class to over the wide gate.
“She races forward and that will not change too much. I think she can overcome it,’’ Paul Snowden said.
Bookmakers’ reaction to the wide barrier was to ease Earthquake in the betting with Ladbrokes.com.au now offering $3.60 about the Exceed And Excel filly in the Blue Diamond Stakes.
The Gerald Ryan trained Rubick is now a clear cut favourite at $2.80 after drawing inside the Snowden filly at gate ten with Mark Kavanagh’s colt Chivalry from gate five well up the market order at $7.50 after putting in an eye catching performance when third to Rubick in the colts and geldings version of the Blue Diamond Prelude.
Gai Waterhouse is looking for her first Blue Diamond Stakes trophy with her More Than Ready filly Nayeli (gate 9) who has been marked a $9 chance after making it two wins from two starts with a two and a quarter lengths win in the Group 3 $135,000 Mal Seccull Chairman’s Stakes (1100m) at Caulfield on February 1.